Should Bootable USB Be NTFS or FAT 32?

I want to make a Windows recovery USB drive. What is the difference when making a bootable USB drive in FAT32 and NTSF system files? Can anyone help me out?

Best Answered by

Jerry· Answered on Jan 05, 2024

FAT32 must be used if you need to use UEFI. Your USB disk won't be able to boot otherwise. However, FAT32 will only allow you to utilize custom Windows install images up to a size of 4 GB. Therefore, NTFS or exFAT must be used in this situation.

If you use the media creation tool, the stick will be automatically formatted. However, if you manually generate the bootable stick, it must be either UEFI or FAT32. ExFAT or NTFS are incompatible. Which boot medium you need to move to the top in the BIOS varies depending on the format you used. Use the "UEFI USB" option if you manually formatted the stick in UEFI mode or generated it using the media creation tool. If you've previously utilized FAT32 mode, switch to the "legacy USB" option.

For Windows 10, NTFS is the default file system. This is because it supports file compression and has no file constraints. It differs from FAT32, which has a 32GB file size restriction. To guarantee that Windows 10 installs properly, you should utilize NTFS for your bootable USB drive.

If you plan to create a bootable USB, the easiest way is to use professional software. EaseUS Todo Backup Home is the one that can help you create a bootable USB. You can apply it to create a Windows recovery USB for another computer.

Related article: Which USB Format to Boot Windows: FAT32, NTFS, or exFAT

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