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The Best FAT32 Formatter to Format SD Card/USB Drive


Summary: Are you finding a professional FAT32 formatter to format your USB flash drive, external hard drive, SD card to FAT32 for a better compatibility? Try the following ways according to your needs now.

What is the best software (free) to re-format a 2 TB Western Digital external Hard drive from NTFS to FAT32? I don't need the entire HDD re-formatted, but about 500GB would be fine. The reason is that I am planning on using my PS3 to watch all my video off of, and a PS3 only recognizes FAT32 drives, not NTFS (which is currently what my HDD is). I will move the data currently on my HDD back to another HDD first of course so as not to lose anything.

--from forum.videohelp.com

The above example shows you this user wants to format his partition from NTFS to FAT32. Actually, to format your disk to FAT32 is very common. In this post, we will introduce you what the best FAT32 formatter is and how to format your USB flash drive, SD card or external hard drive to FAT32 with this FAT32 format tool in Windows 10/8/7.

Why Choose FAT32

What Is FAT32

Before showing you how to format a drive to FAT32, let's learn some information about FAT32. When it comes to FAT32, you should know it refers to a version of the file allocation table (FAT) which is available in Windows 95 OSR 2 and Windows 98. It increases the number of bits used to address clusters and also reduces the size of each cluster. As a result, it can support larger disks (up to 2 terabytes) and better storage efficiency (less slack space).

FAT32 is an old file system, so many old operating systems including Win95, Win98, Win2000, Win2003, Win Vista and more support this file system. What's more, as for some old game consoles, FAT32 is available. When reading here, you know FAT32 has a very good compatibility. Besides, USB flash drives adopt FAT32 file system by default.

Why Format to FAT32

From the above content, you know why need to format to FAT32 from NTFS in Windows 10/8/7. Generally speaking, it is due to the better compatibility of FAT32. Let's focus on a common issue for more information: What is the best format for a flash drive? If you are using a USB drive but the partition is formatted to NTFS before, now you want to use your USB drive to connect to a game console PS3/4. In this case, you need to use an FAT32 formatter to change the file system to FAT32. Otherwise, PS4 can't read USB flash drive issue will appear.

Moreover, there is another case showing it is necessary to format a hard drive to FAT32. If you want to connect your USB drive or external hard drive to a NAS but the NTFS permissions are causing the NAS not to be able to access the drive. Under this circumstance, the better solution is to adopt FAT32.

How to Change Your Drive to FAT32

In order to get the best compatibility of your drive, to use FAT32 as the file system is a good choice. Then, it is likely that you are wondering: How do I format a flash drive to FAT32? How do I convert NTFS to FAT32? As a matter of fact, these two problems are often asked by many users. Today, in this post, we will show you how to change your external hard drive, USB flash drive or SD card to FAT32 in two cases in Windows 10/8/7.

Case 1: Important Data Are Saved on Your Hard Drive

The Best FAT32 Format Software - MiniTool Partition Wizard

Usually, there are some important files stored on the USB drive, SD card or external hard drive. When there is a need to use FAT32 file system, to adopt a professional FAT32 formatter to convert NTFS to FAT32 is a better solution because of the limits of Windows Disk Management. (We will show you some details later.)

In order to ensure data security, we recommend you to use MiniTool Partition Wizard which is compatible with many operating systems, such as Windows 10/8/7 and Windows Server 2003/2008/2012/2016 depending on different editions. This dedicated FAT32 Converter enables you to not only convert NTFS to FAT32 but also convert FAT32 to NTFS without any data loss. And it also can be used to format partition, extend/shrink/delete/copy partition, recover lost partition and more. Due to its so rich features, we highly recommend it to you.

"Convert NTFS to FAT" is a paid feature, so you should use MiniTool Partition Wizard Professional Edition or a more advanced edition to change your SD card, USB drive or external hard drive to FAT32.

Step 1: Launch this FAT32 format software and enter its main interface. Then right click on your SD card, USB drive or external hard drive partition to choose "Convert NTFS to FAT". Or select the target partition, and click this feature from "Change Partition" menu.

fat32 formatter

Step 2: At last, hit "Apply" button at the top-left corner to execute this FAT32 conversion.


With the help of MiniTool Partition Wizard Professional Edition, you can easily and effectively change your external hard drive, USB flash drive or SD card to FAT32 from NTFS, which won't have any influence on the data of your hard drive.

Case 2: No Data Are Stored to Your Drive

Suppose that there are no important data stored to your hard drive, you can choose to directly format your disk to FAT32. Here we will show you four ways to help you to format NTFS partition to FAT32 and just please choose one according to your needs.

note If you want to do FAT32 format SD card, you need to use a card reader to connect your SD card to the computer and then start disk formatting.

img1 FAT32 Format USB/SD Card - MiniTool Partition Wizard

In addition to using MiniTool Partition Wizard to convert NTFS to FAT32, this professional partition manager can also be as a dedicated FAT32 formatter to format a disk partition to FAT32 effectively in Windows 10/8/7. Before you format USB drive to FAT32, you can download MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition and install this best FAT32 tool on your computer and have a try.

Note: In addition to formatting a drive to FAT32, these file systems including NTFS, FAT16, Ext2, Ext3, Ext4, exFAT and Linux Swap are also supported.

Step 1: Please run MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition and then enter its clear main interface to start FAT32 SD card/USB drive formatting. Choose the target partition, then click "Format Partition" feature under "Partition Management" in the left pane.

Step 2: Next, a window will pop out. Please specify the partition label, file system and cluster size for your target partition. Here FAT32 should be chosen. After finishing these settings, go back to the main interface.

Step 3: At last, hit "Apply" button to perform formatting operation with this FAT32 format software.


img1 Built-in FAT32 Formatter – Windows Disk Management

In Windows 10/8/7, there is a snap-in FAT32 formatter which is used often. Usually, when referring to managing disk or partition, Windows Disk Management tool is a good choice due to its clear user interface and accessibility (built-in free tool). With it, you can create/delete/format volume, change drive letter and path, extend/shrink volume and so on. How do you format a flash drive to FAT32 with Disk Management? Follow the guidance as follows:

Step 1: Press "Win + R" keys to bring up Run Window. Then type "compmgmt.msc" to open Windows Disk Management.

Step 2: Next, choose the target partition of your removable disk or external hard drive you want to format to FAT32 and click "Format" from the right-click menu.


If you want to format a large hard drive beyond 32GB to FAT32, Windows Disk Management can't allow you to do this work. From the following screenshot, you see there is no FAT32 in file system list. In this case, please resort to the third-party FAT32 software - MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition, which can format your USB flash drive or SD card to FAT32 without any limit.

can't format large disk to fat32

Step 3: In the formatting interface, specify volume label, file system (FAT32 is chosen) and allocation unit size. "Perform a quick format" is selected by default.


After clicking "OK", a warning "Formatting this volume will erase all data on it. Back up any data you want to keep before formatting. Do you want to continue" appears. If no important data is saved on your disk, just ignore this warning. If you have some files on the target partition, please refer to case 1.


When using Windows Disk Management to do Windows 10 format FAT32, it is a possibility that "The format did not complete successfully" error message occurs due to corrupted file system, virus infection or bad sectors.

fail to format

Want to know the solution? Refer to this post - How Can You Fix "The Format Did Not Complete Successfully".

img1 FAT32 Format Tool – Windows Explorer

In addition to the above two FAT32 formatters, you can also format a hard drive to FAT32 via Windows Explorer.

1. When right clicking the target partition you want to format in Windows Explorer, there is an option "Format", just click it.
2. Then custom file system (FAT32), allocation unit size, volume label and quick format. Click "Start" to begin this formatting.

Like that, your USB flash drive, SD card or external hard drive will be formatted to FAT32 in Windows 10/8/7.

windows explorer

When using Windows Explorer to format a hard drive, in all probability, an error message "Windows was unable to format" appears because of the RAW file system of the target partition, the disk write-protection or disk bad sectors. For more detailed information, turn to this post - How Do I Fix Windows Was Unable to Complete the Format.

img1 Optional FAT32 Formatter - Diskpart

Now we will show you the last method that is to use Diskpart. This way requires you to input some commands. How to format to FAT32? Do as the following:

1. Run diskpart by inputting "diskpart" in the "search" box and pressing "Enter" key.
2. Then type the following commands in turn and end each command with "Enter" key.

list disk: all disks are listed here.
select disk n: n should be the number of the disk you want to format to FAT32.
list partition
select partition n: n refers to the partition number.
format fs=fat32 quick


Which Is the Best FAT32 Format Tool?

In this part, we show how to change a hard drive to FAT32 in two cases: important data exist or no important data are saved to your disk. Four FAT32 format tools for USB flash drive, SD card or external hard drive are introduced to you in detail. So, when reading here, you probably are wondering: which tool is the best one?

You know MiniTool Partition Wizard enables you to convert NTFS to FAT32 without losing data. Besides, this tool also supports formatting partition which is larger than 32GB to FAT32, which breaks the limit of FAT32. Disk Management and Windows Explorer cannot be used to format the drive larger than 32GB to FAT32.

By contrast, you get that MiniTool Partition Wizard is the best FAT32 format tool in Windows 10/8/7. If you have a need, just get its Professional Edition to convert to FAT32 from NTFS and download its Free Edition to format a large hard drive to FAT32.

Bottom Line

Now we come to the end of this post. We show you what FAT32 is, why to format a drive to FAT32 and how to achieve this aim in two situations. Four FAT32 formatters are displayed. By contrast, we highly recommend you to use MiniTool Partition Wizard to convert NTFS to FAT32 or format SD card, USB flash drive or external hard drive to FAT32 without any limit.

Suppose that you have some questions or suggestions to this post, please don't hesitate to tell us by sending an email via [email protected] or leaving your comment in the following text box. Much appreciated.