Converting a hard disk or partition to FAT32 format


You must be logged on as an administrator to perform these steps.

Before you begin, note that the FAT32 file system has size limitations. You can't create a FAT32 partition greater than 32 gigabytes (GB). Also, you can't store a file larger than 4 GB on a FAT32 partition. If the partition you want to format is larger than 32 GB, the NTFS format might be a better option. For more information, see Convert a hard disk or partition to NTFS format.

For more information about formatting in general, see Formatting disks and drives: frequently asked questions.

Warning

  • Converting a hard disk partition or volume from NTFS to FAT32 requires that you reformat the partition, which deletes any data on it. Be sure to back up any data you want to keep before you begin.

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To determine what type of file system a partition is using

  1. Open Computer by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Computer.

  2. Under Hard Disk Drives, right-click a drive, and then click Properties.

  3. The file system the drive uses is listed on the General tab under File system.

To format a hard disk partition with FAT32

  1. Open Computer Management by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Security, clicking Administrative Tools, and then double-clicking Computer Management. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  2. In the left pane, under Storage, click Disk Management.

  3. Right-click the partition you want to format, and then click Format.

  4. In the Format dialog box, under File System, click FAT32, click OK, and then click OK again.

    Note

    • If the partition you want to format is larger the 32 GB, the FAT32 option will not be visible.



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