FAT32 Format

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 7, 2008
Updated • Oct 6, 2015
Windows, Windows tips

Recently I needed to format some brand new hard drives in .... FAT32 format. Needless to say, Vista doesn't like to do that. Nor does Windows XP. But since these hard drives will be going into an old security surveillance DVR unit, they need to be in FAT32, not NTFS. I'm also taking this opportunity to upgrade the security unit from the old 30 gig hard drives to new 250 gig units.

I had first thought of using the virtual OS of Windows XP on my PC to format these drives via a USB to ATA connector. And this will work. But as I am not going to be doing this on an on-going basis, I figured I'll look for something that may be used by people without virtual OS software. And I found one called Fat32 Format.

This fat32format.exe program is small enough for me to store it on a web email account to access anytime I want. And it's fast and simple to use. Just open a DOS CMD window and type "fat32format x:" where x is the drive to be formatted. Just be careful and never ever type c: or another drive that is in use currently on your PC.

The only downside is this does not perform disk integrity checks. You'll have to do a chkdsk yourself afterwards. Although this does mean it's lightning fast in formatting drives. And it'll format up to 2 Terrabytes in FAT32.

This article has been contributed by Dante. Thanks a lot !

Update:Fat32 Format is now available as a graphical user interface for Windows as well.

The user interface is a lot easier to use. Simply select the drive you want to format using the drive selector at the top, change the allocation size if you want to, add a volume label and decide whether you want to run a quick format or standard format of the drive.

A log is displayed in the application window so that you now exactly what is going on at all times.

software image
no rating based on 0 votes
Software Name
Fat32 Format
Operating System
Landing Page

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. EC said on March 10, 2010 at 8:03 am

    Sure, we can use command but now it is taking longer to format drives. Vista and Windows 7 have now the “new and improve” extFat. Booo… they should have left FAT32 becuase some systems like PS3 Gaming consoles only use FAT32 for their backup utility. Oh well, I am sure there is a way to get around it. It’s just frustrating when Windows changes everything. They should at least leave some features enabled.

  2. rajesh said on December 6, 2009 at 7:11 am

    very gud

  3. rajesh said on December 6, 2009 at 7:10 am


  4. Jim said on July 8, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Nah.. a much better option is this donation ware:


    power users can enjoy the command line version.

    others might enjoy the new GUI version that is visTaRD ready

    ^^ I formatted an older 60gig drive for a project that required FAT32

    it formats a terabyte in about two seconds… error check on your own time


  5. M Gissoni said on April 7, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    I am trying to use the WD My Passport Elite 500 Mb as an external “pen drive” to plug into my Philips DVP 5990K / 55 DVD player USB port.
    An older version of the same hard disk is easily read by the DVD player as if it were a pen drive on the DVD’s USB port.
    I’ve already erased all data on the WD Passport Elite and formatted it with WD’s website format utility for FAT32.
    Still it does not work – that is, the DVD player says “device not supported” for the WD My Passport Elite 500 Mb.
    Does anyone have any suggestions ?

  6. R Hill said on March 17, 2009 at 8:19 am

    I have just found a solution to the same problem in connection with the new Humax Foxsat-HDR which also requires FAT32 on external USB. Western Digital external USB drives such as My Passport Essential, My Book Essential, and Elements in sizes up to 1TB are all ready formatted in FAT32 in such a way that the 32GB limit does not apply. If you ever need to reformat them you download a special utility from the WD website. See p.3 of the on-line User Manual for the Western Digital ‘My Passport Essential’. Maxtor external drives, for example, are formatted in NTFS but it does not tell you on the box or even on the specification.

  7. Lloyd Smalls said on November 22, 2008 at 12:59 am

    The format command only works for 32gb partitions formatted to fat32.. It also does not work for internal HDD in Vista.. Which is RETARDED since windows mobile devices will not read NTFS!?!?!?!?!

  8. Dante said on March 8, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    Hmmm… that’s nice to know. I got so bored waiting for Windows to format the drive, I just stopped it and used fat32format.

  9. Martin said on March 8, 2008 at 10:37 am

    I do not know about Vista but the command lets you only format hard drives of 32 Gigabytes or less in XP

  10. Dante said on March 7, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    Just tried that format drive: /fs:fat32 in Vista. I think I like the fat32format.exe better. For my purposes, the speedier formating is a life saver. Too many stupid little drives to format at one time – boredom will kill me :)

  11. Dante said on March 7, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    The link should be http://www.ridgecrop.demon.co.uk/fat32format.htm

    And thanks for the tip on format drive: /fs:fat32. I HATE when OS companies bury cryptic commands when they’re supposed to be oh so GUI friendly.

  12. Vivek said on March 7, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    FORMAT drive /FS:FAT32
    works in XP for sure – and as I just saw – in Vista too

  13. Thinker said on March 7, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Bad link ^^

  14. e-t-c said on March 7, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Dead LInk
    404 The page was not found
    Please visit the homepage of ghacks or use the site search on the right.

    BTW: The Windows FORMAT.EXE can also Formatting more than 32 GB Partitions.

    But there is a smart GUI Version for this …

    Fat32Formatter 1.0 (Autor: TOKIWA – JAPAN)

    DD: Nov 2007 – 187 KB – Englisch – Standalone (.zip) – Freeware
    OS: Windows 2000 XP Vista

    HP: http://tokiwa.qee.jp/EN/Fat32Formatter/index.html
    DL: http://www.freewarefiles.com/downloads_counter.php?programid=38041

    SS: http://tokiwa.qee.jp/EN/Fat32Formatter/Fat32Formatter.jpg

  15. no need said on March 7, 2008 at 11:02 am

    format drive: /fs:fat32
    works fine in vista :)

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.