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Formatting a 500GB Hard Drive with FAT32


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Old 27-01-2008, 19:55
Izak
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I have a 500GB External Hard Drive, it isn't formatted and because I have a Windows Vista PC, Windows 98 PC and Apple iMac, the best possible format method is FAT32.

Unfortunately won't format a hard drive of 500GB in anything other the NTFS.

I've heard there are programs that will format a hard drive of this size in FAT32, but don't know where to look.

Can anyone recommend a (hopefully) free format program that will do this?

Thanks
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Old 27-01-2008, 19:59
Praxidike
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http://www.ridgecrop.demon.co.uk/ind...at32format.htm

Those instructions look like they should work.
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Old 27-01-2008, 20:05
yorkieUK
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Hopefully this might be of help:

http://www.ridgecrop.demon.co.uk/ind...at32format.htm

Good luck.
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Old 27-01-2008, 20:06
yorkieUK
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Ooops someone beat me to it - by only by seconds!
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Old 27-01-2008, 20:21
Praxidike
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Ooops someone beat me to it - by only by seconds!
I bet you found it the same way as me though!
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Old 27-01-2008, 21:08
Izak
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Thanks a lot for the link, I downloaded the "Fat32Format" program and it worked a treat, my hard drive is now working fine!!!
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Old 28-01-2008, 10:12
Izak
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Hi, although it all appeared to work, I tried using my external hard drive on my PlayStation 3 (which accepts FAT32) and is wouldn't accept it.

All I can think of that Fat32Format program only took a second to do all the formatting, is this normal, I though it should take a few minutes at the least.
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Old 28-01-2008, 22:28
Izak
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Hi, although it all appeared to work, I tried using my external hard drive on my PlayStation 3 (which accepts FAT32) and is wouldn't accept it.

All I can think of that Fat32Format program only took a second to do all the formatting, is this normal, I though it should take a few minutes at the least.
Reformatted the drive on another program called 'SwissKnife' which did a 'full' format and it now works on my PS3!
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Old 28-01-2008, 22:52
s2k
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I can 2nd the Swisknife program but I would highly advise against making a full 500gb FAT32 partiton as it could well be unstable and you will waste a fair bit of space due to the massive cluster size. Apparently theres also suposed to be major problems if windows chkdsk decides to 'fix' it for you..

After my 3rd hdd crash in the space of a year im not taking any chances...2x 32gb fat32 partitions and 1x ntfs. So far so good but to be fair I am using a better enclosure than the one i had before. Obviously outside of Windows i am restricted to 64gb of 500gb but its the stability thats more important for me.
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Old 28-01-2008, 23:05
Izak
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I can 2nd the Swisknife program but I would highly advise against making a full 500gb FAT32 partiton as it could well be unstable and you will waste a fair bit of space due to the massive cluster size. Apparently theres also suposed to be major problems if windows chkdsk decides to 'fix' it for you..

After my 3rd hdd crash in the space of a year im not taking any chances...2x 32gb fat32 partitions and 1x ntfs. So far so good but to be fair I am using a better enclosure than the one i had before. Obviously outside of Windows i am restricted to 64gb of 500gb but its the stability thats more important for me.
What is the recommended maximum for a FAT32 drive. I need it to work with all my systems I mentioned though so I can't use NTFS unfortunately, I could always do 2 or 3 partitions, all FAT32 though.

The only other problem is SwissKnife isn't fully compatible with Windows Vista, I had to run it in compatibility mode and even then it took me a few attempts to get it to work without crashing. Then when it started formatting, it actually took 7 hours to fill the progress bar then cleared the bar and started again!!! I decided at this point to cancel the format and strangely when I'd closed SwissKnife, the drive was fully working and had been formatted after all. As hard I as try to understand what happened with SwissKnife, the more confused I get!
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Old 28-01-2008, 23:25
s2k
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Well as of XP, MS only support formmating the drive up to 32gb, as after that point the clusters increase quite a bit. The actual limit is a lot higher (several tb) and Windows will read it but obviously you need 3rd party tools to do the initial format. From what I read people seemed to be saying that it should be fine up to about 120gb, after which point you should really be partitioning it to reduce the chances of major problems.

Origianally I had 100gb Fat32 and the rest as NTFS and that crashed, it brought down the NTFS side with it (different error though) but maybe im just cursed. There is also specualtion that if for whatever reason chkdsk decides to scan a fat32 partiton of that capacity, it will complain about file integrity and corrupt the whole partition whilst trying to fix it.

For the love of god though whatever you do make sure you always use the "safely remove hardware" option under windows.
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Old 28-01-2008, 23:49
Kie
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There's something here about 8 terabytes!

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314463

A while back I formatted a 120 gig disk into 4 x 30 gig partitions to work on windows me and xp. 13 partitions for a 500gb disk might be a pain

Xp won't format above 32gig but could you format from the windows 98 computer?

Extract from the link

Another option is to start from a Microsoft Windows 98 or Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me) Startup disk and use the Format tool included on the disk.



I've only ever formated a 60gig disk as one volume on FAT32 - you might have to think about say 5 partitions?
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Old 28-01-2008, 23:58
Tidosho
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Can i ask why you need it to be Fat32?
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Old 29-01-2008, 00:20
whoever,hey
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Well as of XP, MS only support formmating the drive up to 32gb, as after that point the clusters increase quite a bit. The actual limit is a lot higher (several tb) and Windows will read it but obviously you need 3rd party tools to do the initial format. From what I read people seemed to be saying that it should be fine up to about 120gb, after which point you should really be partitioning it to reduce the chances of major problems.

Origianally I had 100gb Fat32 and the rest as NTFS and that crashed, it brought down the NTFS side with it (different error though) but maybe im just cursed. There is also specualtion that if for whatever reason chkdsk decides to scan a fat32 partiton of that capacity, it will complain about file integrity and corrupt the whole partition whilst trying to fix it.

For the love of god though whatever you do make sure you always use the "safely remove hardware" option under windows.
32gig is the fat16 limit iirc.
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Old 29-01-2008, 09:08
Loobster
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It's not that XP won't format FAT32 over 32GB, it's that it won't format a partition over that size during setup. If you read the MS article again it does word it exactly in that manner.
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Old 29-01-2008, 10:10
hxbro
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Can i ask why you need it to be Fat32?
at a guess, the windows 98 box needs to read it
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Old 29-01-2008, 10:12
whoever,hey
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at a guess, the windows 98 box needs to read it
and his ps3, probably a media centre.
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Old 29-01-2008, 10:56
Izak
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Thanks for your replies.

I've read about the limitations of FAT32 on a few sites (including that Microsoft site) and it looks like this:

Windows 98 (my version) can format up to 128 GBs in one partition (but can access drives up to 8 TB)
Windows Me can format any size up to 8 TB in one partition
Windows XP/Vista can format up to 32 GB in one partition (but can access drives up to 8 TB).

When I tried to format my 500GB hard drive using Vista, it just gave me the NTFS option, that's why I used SwissKnife. But does anyone know why it took 7 hours to fill the progress bar, then restart, And then when I cancelled it, it had actually formatted? It's really confusing me!!

Can i ask why you need it to be Fat32?
I'd prefer to have it in NTFS (it would be much simpler for starters!) but as well as my Vista PC, we have an old Windows 98 PC, iMac and PS3 I want to use it on so FAT32 is the only option really.
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Old 29-01-2008, 12:00
Dark 1
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I'd prefer to have it in NTFS (it would be much simpler for starters!) but as well as my Vista PC, we have an old Windows 98 PC, iMac and PS3 I want to use it on so FAT32 is the only option really.
Mac OS X will only read from an NTFS volume, not write to one. However, there is software that enables this:

www.paragon-software.com/home/ntfs-mac/
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Old 30-01-2008, 21:26
s2k
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But does anyone know why it took 7 hours to fill the progress bar, then restart, And then when I cancelled it, it had actually formatted? It's really confusing me!!
If you chose a full format it would take several hours as it goes through more thoroughly, wheras a quick format simply 'hides' the data and flags the whole partition as being writable. The reason it worked even though you aborted, is probably because swisknife had already done the initial bit and was just going through the filesystem looking for errors etc. I dread to think how long it would take to go through 500gb

It could well be fine but you might want to reformat it again (letting it finish) to be on the safe side incase there are errors or anything further into the drive. Last thing you want after copying everything on is for it to randomly die on you.
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Old 21-02-2008, 11:40
Izak
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If you chose a full format it would take several hours as it goes through more thoroughly, wheras a quick format simply 'hides' the data and flags the whole partition as being writable. The reason it worked even though you aborted, is probably because swisknife had already done the initial bit and was just going through the filesystem looking for errors etc. I dread to think how long it would take to go through 500gb

It could well be fine but you might want to reformat it again (letting it finish) to be on the safe side incase there are errors or anything further into the drive. Last thing you want after copying everything on is for it to randomly die on you.
Sorry it's taken me a while to reply.

I have now scrapped SwissKnife as it for some weird reason formatted my main system hard drive!!! I've no idea what happened, I was sorting out my external hard drive on it, making sure every time that I selected the correct hard drive then when I came to use my computer again, I got the dreaded "Operating System Not Found'' message. Using a Linux Live CD, Puppy Linux, I discovered it had completely wiped my hard drive and I had to restore it all.

I have used 'FAT32Format' to format it properly again and it seems to be working, although I have trouble with accessing it on my PS3. Fat32Format doesn't do a full format though, just a quick format.

I have now got three partitions, two FAT32 and one NTFS.

Is there any way I can use FAT32Format to do a full format or is there another free program that can. I'm not going near SwissKnife again though, I don't trust that program now.
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Old 21-02-2008, 13:30
alanwarwic
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just pop a Linux CD in and use that. You dont even need to install Linux.
Am assuming Linux does Fat 32 formatting.
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