How to Fat32 Format 32GB or Larger USB Flash Drives. When working from within a Windows environment, you will find it is not possible to use the default Windows tools to format larger than 32GB USB hard drives or flash drives with Fat32. This is because those tools default to using NTFS or exFAT for bigger drives. In this case we need to format usb to fat32 using another utility or method. Linux users wont encounter this trouble, as the tools used there do not care what size the drive is. ;)
Why is my only format option via the Windows format tool NTFS or exFAT?
This is due in part to the fact that the Windows format tool can only format a drive using the Fat32 if the drive is 32GB or smaller.
Modern USB flash drives are manufactured with capacities that well exceed 32GB and they typically ship exFAT or NTFS formatted. However, neither formats are detectable from all operating environments, nor are they BIOS bootable. A Fat32 filesystem can be read across most operating systems and natively supports BIOS USB Boot. So it is nice to have a method of formatting these devices using a Fat32 partition. The only real drawback to using Fat32 is that files larger than 4GB cannot be stored on fat32.
After dabbling a bit with a few different free software formatting tools that can run from within Windows, I have come across a couple of nice solutions.
Fat32Format – Formatting a USB to Fat 32.
Fat32Format utility is a Free Open Source tool that will let you format a USB device up to 2 TB in size as fat 32. This tool is my first choice in fat32 USB format tools.
Authors Website: Project Page
You can get this tool here: Fat32Format GUI Download
Swissknife – Fat 32 Tool for Large USB drives
SwissKnife is another stand alone application. The tool allows you to format your big USB devices as Fat32 so that the information you put on the device can be read across multiple operating platforms. This is great since some of us are using Linux, Unix and other operating environments along with Windows and wish to access our data via these platforms.
Below is a screenshot of the Swissknife Large Fat32 Format application shown Fat32 formatting a large USB flash drive.
Note: This software utility is no longer being developed. However, here is the archived project page
It is easy to navigate and straightforward to use.
The old version is free to use. You can get it here: Download the Swissknife
If you found this section useful, you might also be interested in knowing how to restore a USB back to its original state.
Easily Fat32 Format Large USB | 32 GB or larger flash drives
Fat32 Format USB Flash Drive larger than 32GB. When working within Windows, you can use use these utilities to easily format USB to Fat32.
Price Currency: USD
Operating System: Windows
Application Category: USB tool, USB utility