Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Creating Big FAT32 partitions in Windows XP

Recommended Posts

Borbus    1

Windows XP doesn't let you format a partition with FAT32 if it is bigger than 32GB. This is obviously to force you to use NTFS. But if, like me, you want a big partition that can be read by many OSes including Windows, Linux and OSX then you have to use FAT32.

To do this, first you must create your partition, it is probably best to use windows disk management to do this.

Right click on My Computer and select Manage. Then select Disk Management from the left. Now find some unallocated space on one of your disks. Right click on the unallocated space and select New Partition.

Press next, select primary partition. Press next, enter the size of your new partition, the number that's in there by default is the ammount of unallocated space on your disk and thus the maximum size for the partition. Press next, select a drive letter of your choice (it can be changed later). Press next, select do not format this partition. Then press next and then finish.

Now you have a new partition that is not yet formatted.

To format the big partition with FAT32 you have to use Linux mkdosfs for Windows NT/2K/XP. There might be other ways, but this is what I used and it worked perfectly. You can download mkdosfs from here: http://www.mager.org/mkdosfs/

Download mkdosfs.zip and extract it.

mkdosfs.exe is a command line program so when you extract it put it somewhere easy to access like C:. Now, press start then run and type cmd. Now, assuming you put mkdosfs.exe on C: type C:\mkdosfs

That should give you instruction on how to use the program. If it doesn't then you haven't typed in the path of the program correctly.

To format a partition you must type this into cmd:

C:\mkdosfs -F 32 -n <partition name> -v <drive letter>

Where <partition name> is a name of your choice for your new partition and <drive letter> is the drive letter of the partition you want to format. *Don't get the drive letter wrong!*

Once you have typed that in and pressed enter, the program should give you some information about your new partition like this:

mkdosfs 2.8 (28 Feb 2001)

Win32 port by Jens-Uwe Mager

\\.\<drive letter> has 255 heads and 63 sectors per track,

logical sector size is 512,

using 0xf8 media descriptor, with 390716865 sectors;

file system has 2 32-bit FATs and 8 sectors per cluster.

FAT size is 380816 sectors, and provides 48744400 clusters.

Volume ID is 4149e22c, volume label <partition name> .

It will be unresponsive while it formats the drive, but it only took about 30 seconds to format my 200GB partition.

Note the -F 32 part of the command. mkdosfs can format FAT12 and FAT16 partitions with the relevant command. If you don't include -F 32 then mkdosfs will use either FAT12 or FAT16 so make sure you do put that bit on.

So there you go, now you have a FAT32 partition bigger than 32GB that can be read and written to by many OSes and you didn't even have to leave Windows XP (Y)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
+jamesyfx    352

Aw. I shouldve read this earlier!

I'd just converted a FAT32 to NTFS today as it was a 150GB hard drive. What a waste.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Unholy Moley!    0

If only I had known this earlier! Your short guide has good grammar, is clear and helpful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TheWahbinator    0

Windows XP doesn't let you format a partition with FAT32 if it is bigger than 32GB

Only during the setup portion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OrganicPanda    0

but can that program work its wonders on serial ATA drives of 200GB, that would be lovely

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Borbus    1

Only during the setup portion.

Disk Management does not let you format a partition with FAT32 if it's bigger than 32GB.

but can that program work its wonders on serial ATA drives of 200GB, that would be lovely

Yes, it was a 200GB SATA drive that I used it on :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CeL_dAmAgE    0

. . . Or you could just buy an Acer. They already come in FAT32.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lazih3nri    0

What are other benfits to formatting to Fat32?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Borbus    1

What are other benfits to formatting to Fat32?

None really. The only benefit is the cross platform support. If you only use windows, use NTFS.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nelsinho    2

yep good job dude, nice guide this is very useful to a large number of people what don?t know about this procedures(Y)) :))

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Southern Patriot    730

Well, if your intent is cross-platform support with OS X or Linux, then just format the drive as FAT32 within those systems.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
+BudMan    2,907

None really. The only benefit is the cross platform support. If you only use windows, use NTFS.

Cross platform support?? Linux and OSX both can "READ" ntfs just fine..

I see no point in using FAT32 as a filesystem - unless your using a OS that does not support NTFS.. And who is stilling use 9x?

Cross platform -- then why not just ext2 or 3? XP can read/write to ext2/3

http://www.fs-driver.org/index.html

And so can OSX..

http://sourceforge.net/projects/ext2fsx/

FAT32 is an antiquated file system used by antiquated OSs -- move forward people ;) And I agree with roadwarrior -- if your going to be using other OSs anyway -- why not just create the filesystem with one of them?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
cork1958    1,073

Cross platform support?? Linux and OSX both can "READ" ntfs just fine..

I see no point in using FAT32 as a filesystem - unless your using a OS that does not support NTFS.. And who is stilling use 9x?

Cross platform -- then why not just ext2 or 3? XP can read/write to ext2/3

http://www.fs-driver.org/index.html

And so can OSX..

http://sourceforge.net/projects/ext2fsx/

FAT32 is an antiquated file system used by antiquated OSs -- move forward people ;) And I agree with roadwarrior -- if your going to be using other OSs anyway -- why not just create the filesystem with one of them?

Exactly!! :whistle:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Unholy Moley!    0

Cross platform support?? Linux and OSX both can "READ" ntfs just fine..

But they can't write to NTFS, which is half the issue! Fat32 is still needed. Don't believe me? Get an ipod and try to use it on both Mac and windows with it formatted in anything other than fat32.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sam Symons    0

Nice, although mine's already FAT32. I would much rather have NTFS.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DarkSim905    1

Cross platform support?? Linux and OSX both can "READ" ntfs just fine..

I see no point in using FAT32 as a filesystem - unless your using a OS that does not support NTFS.. And who is stilling use 9x?

Cross platform -- then why not just ext2 or 3? XP can read/write to ext2/3

http://www.fs-driver.org/index.html

...

FAT32 is an antiquated file system used by antiquated OSs -- move forward people ;) And I agree with roadwarrior -- if your going to be using other OSs anyway -- why not just create the filesystem with one of them?

First of all, those FS Drivers are poorly made, do not work too well, and cause issues when formatting drives / noticing drives. Secondly; what if the person formats with something such as ResierFS? Support is lacking even-moreso in that. FAT32 is just a known, well used standard is cross-platform. The having LInux and such write to it, is a plus aswell.

So, moving forward for those other OSes is not an option. :unsure:

Sure, it sucks; but it helps when running a server, or something old. I should know, I just started doing so and have found this to be a crux problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Borbus    1

And I agree with roadwarrior -- if your going to be using other OSs anyway -- why not just create the filesystem with one of them?

Because you can format it with Windows XP fine like I have shown in this guide. I don't understand you people, I created this because I like to pass on information in the hope that it will be useful. What is the point of posting here about how bad FAT32 is or why you shouldn't do it?

To those that said thanks, you're welcome :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DarkSim905    1

It should be noted that when running this command, even after it formats, the prompt just sits there. You have to hit enter, and it'll return you back to a prompt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mikael    0

Hmm, didn't work out very well. Here's what happens:

C:\>mkdosfs -v -F 32 -n USB1 G:

mkdosfs 2.8 (28 Feb 2001)

Win32 port by Jens-Uwe Mager <jum@anubis.han.de>

mkdosfs: unable to get length for '\\.\G:'

What might be wrong?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Leddy    0

IMO a bit pointless, but nevertheless still a good guide for those people who still want to do it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The_Decryptor    1,105

Good guide, although the limit isn't there to force you to use NTFS (FAT32 = very inefficient on larger drives)

What are other benfits to formatting to Fat32?

None, only cons (slower, larger sectors, etc.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Borbus    1

Hmm, didn't work out very well. Here's what happens:

C:\>mkdosfs -v -F 32 -n USB1 G:

mkdosfs 2.8 (28 Feb 2001)

Win32 port by Jens-Uwe Mager <jum@anubis.han.de>

mkdosfs: unable to get length for '\\.\G:'

What might be wrong?

How did you make the partition G:? If the partition is already formatted then that might not work, I don't know since i've never tried it. Try deleting the partition using Windows Disk Management and then follow the guide to make another one.

To all those saying that FAT32 is really inefficient on big drives, Microsoft has really exagerated the facts. On my music partition I have 60GB of data that is about 10,000 1-10MB files. The extra data that the FAT32 innefiency has created is about 20MB. I'm not complaining at that.

The only real downside is the 4GB file size limit and lack of security features. Everything else has been exagerated by Microsoft.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.