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Jeroen W. Pluimers on .NET, C#, Delphi, databases, and personal interests

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Archive for May 2nd, 2011

FAT32 formatting a HDD volume bigger than 32 gigabyte

Posted by jpluimers on 2011/05/02

Most external USB HDDs you buy are way bigger than 32 gigabyte, and factory formatted with NTFS.

Nowadays, many devices (TVs, modems, routers, etc) support attaching HDDs, but not all of them support NTFS, but most of them support FAT32.

My brother has such a TV. He has mental retardation (they have euphemisms for that; he basically has an IQ < 50, which in his means he can live on his own but needs daily visits from people that help him with the more complex things in life).

I’m his legal guardian (Dutch: curator), so my wife and me take care of some of those things.

This included getting his TV to recognize a USB HDD so he can watch his favourite TV series I recorded for him (Knight Rider, Top Gear, etc).

Windows NT and beyond cannot format FAT32 in an easy way.

They can from the commandline using the format command: use FOMAT X: /FS:FAT32 for that, it is slow and as soon as you add the /Q parameter to speed things up, it imposes the 32 gigabyte limit.

Microsoft suggests botting Windows 98 or Windows Me, but those have too many limitations (lack of USB support, no 48-bit LBA, imposing 137 gigabyte HDD limit, etc).

Luckily, Ridgecrop Consultants Ltd has a FAT32FORMAT tool  and accompanying GUI wrapper. They format any HDD using FAT32. Their tools work at least in Windows XP and up (I haven’t tested Windows 2000 and NT 4).

Problem solved: my brother can happily watch his favourite TV series I recorded for him :)


Posted in About, Personal, Power User, Windows, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP | Leave a Comment »

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