Fat32 Format USB Drives Larger than 32GB

Fat32 format USB drives larger than 32GB with Fat32 formatter. Some operating systems and disk utilities impose limitations preventing you from formatting partitions larger than 32GB as Fat32. In Windows, for example, the built in format utility only allows partitions up to 32 GB to be formatted as Fat 32. However, third party tools such as this can still be used to force format those large drives or format an sd card as Fat32Format.

A Fat32 Formatter for large USB drives

Fat32 Formatter - Fat32format

How do I format a flash drive larger than 32GB to FAT32?

You can use the following Fat32 formatter to Fat32 format USB drives larger than 32GB with a Fat32 file system from within Windows. In my opinion this is the best free fat32 formatter for Windows. It will force a Fat 32 format on drives of any size up to 2TB, automatically adjusting the partition to fit the space. Yes, even when the volume is larger than the 32GB limit imposed by operating systems like Windows.

By default, Microsoft Windows will not let you format a volume bigger than 32 GB with a Fat32 filesystem (hence where the denomination for 32 came from). Which is exactly where this handy tool comes in! This portable and free formatting utility easily works around this limitation. You can use its intuitive GUI to quickly format your USB flash drives, sd cards, or even large internal or external hard drives. Making it easy to format drives with Fat32 regardless of their capacity.

Note: A key benefit to using a format to Fat32 over the other filesystems, is BIOS USB Bootability. Though one important limitation to note when compared to modern exFAT or NTFS formats, is that files larger than 4GB can not be stored on a Fat32 filesystem. However you could work around this limitation by using multiple partitions of differing types by creating a NTFS or exFAT partition for storage, and a Fat32 partition for boot, etc.

Fat32 Format Limitations

It is worth noting that using a USB Fat32 formatter isn't always the best approach and that there are some limitations to using Fat32 on drives larger than 32GB. For example, as previously mentioned, the maximum file size is limited to 4GB. If you try to copy files over that exceed 4GB, you will likely encounter an error stating:

File is too large for the destination file system.

The only way to resolve this is to either split the file up using a file splitter or use a different filesystem such as NTFS or exFAT.

The maximum number of files you can store and directories you can create is also limited to 65,536. Each file and subdirectory can take 2 to 13 entries, based on the length of its name. Additionally, some modern operating systems and applications may not work well with Fat32, so it's not always the best choice for every situation.

In general, if you're formatting a large drive and need maximum compatibility and file size support, it's better to use a modern file system such as NTFS or exFAT. However, if you specifically need to use Fat32 for compatibility with legacy systems (for example BIOS booting), third party Fat32 formatter tools like this can be used to automatically format those larger drives for you.

Fat32 Format Tool Specifications

In my opinion, this is the best free Fat 32 formatter software. It supports formatting to Fat32 any USB drive all the way up to 2TB in size. So it is at least near future proof for use on most modern USB flash drives and micro sd cards.

Fat32 Formatter - force Fat32 format drives larger than 32GB

  • Extracted File Size: 72 KB
  • Authors Website: Project Page
  • Developer: Created by Tom Thornhill of Ridgecrop Consultants Ltd.
  • License: Open Source - Free Software
  • Supported Operating Systems: Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP

Download the Fat32 Formatter Tool

You can get the GUI version of this free utility directly from the authors by clicking on the image from the project page. Or you can grab it here:
Fat32 Formatter Download
Alternately, you can download a command line version of the fat 32 format tool and use it instead to format sd card fat 32 or reformat USB to fat 32. The command line version also enables you to pass variables to the tool using commands or batch scripts. Since the software is open source, it's even possible to integrate the tool into your own projects.

If you find this particular fat32 formatting tool useful, you might also want to check out the BOOTICE utility which can also be used to easily format external USB flash drives, pendrives, thumb drives and micro sd cards.