change external hard drive from ntfs to fat32

Toshiba Canvio e05a050cau3xs 500 gb exte...
May 8, 2011 at 21:22:56
Specs: Windows Vista
I have a toshiba 500 gig external hard drive that I want to convert to fat32. How can I do that.

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May 9, 2011 at 04:45:23
Read this first:

Go into Disk manager, select drive, format to fat32.

You WILL loose all data on the drive.
You WILL loose all data on the drive.
You WILL loose all data on the drive.

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May 9, 2011 at 04:49:34
Why would you want to do that?

There is no way to convert, so you will have to remove all data from the HDD, then reformat using some sort of software. The Windows formating tool has a FAT32 limit of 32GB, so you will need to use a 3rd party program. Toshiba should have something available.

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May 9, 2011 at 05:29:45
If you really must have the drive in Fat32 format I would split it into smaller partitions. It will make better us of the space as making the entire 500 Gbs a single Fat32 partition will waster a huge amount of space due to cluster size and slack space.


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May 9, 2011 at 08:27:58
StuartS brings up a good point. The default cluster size for NTFS is 4KB but with a large FAT32 partition, the cluster size is 32KB. What that means is, a file less than 4KB in size on a NTFS drive will occupy 4KB space, on a FAT32 drive, it will occupy 32KB space. The unused portion of the cluster is called the "slack space". Obviously there can be a lot of wasted slack space with FAT32. There's also a max file size limit of 4GB (minus 1 byte).

If for some reason you MUST use FAT32, you're going to have to come up with some software to format your drive. Try fat32format:

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May 9, 2011 at 13:01:19
I might suggest a first small partition in fat32. The only reason one would use fat32 is to support an older OS. Then make the rest a NTFS partition.

But, I don't use fat32 anymore. No real reason unless you have window95 or ME or such.

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