How to Format a Flash Drive to FAT32/exFAT/EXT4 in Windows? Windows 10 doesn’t let you format external USB drives larger than 32GB to the FAT32 file system. The format utility dialog offers just NTFS, and exFAT file systems for USB drives larger than 32GB. Below are some tools that allow you to format your USB Flash Drive to the desired format, including those that are compatible with Apple’s macOS or Linux.
FAT32 is an old file system, NTFS is better and faster. NTFS allows single file sizes larger than 2 GB which FAT32 doesn’t. NTFS also has encryption, better file compression than FAT32. The only drawback is compatibility with older operating systems such as Windows 2000.
↓ 01 – USB Disk Storage Format Tool
USB flash drives hold everything from personal and medical information to music and pictures and even secure data, with the added advantage of being small and rugged enough for keychain duty.
USB Disk Storage Format Tool utility allows you to quickly and thoroughly format virtually any USB flash drive with your choice of FAT, FAT32, exFAT, or NTFS partition types. Tested with thousands of flash drives (Compact Flash, CF Card II, Memory Stick Duo Pro, SDHC, SDXC, Thumb Drive, Pen Drive) of the following brands, SanDisk, Kingston, Transcend, Corsair, HP, Sony, Lexar, Imation, Toshiba, PNY, ADATA, Verbatim, LaCie, Panda, Seatech, SDKSK9, Silicon Power, IronKey, and HDE.
↓ 02 – SD Memory Card Formatter
The SD Memory Card Formatter formats SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card and SDXC Memory Card (respectively SD/SDHC/SDXC Cards) complying with the SD File System Specification created by the SD Association (SDA).
It is strongly recommended to use the SD Memory Card Formatter to format SD/SDHC/SDXC Cards rather than using formatting tools provided with individual operating systems. In general, formatting tools provided with operating systems can format various storage media including SD/SDHC/SDXC Cards, but it may not be optimized for SD/SDHC/SDXC Cards and it may result in lower performance.
↓ 03 – Kingston USB Format Tool
Kingston USB drives are pre-formatted with a FAT32 file system for cross platform compatibility and for optimum performance. Formatting this drive with Windows, Mac or Linux may cause a performance decrease. The solution to obtain the best possible performance is to format the drive with the Kingston utility located below.
↓ 04 – Ridgecrop FAT 32 Formatter
FAT32 is limited to 2^32 sectors. With 512 byte sectors that means a 2TB drive. However some(all?) >2TB external drives use 4K sectors. That’s not to say that using FAT32 on such a large device is necessarily a good idea – Windows will take some seconds to mount it because it seems like it reads one or both of the FATs as part of the mounting process. With a 3TB drive the FATs will be 349MB which will take ~10-20 seconds to read over USB 2.0, though you won’t notice much delay over USB 3.0
In general if the devices you need to copy files between all support exFAT or NTFS they’re probably a better bet than FAT32, but as of 2013 support for FAT32 is likely to be both more common and more bulletproof in non-PC devices than either exFAT or NTFS. Without installing a file system driver on the PC those are your choices, and in my experience third party FSDs will tend to cause BSODs because FSDs are not that easy to write on Windows.
↓ 05 – NoThankVirus Drive Formatter
Small utility that allows you to completely format any drive (fixed hard disk, USB flash drive, external hard drive etc.) and supports multiple File System types such as NTFS, FAT, FAT32 and exFAT. Full format and quick formatting capabilities are available as configurable options as well as a secure format (Disk Wiper) option which can aid in ensuring that files can not be recovered even by the most sophisticated recovery tools such as Piriform Recuva software and many others.
Formatting with the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool will restore a USB drive to the original capacity. Additionally on a Windows computer this tool will allow you to format USB drives 64GB and above into the Fat32 file system for use in environments that are not compatible with the exFat file system.
HP’s little tool is the USB flash drive tool that could, bringing enhanced power and capability to your Windows system at no cost. We recommend it to anyone who uses flash drives.