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DiskPart: How to Format Hard Drive to FAT32 in Windows?

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jan 24, 2024 • Filed to: Answer Hard Drive Problems • Proven solutions

How do I format my external hard drive to fat32 on Windows? Can a Disk Drive with space more than 32GB be formatted to FAT32? I want to share my files on Mac through a drive that supports NTFS. But a Mac computer will not read the disk. How can I format a drive to a file system that is supported by both Mac and Windows? Is it possible to convert the file system of the disk to FAT32?

Data sharing between different devices is essential in this day and age, to make this possible, we use various mediums to share our files like the USB flash stick or an external hard disk. But if you intend to transfer data from a Mac to a Windows PC or vice versa, then you may find problems in performing such a task.

The issue occurs when the file support system of the storage device on Windows is not supported by the Mac. The solution to this obstacle is converting the drive to the file format that is supported by both the operating systems. FAT32 is one of those file support systems, which works well in both macOS and Windows 10. In this article, we will find how to format and convert a Hard Disk Drive to FAT32.

Part 1. Overview of FAT32

File Allocation Table(FAT) is a file support system that is used primarily on small storage devices which can hold up to 32GB of storage. FAT was introduced in 1977, and in, this section, we will learn everything that is to know this specific file support system.

Windows 10 does not allow you to format drives in FAT32, but there is a way out of it. If you are willing to face the consequences of making such a move, then you have come to the right place. Here, we will show you the way on how to Format a Hard Drive to FAT32 in Windows.

Part 2. How to Format Hard Drive to FAT32?

If you want to format your external hard drive, then it is worth mentioning that some of the manufacturers of external HDD have developed third-party apps of their own. Those apps are available inside the drive in the form of a utility folder. Otherwise, you can format your storage device to FAT32 by using the windows command prompt program, we will discuss in this part of the article.

Format External Hard Drive in FAT32 using Command Prompt:

Command Prompt is officially known as Windows Command Processor and referred to as "cmd prompt" is used to execute commands in the Windows PC. The commands used inside 'cmd' are mostly automated tasks written in code. It is the advanced form of the original operating system, "MS-DOS." It can move, copy, delete, and create folders with a user interface(GUI). You can also use the command prompt to convert the hard drive's file support system to FAT32 by entering specific commands. Here are the steps on how to format the storage device to FAT32 by using Command Prompt:

  1. Enter Run from the Start menu, a dialogue box will appear.
  2. Type cmd and click on OK.


  1. Command Prompt window will open on your desktop. Make sure to run the command prompt as an administrator.
  2. Now type in the following command inside the prompt window: format /FS:FAT32 X:
  3. X stands for the letter of the drive that you want to format and convert, you can replace the letter.
  4. Press Enter.
  5. Type 'Y' and press enter, the formatting procedure will start.


There's also seems to be an issue when using the command prompt to format a large hard drive as it can take forever to format the hard drive. It is known to take up to 5 hours to complete the process.

Read More: FAT16 File System: Definition, Pros & Cons, and Applications

Part 3. How to Fix DiskPart Conversion Failure?

Disk partition errors in Windows can be annoying if not fixed in time, and it can cause some severe damage. These errors can be caused due to multiple factors, such as bad sectors, sudden power failure, power surge, virus infection, and physical damage. These errors cause the hard drive connected to the Windows PC to become inaccessible, and the data present inside the affected hard can get erased. If your Hard drive is failing to format and change to the FAT32 format, then there might be some issue with your drive. In this section, we will talk about how to fix such errors:

Use the Check Disk Command from Command Prompt:

The check Disk utility helps in fixing the bad sectors that are cause disk errors in the PC. CHKDSK command is used inside the cmd-prompt window. It helps to fix most issues with the hard drive and makes it able to use it again. Here are the steps:

  1. Enter Run from the Start menu.
  2. Type cmd and click on OK.
  3. Type "chkdsk X: /r /f" where X is the external hard drive letter.
  4. Hit Enter.


  1. Restart the system after the process finishes.

Startup Repair

If the solution mentioned above does not work, then you must check the disk using the startup repair technique. Here are the steps to perform startup repair on the computer:

  1. Hit the F12 key immediately after starting your computer.
  2. Select the system repair/installation disc option and hit Enter.


  1. Click on Next'and then click on 'Repair your Computer.'
  2. Click on Startup Repair.
  3. Wait until the system is repaired and restart the system again, you will able to format to FAT32 after that.

Bonus Time: Comparison between Fat32 and NTFS

A file support system provides a way of establishing a storage device which also specifies how a data is stored on those drives and their data information amongst other things


NTFS is the file system that is used on the Windows PC drives by default nowadays. When you install Windows on your computer, it directly formats your disk with the NTFS file system. It can support up to 2TB of storage space. NTFS is not compatible with Mac computers.


FAT 32 is the oldest file support system in the world. It doesn't carry a large amount of storage with its drive, but it is compatible with both Windows PC and macOS. It can support only 32GB of data by default, which you can be changed by following the method mentioned above.


Tips Before formatting HDD to FAT32

Before formatting your disk permanently to FAT32, you should carry out some necessary precautions to ensure the safety of your data.

  1. Create a backup of your files. You must remove all the important files to a safe location before enabling the formatting procedure. You can save those files on an external memory source or a cloud storage service.
  2. You must keep a note of all the important drivers of the computer, which might get removed once the formatting is completed.
  3. Keep a log of your browser data, and sync it with an email client. You can enable the sync function on Google Chrome, that will keep tabs of your browsing data
  4. Keep a log of all the vital apps/programs that you have installed on your computer, as you might want to reinstall them again.
  5. If in case, you forget to do all the things mentioned above, and your data gets erased as a result. Then you must perform a data recovery operation on your PC.
  6. You can perform data recovery by using Recoverit Data Recovery by Wondershare.

Recoverit by Wondershare:

If you feel the need to use formatted data again on your computer, you can retrieve it by using Recoverit Data Recovery software for Windows. The tool offers:

You can and follow our easy three-step guide to recover formatted documents:

1. Select the Location


2. Scanning of the Location


3. Recover Lost Data

Once the scan is complete, you will find a pop-up that will notify you of the end of the scanning process. Follow the steps below to finish the method to recover data.


Closing Words

If you carry a regular habit of transferring files from one system to another through an external hard drive or if you intend to transfer your internal HDD to a different computer, then you must format your device to a format that is supported by all systems. Despite being an outdated file system format, FAT32 is compatible with both Windows PC and macOS. Though we recommend that you switch to its more advanced and secure version, which is the ExFAT. If after the process of formatting, you find the need to retrieve deleted data, then you must use Recoverit by Wondershare to recover all that is lost.

Recoverit author

Theo Lucia

chief Editor

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