How to Convert NTFS External Hard Drive to FAT32

NTFS and FAT32 are the two basic file systems, and they have different features and have different uses. If you want to convert an external hard drive formatted in NTFS to FAT32, there are different ways you may do that. But now, we got an easy way to do it with a powerful utility.


By Dervish / Updated on March 12, 2024

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My friend Michael bought an external hard drive last month, yesterday he ran to me and asked how to convert external hard drive from NTFS to FAT32. I was so curious about why he wanted to convert NTFS to FAT32, he said the NTFS partition can’t be read by a DOS system. Since protecting data and files, I recommend he convert the external hard drive from NTFS to FAT32 with a third-party software Partition Assistant, which can convert hard drive from NTFS to FAT32 without data loss.


To computer users, NTFS and FAT32 are not strange. But seldom of them can tell what the difference between them is. NTFS and FAT32 to partition are what DOC and TXT to text. In the text, the file in DOC format can’t be read by the TXT application. Similarly, in some conditions, not all files in a different formatted partition can be read by the same application. First, you’d better have some knowledge about NTFS and FAT32.

✍ About FAT32

FAT 32 is one of partition format in Windows system. It has 32-bit file table, which strengthens FAT32’s management to partition, and breaks through the limitation of 2GB space in every partition. Since the production cost of hard drives decreasing, the volume capacity is increasing. After applying FAT32 partition format, a big volume hard drive can be defined as a partition but not be divided into multiple partitions. It is good for management to hard drive. Now, FAT32 is replaced by NTFS.

✍ About NTFS

NTFS is the standard file system after Windows NT, 2000, XP, server 2003, server 2008, Vista, and 7. It replaces FAT to offer a file system for Microsoft. NTFS makes advances on FAT and HPFS, such as to support metadata.

As mentioned above, NTFS and FAT both are file systems. However, NTFS is produced later than FAT32, but NTFS is more advanced in technology. In summary, the specific distinction is below:

NTFS can support up to 64GB single file and, 2048GB partition. FAT32 supports up to a single file with 4GB and a partition with 32G.

NTFS does not need to defragment your hard disk.

NTFS support to compress partition, folders, and files.

NTFS takes a little cluster, which can help to manage the space of the hard drive effectively and avoid wasting the space of the hard drive to the most extent.

In the NTFS partition, you can share sources, and folders and set access permissions on files. It is more secure than the FAT32 partition.

As mentioned above, NTFS and FAT32 have their advantages. When we choose which file system, you should consider the factors below:

Computer is installed with single system, or multiple systems.

The number and capacity of locally installed hard disks.

Whether has consideration about security or not.

If the computer is installed single system, and there is security to consider, you can select FAT32. Or NTFS is not a bad choice.

NTFS and FAT32 are two different types of file systems, and both of them are commonly used and contain different characters. You may make conversions between the two types, and here we got several cases which you need to convert external hard drive to FAT32:

If your external hard drive is formatted in NTFS, you would not be able to access some files from DOS mode or Windows 9X, then you need to covert external hard drive to FAT or FAT32.

NTFS can’t be recognized by many devices, such as Xbox 360, PS3, etc. in that case, you have to convert the external hard drive to FAT32 so that it can work with your devices.

There are more situations in which you need to convert external hard drive to FAT32, and there are different ways which you may realize the goal.

At present, there are two main ways that you may convert external hard drive to FAT32, one is to convert to FAT32 with Windows built-in Disk Management, and another one is to convert to FAT32 with third-party software like AOMEI Partition Assistant. Let’s see the details:

▶ Method 1. Convert an external hard drive with Disk Management

1. Open the Disk Management first.

2. Right click on the external hard drive and select “Format…” in the drop-down menu.

3. Select “FAT32” in the “File system” line and then choose “Quick format”.

select a file system

4. Finally, click “Start” to format, and this process may cost you minutes.

Note: If the drive is larger than 32GB, the “FAT 32” option would be invalid and once format, the information or data in the external hard drive will disappear. So, backup the data or partition if necessary and you need to know how to convert hard drive larger than 32GB into FAT32.

▶ Method 2.  Alternative to convert external hard drive to FAT32 without formatting

You can use AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional to convert external hard drive from NTFS to FAT32. The biggest advantage of that is converting NTFS to FAT32 without formatting. Comparing with Disk Management in computer, the third-party software will save your time and reduce the risk of data loss. Now, please download it to see how to convert NTFS external hard drive to FAT32 easily and safely.

Free Download Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant. Select "Convert" and then "Convert to NTFS/FAT32". 

NTFS to FAT32 Converter

2. Select "NTFS to FAT32" in the following window and click "Next".

Converter Wizard

3. Select the external drive and click "Next".

Select NTFS Partition

4. Confirm that operation, click "Proceed" and wait for the final result.


As a kind of advanced partition software, AOMEI Partition Assistant can easily convert an external hard drive to FAT32, and you can also convert an external hard drive larger than 32GB into FAT32. This software is running well on Windows 11/10/8/8.1/7/XP/Vista. Both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows editions are supported.

With its help, you need no to format your external hard drive, and thus you can convert NFTS to FAT32 without data loss. In addition, there are more useful features that you can try, such as converting partition style from MBR to GPT, converting primary partition to logical, converting basic disk to dynamic disk, and more.

Dervish · Staff Editor
Dervish is an English editor of AOMEI Technology; He is delicated to offering users easy and effecitve solutions for issuses related to disks and partitoins. In his spare time, he enjoy wathcning films, playing footable, traveling and so on.