By Dervish / Last Updated September 21, 2023

My friend Michael bought an external hard drive last month, yesterday he ran to me and ask how to convert external hard drive from NTFS to FAT32 safely and easily? I was so curious about why does he want to convert NTFS to FAT32; he said NTFS partition can’t be read by DOS system. Since protecting data and files, I recommend him to convert external hard drive from NTFS to FAT32 with a third-party software-AOMEI 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. NTFS and FAT32 to partition are what DOC and TXT to text. In text, the file with DOC format can’t be read by TXT application. Similarly, in some condition, not all files in different formatted partition can be read by same application. First, you’d better know some knowledge about NTFS and FAT32.

✍ About FAT32

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

✍ 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 file system for Microsoft. NTFS make advanced on FAT and HPFS, such as to support metadata.

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

NTFS can support up to 64GB single file and, 2048GB partition. FAT32 supports up to single file with 4GB and 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 space of hard drive effectively, and avoid wasting space of hard drive at the most extent.

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

As mentioned above, NTFS and FAT32 have its own 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 local installed hard disk.

Whether has consideration about security or not.

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

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 that 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.

Download Demo 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.