By Emily / Last Updated March 15, 2021

Does FAT32 have a size limit?

FAT32 is the most common version of the FAT (File Allocation Table) file system family created back in 1977 by Microsoft. It uses the 32 bits of data for identifying data clusters on the storage device. It is compatible with a huge variety of devices like smartphones, tablets, computers, digital cameras, gaming consoles, and more. Besides, it can work under almost all operating systems like Windows 95 OSR2, Windows 98, XP, Vista, Windows 7, 8, and 10. MacOS and Linux also support it.

However, the FAT32 file system has a size limit on partition and file. To be specific, FAT32 can only work with files that are less than 4GB in size. Therefore, if you try to move a file larger than 4Gb to a FAT32 drive, you will fail and meet the error message saying the file is too large for the destination file system. Furthermore, you also have to notice the FAT32 partition size limit: it only works with partitions with a maximum capacity of 2TB. Namely, you cannot format 2TB+ hard drive to FAT32.

How to bypass FAT32 max partition size?

From above, we know that the FAT32 only supports files of up to 4GB in size and volumes of up to 2TB in size. To break out the FAT32 partition size limit and file size limit, you can convert FAT32 file system to NTFS, which is limited by design to 16EB (Exabytes) in partition size and supports very large files. To convert FAT32 to NTFS, you can use the Windows built-in Command-Line.

Just press the Windows logo key+R to open the Run dialog box. Enter cmd to open the command prompt window. At the window, type convert drive: /fs:ntfs (for example, if the letter of the drive you want to convert is e, you would type convert e: /fs:ntfs). But there is no command to change an NTFS partition back to FAT32, and you need to reformat the partition to FAT32.

Convert To Ntfs Cmd

If you are not familiar with running the complex commands, you can use the free partition manager: AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. It can convert FAT32 to NTFS, or NTFS to FAT32 without formatting/losing data. It has graphic and user-friendly interface and works well under Windows 10, 8, 8.1, XP and Vista (all editions). Now, you can free download it and see how it works to bypass the FAT32 partition size limit.

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Step 1. Install and launch this software. Right-click the FAT32 partition and choose ”Advanced” > ”Convert to NTFS”.

Convert to NTFS

Step 2. Click “OK” to continue.

OK

Step 3.Click on “Apply” to commit the pending operation.

Apply

When it is done, the FAT32 partition will turn into an NTFS partition.

Note:
Besides changing FAT32 file system to NTFS to bypass its partition and file size limit, you can also change it to exFAT file system; it supports 128PB volume at most and 16EB file at most. It has better compatibility than NTFS, whereas it is slower in read and write speed than NTFS. But there is no way to convert FAT32 to exFAT, but to format this drive again.

How to format FAT32 larger than 32GB?

Although FAT32 partition can be 2TB at most, many users find that they are unable to format 32GB+ partition to FAT32 in Windows 10/8/7 via the native tools, like Disk Management, File Explorer or DiskPart. In this situation, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard can also help a lot. It can format 2TB hard drive to FAT32 at most. The detailed steps are listed as below:

Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. Right click the large partition (ex: 2TB) and choose “Format Partition”.

Format Partition

Step 2. Next, choose FAT32 as the target file system and click on “OK”.

FAT32

Step 3. In the main interface, click “Apply” to start the formatting operation.

Apply

Summary

In this article, we have told what’s the FAT32 partition size limit, how to bypass it as well as how to format a large partition to FAT32 successfully. Now, you should get a deeper understanding of FAT32 file system. The mentioned free partition manager can also clone FAT32 partition, resize FAT32 partition, move FAT32 partition and more. To enjoy more advanced features like clone MBR disk to GPT, transfer OS from MBR disk to GPT, convert system disk between MBR and GPT without deleting partitions, you can upgrade to Professional.