By Emily / Last Updated January 20, 2020

Cannot format 2TB to FAT32 in Windows

User case: I have a 2TB external Hard Drive that I need to use at home with my Windows 7 PC and at school where I use a Mac. I know NTFS is for Windows only and FAT32 works on both Windows and Mac. However, I have been unable to format 2TB hard drive to FAT32. I have tried in CMD using the format fs=FAT32 quick but it popped out an error message saying "The volume is too big for FAT32". Any ideas?”

Why cannot format large hard drive to FAT32?

From the user cases above, we can learn that it is not possible to format large hard drives to FAT32 via Disk Management or Command Prompt. Why?

FAT32 is a solid file system for external drives, as long as you don't plan to store files over 4GB in size. The most obvious advantage of FAT32 is the compatibility: almost every major operating system and most devices support it. But the FAT32 can only be used to format drives between 2GB and 32GB, and that's the reason why Windows native tools have that limit. That is to say, if there is a hard drive partition larger than 32GB, it cannot be formatted into FAT32 via traditional formatting methods.

How to format 2TB hard drive to FAT32 smoothly?

So how can you format large hard drives to FAT32 in Windows? Well, as you might know, some of the hard drive manufacturers have developed their own specialized formatting tools to change the file system of a large disk to FAT32, such as Western Digital FAT32 Formatting Tool. If you are mainly using WD hard drives, you can use this tool to fulfill the formatting task.

What if you use other brand hard drives? You can switch to a 3rd party FAT32 format tool like AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. This free software is able to format hard drive that is larger than 32GB to FAT32, and handle many other tricky formatting tasks like format write-protected disk, format RAW USB. It works well on Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 and more. Next, we will show how to format 2TB hard drive to FAT32 in Windows 10 step by step.

✎Before you proceed: since formatting process will delete all data on the target disk partition, you can copy partition to another drive for a backup if there are some important data.

Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant. Right click the 2TB hard drive and select "Format Partition".

Format 2TB Partition

Step 2. Choose "FAT32" in the File System drop-down menu. You can also change cluster size, and partition label on this window.

Format 2TB Partition to FAT32

Step 3. Back to the main interface, click "Apply" >"Proceed" to commit the pending operation.


Wait for seconds, the 2TB hard drive will be formatted to be FAT32.

Moreover, if the current file system of the 2TB drive happens to be NTFS, you can convert it to FAT32 without formatting via AOMEI Partition Assistant's "NTFS to FAT32 Converter". That feature allows you to convert file systems between NTFS and FAT32 directly without losing data.



From the content above, it is no doubt that AOMEI Partition Assistant could make it possible and easy to format 2TB hard drive to FAT32. What's more, if you want to unlock more advanced disk/partition management functions including recovering lost partition, cloning MBR disk to GPT or GPT disk to MBR, migrating only OS drive to SSD/HDD in Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista, you can upgrade to Professional edition.