By Emily / Last Updated April 20, 2020

"Cannot format 2TB hard drive to FAT32 in Windows"

"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?”

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. So some users would like to format drive to FAT32.

Why failed to format large hard drive to FAT32 on Windows?

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

That’s because FAT32 has its own partition size limit and 32GB is its maximum partition size limit on Windows. In other words, Microsoft has set a 32GB partition size limit for the FAT/FAT32 file system. In truth, this limitation only exists in recent versions of Windows. Moreover, Windows cannot format a large hard drive over 32GB to FAT32, but it can recognize large hard drive formatted with FAT or FAT32. Finally, you can circumvent the 32GB limit.

How to format 1TB / 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? Here I will introduce you a versatile FAT32 format tool named AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. This free software is able to format 32+GB drive to FAT32 file system. Besides, it can handle many other tricky formatting tasks like format write-protected disk, format RAW USB, format internal hard drive to exFAT, format hard drive to Ext4/Ext3/Ext2. 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.

Notes:
◆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.
◆If you are running Windows Server 2019/2016/2012/2008/2003, you can apply AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.

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.

Apply

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.

Apply

Summary

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. So no matter you want to format 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 1TB or 2TB large drive with FAT32 file system, this freeware is a great choice.

What's more, if you want to unlock more advanced disk/partition management functions including recovering lost partition, extending NTFS system partition without reboot, cloning MBR disk to GPT or GPT disk to MBR, migrating only OS drive from MBR to GPT, GPT to MBR or GPT to GPT in Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista, you can upgrade to Professional edition.