By Teresa / Last Updated May 25, 2020

About 3DS SD card format

Nintendo 3DS or New Nintendo 3DS is great portable game console with stereoscopic 3D effects technology released by Nintendo in 2010. Nintendo stores its OS and user’s data on SD card, Micro SD card for New Nintendo 3DS/3DS XL and SD card for Nintendo 3DS/3DS XL. All SD cards that will be used with a Nintendo product should be pre-formatted to FAT32 since Nintendo products strictly adhere to the SD card standard. To sum up, Nintendo 3DS consoles need SD/SDHC/SDXC/Micro SD/Micro SDHC cards with FAT32 file system as that is the only format the 3DS recognizes.

3DS and SD card

Why format SD card for 3DS?

You may curious about the necessity of formatting SD card for Nintendo 3DS because it has already included SD card in. Surely it is, otherwise the OS will have no place to store. Nevertheless, the built-in SD card is too small to store all user’s games and files. In detail, Nintendo 3DS has 2 GB SD card included and New Nintendo 3DS (XL) only have 4 GB Micro SD card included. Formatting a new (micro) SD card for the 3DS to make it work well is an inevitable trend. Also, get a large capacity of SD card say 32GB and format it to FAT32 with 64KB clusters will improve the speed of photo taking and screen capturing. You may want to acknowledge how to upgrade 3DS SD card without losing data after formatting.

Another instance you might want to format SD card to 3DS is the 3DS console freeze up accidentally. Reformatting the SD card is a possible fix for that. Besides, if the SD card has been formatted to the other file system like NTFS already, you need to either reformat it to FAT32 or convert NTFS to FAT32 without losing data. From here we can see, the correct format for 3DS SD card is FAT32 file system. Now, get to know how to format SD card to FAT32 to fit 3DS game console.

How to format SD card for 3DS in Windows computer?

Before performing SD card formatting on a PC, you need to do some preparations.

  • An SD card. Specifically, New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL need Micro SD cards, Micro SDXC cards and Micro SDHC cards. Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 3DS XL need SD cards, SDHC cards and SDXC cards. Purchase the right SD card for your 3DS. Micro SD cards like SanDisk Extreme microSDHC is a good choice.

  • A size #0 crosshead screwdriver. In case you need to remove or installing the micro SD card from a New Nintendo 3DS (XL).

  • An adapter, if you want to format more than one SD card simultaneously.

  • A Windows OS based PC, such as Windows 10, 8, 8.1, 7, XP, Vista.

Following will introduce two ways on how to format SD card for 3DS, one is Windows built-in tool and the other is powerful third-party formatting software AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. When you cannot complete format with Windows built-in tool, give a shot to the formatting software.

Note: formatting will cause data loss. Please backup crucial files before you start.

Format 32GB SD card for 3DS using Diskpart

1. Insert the SD card to a PC via SD card adapter if need to. Make sure it is detected by Windows.

2. Press Windows key + R key to open Run. Type diskpart and click OK.

3. In Diskpart, type these commands in order:

  • list disk

  • select disk n (where n is the partition on your SD card)

  • clean

  • create partition primary

  • format fs=fat32 quick

  • exit

Diskpart Format FAT32

That method also applies to format SD card that is smaller than 32GB to FAT32. If it is bigger than 32GB, for example 64GB, you’ll get the error: The volume is too big for FAT32. In that case, you need to turn to professional formatting tool like aforementioned AOMEI Partition Assistant.

How to format 64GB SD card for 3DS in Windows?

AOMEI Partition Assistant supports configuring more parameters like cluster size during formatting. Download this software on a Windows OS based PC, and then have a try.

1. Connect the 64GB SD card to the computer. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant. Right click the partition on the SD card and select Format Partition. If it is a new SD card, right click the unallocated space.

Format 64GB SD Card For 3DS

2. In the popping up window, choose FAT32 file system for the SD card. Choose the desired cluster size if you want to.

FAT32 File System

3. Click on Apply on the toolbar to execute the operation.

Apply Formatting

Tips: if there are unallocated space behind partition on the SD card, you can choose “Resize Partition” to full use the space.

Formatting an SD card for New 3DS (XL) or normal 3DS (XL) is not hard work. Find the right SD card, right formatting tool and right method all things will work out fine. AOMEI Partition Assistant can not only format data partition but also can delete hard drive with system on. The latter task absolutely will be finished under Windows pre-OS mode. It is also great Transcend StoreJet format utility. You may use this software to solve other practical issues with its advanced features.