By Lucas / Last Updated August 2, 2022

Can I reformat NTFS/exFAT to FAT32?

“I want to reformat my 500GB drive from NTFS to FAT32 so I can use it on my Mac as well. But when you do it in Disk Management, there is no FAT32 option under file system menu for selection. Why and how can I reformt this drive to FAT32 successfully?”

FAT32, NTFS, and exFAT are the most ordinary file systems in Windows computers. Before you try to change exFAT or NTFS to FAT32, you’d better have some basic knowledge of them.

▶  FAT32

The FAT32 file system, often known as the File Allocation Table file system, was developed by Microsoft in 1977. FAT32 is a legacy file system that is less efficient and sophisticated than NTFS, but it is more compatible with other operating systems and portable storage devices.
It can work with all versions of Windows, Mac, Linux, game consoles, and practically anything with a USB port. However, it cannot support partitions bigger than 2 TB and a single file over 4 GB.

▶ NTFS

Compared to FAT32, the NTFS file system has an overwhelming advantage in data security, data consistency, the speed of reading and writing, and retrieval. It can support volumes as large as 256TB, and its file size support tops out at 16 EiB.
But its compatibility is not so good: works with all versions of Windows, but read-only with Mac by default.

▶exFAT

To balance the size and compatibility, Microsoft created exFAT, a file system intended for flash media such as USB flash drives and SD cards, in 2006. It can be used when NTFS is not a viable solution but a larger file-size limit is necessary. The SD Association has made exFAT the default file system for SDXC cards greater than 32 GB.
This file system works with all versions of Windows and modern versions of macOS, but requires additional software on Linux. The PS5 and PS4 support exFAT; the PlayStation 3 does not. The Xbox Series X, S, and One support it, but the Xbox 360 does not.
In all, If you need a bigger file size and partition limit than FAT32, and better compatibility like NTFS, the exFAT is a great choice. And this file system is generally ideal for flash drives.

Why reformat to FAT32 from NTFS or exFAT?

After knowing the differences between FAT32, NTFS, and exFAT, you might understand why users need to convert one to another type. In a nutshell, you have to format the partition to FAT32 as long as the device does not support NTFS or exFAT and recognizes FAT32 only. For instance, you cannot play games on PS3 when it is formatted with NTFS.

How to reformat hard drive to FAT32 in Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7?

Well, what are the best methods of reformatting FAT32? Actually, you have two options to realize the goal: Windows inbuilt tools and 3rd party partition software. Choose one based on your needs.

Note: Backup files you care about most before you start since formatting will erase everything on the drive.

1. Reformat drive (less than 32GB) to FAT32 via inbuilt tools

The Windows itself provides Disk Management or DiskPart to help users to manage their hard disk partitions, including formatting a drive. Open Disk Management, right-click the drive you want to format, and select “Format”. Then select “FAT32” from the drop-down menu. Tick the box in front of “Quick Format”, and then click “OK”.

Format Partition To Fat32 Dm

You can also achieve the same goal using Diskpart in CMD. Press the “Win+R” key to open the Run box. Then type in “diskpart” and press Enter to open the diskpart.exe window. Input the following commands in order and each command is followed by hitting on "Enter".

· list volume
· select volume X (X is the partition on the USB drive)
· format fs=fat32 quick
· exit

Format Volume To Fat32

Both tools can help reformat a partition to FAT32 in Windows. But you should know that they won’t allow users to format a partition bigger than 32GB to FAT32. If the drive is over 32GB, you don’t find the FAT32 option in Disk Management (like the user case in the first section), and you will receive an error message “The volume size is too big” in the DiskPart command window.

2. Reformat 32GB+ drive to FAT32 via free partition manager

To get around the limitation of Windows Disk Management and DiskPart formatting feature, you can use the free AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. It can format 2TB hard drive to FAT32 at most. Three easy steps can make it done. Free download it and have a try.

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step1. Install and launch it. Right-click the drive and select “Format Partition”(F:, NTFS)

Format Partitoin

Step2. Type in partition label if necessary and select “FAT32”.

Fat32 128gb Usb

Step 3. The file system of drive is FAT32 now. Click “Apply” to execute this operation.

Apply

With the easy-to-use and neat interface, you can reformat to FAT32 in three steps and with no worry about size problems. Besides, if the drive you need to reformat it using the NTFS file system now, you can also try the NTFS to FAT32 Converter (free) feature of AOMEI Partition Assistant. This function can directly convert NTFS to FAT32, or FAT32 to NTFS without formatting or damaging inside data.

Ntfs To Fat32

Summary

Now, you can make a choice to reformat the hard drive to FAT32 from NTFS or exFAT according to your requirements. Simultaneously, AOMEI Partition Assistant is embedded with many helpful utilities, such as Resize/Move and Clone Disk/Partition.

To enjoy more advanced features like moving folders and installed programs, converting the disk to MBR/GPT without data loss, extending the C drive, etc, please upgrade to Professional.