How to Format External Hard Drive to FAT 32 on Windows 10, 8, 7

Out of compatibility, you may need to format external hard drive to FAT32. Here introduces two utilities to format external hard drive to FAT32 easily and quickly..


By Cherry / Updated on May 12, 2023

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“I go a 500GB external hard dive for using under Windows 1 & Mac computer. Then, I try to format it to FAT32 on Windows 10. However, there is no FAT32 option when I try to format the HDD to FAT32 on Windows Explorer. How do I format my external hard drive to FAT32? Thanks a lot!”

Why format external hard drive to FAT32?

Actually, different operating system supports different file system. If you have a NTFS hard drive, you can only use it on an operating system like Windows 10/8/7. If you plug the NTFS hard drive to a Mac, it won’t be recognized. FAT 32 is a file system used wider than NTFS. Both Windows operating system and Mac operating system would recognize it, and many game machines are using FAT 32 like PS3, PS4, Xbox, Xbox 360, etc. If you want to use the external hard drive on those OSes, or if you want to solve this kind of problem that PS3 cannot read NTFS USB drive, you must format the external hard drive to FAT 32.

Two utilities to format external hard drive to FAT32 on Windows 10

Two effective & easy ways about how to format external HDD or SSD o Windows 10 will be presented below. You can select the one based on your own situation.

✔ 1. Format external hard drive larger than 32GB using a third-party GUI tool

Windows 10 built-in tools won’t allow you to format a drive larger than 32GB to FAT32. Thus, when you need to format an exernal hard drive over 32GB, like 64GB, 500GB external hard drive, a powerful partition management software, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is recommended. Apart from formatting large external drive (HDD, SSD, USB flash drive and SD card) to FAT32, it can complete various tasks, including converting NTFS to FAT32 without losing data. It is with a concise interface.

Now, free download it and see how it works:

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Step 1. Connect your external hard drive to your computer and make sure it can be detected by Windows Explorer. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant. To format external hard drive, here you need to select the external hard drive, right-click it, select Format Partition.

Format 500GB External Hard Drive to FAT32

Step 2.Here will pop out a window, select FAT 32 at the File System menu. Click OK.


Step 3. You will back to the main interface and you have already format the external hard drive to FAT 32. Click Apply and it will execute the task.



● This operation will erase the data on the external hard drive. So you’d better backup the data no the external hard drive before formatting.

● AOMEI Partition Assistant provides you convert NTFS to FAT 32 without losing data.

AOMEI Partition Assistant is such a great powerful disk manager. Besides format partition, you can also use it to initialize disk, wipe hard drive, wipe partition, and many more.

✔ 2. Format external hard drive to FAT32 using Command Prompt

When the external drive is not larger than 32GB, you can format it to FAT32 using Command Prompt on Windows 10.  Here are the detailed steps:

Step1. Press “Win+R”, type “cmd” in the search box. It will display the command prompt.

Step2. Input the syntax “format /FS:FAT32 F:” at the prompt. F is the drive letter of your external hard drive in your Windows 10.

Step3. Hit Enter, it will run the task.

Cherry · Staff Editor
Cherry is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore, hard disk & partitions management, cloud files transfer, website & database backup and so on for AOMEI. She enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, cooking, reading and so on. She takes most of time with her family when she is not working.