How to Format External Hard Drive to FAT3. Windows. Trying to format a large external USB or Firewire hard drive to the FAT3.
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Can’t do it? Only see an option for formatting the drive using the NTFS file format? Well if you answered yes any of those questions, then you’re at the right place. I was recently trying to format my 1 TB My. Book external hard drive in Windows XP to FAT3.
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NTFS format. Well because I needed to connect it to a NAS device and the NTFS permissions were causing the NAS not to be able to access the drive. Simple solution is to use FAT3. Though it’s sometimes useful to format a USB drive in NTFS format. Also, formatting a drive in FAT or FAT3. Mac, Linux, and older versions of Windows such as Windows 9. Unfortunately, Windows XP and Windows Server 2. FAT3. 2 if it’s less than 3.
GB! However, if you have a drive that is 1. TB or larger, you may still get an error saying “The volume is too big for FAT3.
In that case, you can use some 3rd party programs that will allow you to format an external hard drive with the larger size. Let’s go through the different methods. In case you are having problems getting your external hard drive to show up in Windows, read my article on how to change the drive letter for an external drive in Windows. Format in FAT3. 2 using Drive- Specific Tools. Before we get into using the command prompt and other third- party programs, it’s worth mentioning that some of the hard drive manufacturers have created their own tools for converting a drive which is larger than 3. GB to FAT3. 2. Here is a list: Seagate Disc. Wizard Western Digital FAT3.
Formatting Tool. Format External Hard Drive in FAT3. DOSOpen a command window by going to Start, then Run and typing in CMD. Now type in the following command at the prompt: format /FS: FAT3. X: Replace the letter X with the letter of your external hard drive in Windows. Windows will go ahead and begin formatting the drive in FAT3. There seems to also be an issue when using the command line besides the size limit problem. Namely, it can take forever to format the hard drive for some users.
Not sure why, but I’ve seen it enough times and it can be very frustrating to wait 5 hours and then have the whole format fail. If the format is taking longer than an hour, just cancel it and try one of the methods below first. Format in FAT3. 2 using Verbatim Smart. Disk FAT3. 2 Utility.
There is a free utility called Verbatim FAT3. Tool which will allow you to convert your hard drive to FAT3. I use to recommend a program called Swiss. Knife, which I mention below, but it’s no longer free and no one really needs to spend $1. NTFS to FAT3. 2. There are lots of other free tools and this Verbatim one is one of the better ones. Just download it, unzip it and run the tool.
It’s a standalone EXE file, so you don’t even have to install it on your system. Choose the drive you want to format, give it a Volume name and click Format Drive! It’s a painfully simple program to use and it works really well. If you don’t even want to bother with the command prompt, just download this free tool and use it. Format in FAT3. 2 using FAT3. Format. FAT3. 2Format is another free tool you can use to get the job done. Choose the drive, the allocation unit size, give the volume a label, choose whether you want to do a quick format or not and then click Start.
I would suggest not checking Quick Format so that way the entire drive is completely overwritten and you’re starting from scratch. I’ve tried this program and it was able to convert my 1.
TB hard drive to FAT3. It did take longer than Verbatim, but I didn’t choose Quick Format, which probably would have been faster. Format in FAT3. 2 using FAT3. Formatter. Another option is the FAT3. Formatter program from Tokiwa. Using this program, you can see the different partitions on the hard disk and format just one partition to FAT3.
It’s probably best not to have a mix of NTFS and FAT3. This program will allow you to do that. Format in FAT3. 2 using Swiss.
Knife. Swiss. Knife is a nifty little program that used to be free, but not anymore, which you can use to format many types of external drives such as USB, Firewire, PCMIA, SATA and SCSI. The link points to the CNET page, which still has the older free version you can download. You can also use it to create partitions on an external hard drive and it formats faster than Windows. With Swiss. Knife, you may run into an issue where after the conversion to FAT3. For example, if you format a 1. TB drive, you might perform the conversion and end up with only 5. MB of space. This can be fixed by first reformatting the drive in NTFS format by performing a quick format.
Once you format the entire drive using NTFS, make sure to view the available space in Explorer and that it matches the size of the hard drive. Once you do that, go ahead and use Swiss. Knife to perform the conversion to FAT3.
So next time you want to format a hard drive in FAT3. Windows only gives you an option for NTFS, make sure to follow one of the methods mentioned above.