PS3: HowTo: Format FAT32 on a Drive Larger than 32Gb

Large hard drives, larger than 32Gb, are common today. In fact it is pretty difficult these days, if not near impossible, to get a drive smaller than 200Gb new.

To be able to use a drive (and we are talking about a Windows system here) one has to create a partition on it (ie. you define how big the usable space should be) and then you format it with a File System – NTFS or FAT32.

FAT32 is not secure compared to NTFS. It has a file size limit of 4Gb. Cannot format drives larger than 32Gb. Does not natively support compression or encryption, and the list goes on and on

NTFS on the otherhand is secure, you can define permissions down to file and folder level. Can create files larger than 4Gb. Can create and format a partition up to 2Tb. Supports Compression, Quota’s and Encyption from the word go…that is why most people format their drives these days NTFS.

So if FAT32 is so “bad” compared to NTFS why would one want to format a drive these days with it, especially drives larger than 32GB?

Well the short answer to that question is compatibility with non-Microsoft operating systems – most if not all can read and write to FAT32, but may not necessarily be able to access NTFS volumes.

If you want to plug an external hard drive into the Playstation 3 then the drive must be formatted with FAT32 and not NTFS.  The PS3 cannot read NTFS.

OK so you have a 500Gb external hard drive that you want to put photos, music and videos on so that you can look and listen to on the PS3…Windows only allows you to format up to 32Gb…Problem…

About 2 years ago I faced this problem and after some searching I found a website called Ridgecorp Consultants. There the chappy had coded and app that would allow one to format any size hard drive with FAT32.  I was skeptical at first.  If Microsoft could not do it how could this dude get it right?  But I gave it a try and I was very impressed with the results!

The app is called “fat32format” and when I first found the app it was only command line driven.  He has now also released a GUI frontend of it.

To quote the website the process is as easy as:

Click Start menu, select Run and enter diskmgmt.msc

If it asks you to initialise the disk, make sure you select a Basic disk, as opposed to a Dynamic.
There’s a guide on Disk Management here You need to find the disk with unallocated space. Right click on it and select “New Partition” and follow these steps, clicking “Next” to get move on at each stage.

1. Partition Wizard starts, just click next to move on
2. Select Primary Partition.
3. Enter the maximum size for the Partition Size
4. Choose assign a drive letter. I used F:
5. Select “Do not Format this partition”

There will be a dialog box, summarising all the previous stuff. Click Finish

Now you have a drive letter, this is what we will pass to the formatter

Now download a copy of fat32format. Extract the single EXE file to somewhere suitable, like C:\.

Click Start->Run and enter

When the command prompt opens, type this – C:\ is the place you extracted the exe file to. Note if this sort of command line stuff makes your head hurt, you should probably give this a try instead
CD /D C:\

press enter and then type this. You need to replace f: with the drive letter you are trying to format.
fat32format f:

You should see this displayed
Warning ALL data on drive ‘f’ will be lost irretrievably, are you sure (y/n)

Now when it says this, it really means it. If you format the boot sector, FATs and root directory will be filled with zeros. By typing pressing Y and hitting return, you’re also absolving me of liability for whatever was on the disk before.

Or you could follow up to step 5 above and then use the fat32format GUI to format the drive.

Anyway this is great app to have if you need to use an external drive on your Playstation 3…

MadMike posted at 2011-1-12 Category: Playstation, Tips

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