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How-to format a disk to FAT32

4 Comments | This entry was posted on Apr 23 2009

When backing up my PS3 for repair I needed to plug in a external hard drive to back up the system. My PS3 is only 40 GB but even that is larger than any USB flash drive I have so I needed to pull out one of my USB hard drives for the backup. I started the the backup process and when it asked for a hard drive I plugged in my terabyte external hard drive but nothing happened. I soon found out that the PS3 will only read FAT32 formatted hard drives. I did not think this would be as much of a problem as it was.
First I tried the format tool built into Windows but I found out that Microsoft decided not to let any drive larger than 32 GB be formatted in FAT32 because…well because they suck and wanted everyone to move to NTFS. So I tried formatting from a command line with: format d: /fs:fat32But I got an error saying the drive is too large for FAT32. I know that isn’t true because FAT32 is technically able to format drives up to 2 terabytes. So I decided to try gparted in Linux. Of course gparted wouldn’t have any problems right? Well in gparted I only had the options for ext2, ext3, reiserfs, and unformatted. That’s a bummer. So how about from the terminal? I tried variations of mkfs and mkfs.vfat but I know there was something I was doing wrong because each time it would just give me a error.
Finally I found a way to do it! There is a program called Fat 32 Formatter. This is a command line program that works in Windows XP/2000/Vista and all you need to do is open a commend prompt and type in:fat32format.exe d: You need to replace d: with whatever your drive is currently mounted as. Once the process completes you have a fully formatted FAT32 drive for your PS3 backup needs. There is a mirror of the fat32format tool here just in case it is removed from online.
And yes this was far more complicated than it needed to be. If you have the commands for completing this task in OSX or Linux please leave them in the comments.