FAT vs FAT32 vs exFAT

  Furkin 11:32 14 Dec 2012

Hi all,

ASUS M5A + Phenom IIx2 + 4gb RAM + Win 7 (32) + NTFS

My Son came round yesterday with a 400gb external hdd. His game station (no idea) won't recognise the files and said to format. I lifted everything off it & tried to format it yesterday - via DOS (g: /fs:fat32).

It took all day - then it said there was no room (or similar).

Today, I've partitioned it to roughly 50/50% and am currently formatting 1 partition to FAT32 (I hope).

I never did understand the FAT /NTFS / FAT32 thing,,,, and never saw exFAT until yesterday.

What is the ultimate format for an external hdd of this size ?

If it doesn’t take this time, what am I doing wrong ?

I don't recall ever having to download a separate program to do this.

cheers guys

all the very best for the Season

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 12:00 14 Dec 2012

FAT32 or NTFS are what's usually used on windows machines

FAT 32.

Don't think you can go above 2TB partition Max file size 4Gb

FAT file systems are the default file system for removable media (with the exception of CDs and DVDs) and as such are commonly found on floppy disks, super-floppies, memory and flash memory cards or USB flash drives and are supported by most portable devices such as PDAs, digital cameras, camcorders, media players, or mobile phones.


is an incompatible file system, that was introduced with Windows Embedded CE 6.0

FATX is a file system designed for Microsoft's Xbox video game console hard disk drives and memory cards. not recognisable by windows.

NTFS (New Technology File System)

Improve performance, reliability, and disk space utilization, plus additional extensions, such as security access control lists (ACL) and file system journaling.

ext2 / ext3

The ext2 or second extended filesystem is a file system for the Linux kernel, until supplanted more recently by ext3, which is almost completely compatible with ext2 and is a journaling file system, ext2 is still a better filesystem of choice for flash-based storage media (such as SD cards, and USB flash drives), since its lack of a journal minimizes the number of writes, and flash devices have a limited number of write cycles.

Most PVRs and consoles don't recognise NTFS as they use a linux based op system and therefore use ext2 and can also see FAT32 on external drives.

  lotvic 12:11 14 Dec 2012

Strewth.... use Free EaseUS® Partition Master 9.1.1 Home Edition it won't take all day and the tutorial explanations are brilliant on their website. Free EasUS PM

AFAIK, Fat is the earliest invented file system and has limited file size, Fat32 is limited to 4GB for each file (about same as you can fit on a dvd, a film is about 4GB), exFat is what Linux uses I believe. NTFS is what Microsoft use. exFat and NTFS do not have a file size limit. Some Windows Op Sys's cannot format large drives to FAT32 and also are limited to what you can format them to.

Most but not all systems can recognise the different file systems and if they can't you get asked to format to one that they can.

  lotvic 12:13 14 Dec 2012

Fruit Bat /\0/\ says it better than me, we cross posted, I should have waited!

  Furkin 12:32 14 Dec 2012

Not to worry guys - you always come up with the goods.

It looks like FAT32 is the way to go - as long as his PS will read it in his case.

I've looked at that program, so if it fails this time, i'll give it a go.

cheers for now.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 12:51 14 Dec 2012
  Furkin 09:18 15 Dec 2012

Thanks again guys,

That program sorted it.

I took off the partitions and ran it. It took a few seconds & the drive is now FAT32.

I've put his stuff back onto it and waiting for him to collect, to try on the PS3. I can't see a problem now though.


Now - back to my own hdd problem. you may have replied to it before I went into the hospital, but I'll re-cap here as were are talking Formatting.

I've taken a drive out of an old machine (IBM DTTA-351010 - 10gb) & want to see whats on it. I have a USB 'adapter' to connect either SATA / PATA drives of either size. As far as I recall, I didn't get the same thing as I did on my Sons.

It seems that my NTFS machine recognised it as a drive, but didn't see anything on it. It just told me that it needs formatting - but I need to see whats on it before doing that.

I'm trying it again today, with the same program, but I don't think that will help,,,, until I actually want to format it.

I know it isn't empty, as it was the machine I used just before I got this one.

thanks again for your time.

  Furkin 09:22 15 Dec 2012

Its a pity we can't 'tick' more than one reply, as quite often, more than one answer is required.

As it is, I can't tick at all in IE9. I'll have to log on in via Firefox to carry that out !

Is that a problem with IE / PCA / Me ?

  lotvic 12:57 15 Dec 2012

Good luck with getting the old drive contents recognised, not sure I can help with that.

As for can't green tick more than one, I suppose you could click on the 'Like' symbol for any extra posts you want to acknowledge. You can also untick a green tick and change it to a different post should you ever want to.

  Furkin 01:05 16 Dec 2012

Thanks for the addition.

also got the 'old' drive sorted - well I say sorted. I can now read it on my own machine, but can't get it to boot up in its own machine. May try another post.

thanks for everything.

  bremner 13:35 16 Dec 2012

I have all my external drives formatted to exFAT as it allows large video files to be shared between Windows and Mac computers.

It is automatically compatable with new versions of Windows and will run on XP with a patch.

Patch http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=19364

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

The best of Gamescom 2019

Best free Photoshop brushes 2019

Apple TV streaming service: what, where, when and how much

Les meilleurs smartphones incassables (2019)