Can I format a 128GB flash drive to FAT32?

Quick Answer

Yes, it is possible to format a 128GB flash drive to FAT32, but it requires some extra steps compared to smaller flash drives. The default Windows formatter limits FAT32 partitions to 32GB, so to format a 128GB drive you need to use a third party tool that removes this limitation. Some options are guiformat, fat32format, Ridgecrop Consultants FAT32 Format Utility, or EaseUS Partition Master. With one of these tools you can successfully format a 128GB flash drive to FAT32.

Formatting Overview

Flash drives use a file system to organize the data storage on the drive and define how it interacts with devices and operating systems. The most common options are FAT32 and exFAT.

FAT32 is an older file system that has some limitations but provides the widest compatibility with devices. It supports individual file sizes up to 4GB and partition sizes technically up to 2TB (but Windows limits it to 32GB by default).

exFAT is a newer system without many of the FAT32 limitations. It supports much larger partition and file sizes. But it may not be compatible with some older or embedded devices.

For smaller flash drives up to 32GB, FAT32 is usually the best choice to ensure compatibility across many devices. But for larger drives you either need to use exFAT or find a way to format the large drive to FAT32 despite the Windows limitations.

Why Use FAT32 on Larger Drives?

Here are some reasons why you may want to use FAT32 instead of exFAT on a large 128GB flash drive:

– Wider device compatibility – Many older devices only support FAT32 and cannot read exFAT drives. Using FAT32 ensures the drive will work with TVs, game consoles, car audio systems, etc.

– Cross-platform file transfer – FAT32 works across Windows, Mac, Linux, game consoles, etc. making it great for transferring files between different devices and operating systems.

– Faster performance – The simple FAT32 file system allows for faster read/write times compared to exFAT. This makes it better for hosting programs or games that need fast loading.

– Built-in fault tolerance – The distributed file tables of FAT32 provide more resilience to corruption or crashes. A damaged section may disable a few files rather than risk larger failures.

So for maximum compatibility, speed, and reliability, FAT32 can be the better choice even on large flash drives. The tradeoff is you must deal with the 4GB file size limit.

Methods to Format Large Drives as FAT32

To format drives larger than 32GB as FAT32 in Windows, you need to use a third party formatting tool that removes the built-in size limit. Here are some options:


guiformat is a free FAT32 formatter for Windows that can format extremely large drives. It removes the 32GB size limit and can create FAT32 partitions up to 2TB in size.

To use it:
1. Download and install guiformat from
2. Connect your 128GB flash drive to the PC.
3. Launch guiformat.
4. Select your flash drive’s drive letter.
5. Choose FAT32 as the file system.
6. Adjust any other settings you want like cluster size.
7. Click Start to begin formatting the drive as FAT32.

This utility provides a simple way to get a large flash drive or hard drive formatted to FAT32 on Windows.


fat32format is another free command line tool that formats drives larger than 32GB with FAT32.

To use it:

1. Download fat32format from
2. Extract the files and open Command Prompt.
3. Navigate to the fat32format directory.
4. Type `fat32format x:` replacing x with your flash drive’s drive letter.
5. Press Enter and confirm to format the drive.

This will quickly format the 128GB or larger drive in FAT32 format.

Ridgecrop Consultants FAT32 Format Utility

This FAT32 formatter tool from Ridgecrop Consultants can format extremely large volumes up to 2TB in FAT32. It runs as a GUI app within Windows.

To use it:

1. Download the utility from
2. Install and launch the FAT32 Format Utility.
3. Under Drive, select your flash drive’s drive letter.
4. Under Format type, choose FAT32.
5. Click Start to begin formatting the drive.

The process will format the entire drive in FAT32 format regardless of its size.

EaseUS Partition Master

EaseUS Partition Master is a free partition manager for Windows that includes an option to format large drives as FAT32.

To use it:

1. Download and install EaseUS Partition Master.
2. Launch the program and select your flash drive partition.
3. Choose Format and pick FAT32 as the file system.
4. Adjust any other settings and click OK.

This will securely erase and format the 128GB flash drive in FAT32 format for better compatibility.


While Windows is limited to formatting FAT32 partitions smaller than 32GB, drive management tools like guiformat, fat32format, Ridgecrop Consultants FAT32 Format Utility, and EaseUS Partition Master can all format large 128GB or bigger flash drives in FAT32. This provides the wide compatibility and performance benefits of FAT32 while still utilizing the full capacity of large flash drives. Just download one of these free tools to easily convert a drive to FAT32 beyond the Windows limits. Then you can use your 128GB flash drive universally across devices and operating systems.

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