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I formatted my Seagate 500gb Free Agent to FAT32 but I must have done something wrong because now it claims that I only have a maximum capacity of 31.9GB instead ...
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  1. #1
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    Formatting an external HDD to FAT32. Help please


    I formatted my Seagate 500gb Free Agent to FAT32 but I must have done something wrong because now it claims that I only have a maximum capacity of 31.9GB instead of the original 500GB. I thought it was possible to convert to FAT32while maintaining the 500gb.

    Can anyone please help me around this?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
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    It's been a while but as far as I remember FAT32 can only go up to 32GB, so you may need multiple partitions
    "I used to be with it, then they changed what it was.
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    You're right about the 32gb, but I didn't know about the multiple partitions. Any idea how to do that?

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    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aramis12 View Post
    You're right about the 32gb, but I didn't know about the multiple partitions. Any idea how to do that?
    You can use a GUI tool called gparted to manage partitions. In Ubuntu you install it through Synaptic and it will appear under adminstration.

    A word of warning though, mess with the wrong disk and you lose everything...
    "I used to be with it, then they changed what it was.
    Now what was it isn't it, and what is it is weird and scary to me.
    It'll happen to you too."

    Grandpa Simpson



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  6. #5
    Linux Guru D-cat's Avatar
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    Actually, that's a Windows 2000 limitation; it can mount but not format a FAT32 partition above 32GB. I have 200GB FAT32 partitions on my server (which I will convert when I find a suitable re. affordable backup solution). Linux and XP shouldn't give a rat's patutie. With available cluster sizes up to 32KB, a FAT32 file system can be up to approx. 8 TB.

    You can use gParted to set the size and format. Else you can learn the tools fdisk and mkfs.vfat (mkdosfs). You should be able to make it work.

    ref: Limitations of FAT32 File System

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    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
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    Shows how long it is since I used FAT32
    "I used to be with it, then they changed what it was.
    Now what was it isn't it, and what is it is weird and scary to me.
    It'll happen to you too."

    Grandpa Simpson



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  8. #7
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Why not use NTFS? You can read/write/format it from either Windoze or Linux.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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    Linux Guru D-cat's Avatar
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    Well, if he still has Win9x clients, then he's limited to FAT32 and a max partition size of 127 GB. Some experimental OS's (like ReactOS) only support Fat32 for the time being. For an external device, Fat32 is much faster than NTFS because of the lack of journaling, permissions, and other extra metadata.

    It's also more vulnerable to data integrity loss if the USB adapter hiccups (I'm still sorting out chk files from over a year ago because of that), so that's a tradeoff. Plus one should consider that FAT32 has a 4GB file size limit, so it's not suitable for storing large files like DVD images (e.g. some modern Linux distros).

    Those are the pros and cons Aramis12 has to weigh out and decide what he wants to use and how to implement.

    Honestly he could theoretically use ext2 and set up an ext2fsd on any Windows clients, but I don't know how windows would react to that on an external drive. Probably best to use NTFS if possible, but I'm not the one making that decision.

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    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    D-Cat makes some excellent points. Windoze's lack of support for any non-MS file system is regretful, but unlikely to change in our lifetimes! At least Linux doesn't have that liability... Anyway, use NTFS if you can, otherwise use FAT-32 and beware the occasional "oops" when you trip over the USB cable!
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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