Part 3: Bonus Tips to Convert “FAT32” to NTFS on Mac and Linux 1. Convert “FAT32” to “exFAT” on Mac. You can easily convert a “FAT32” file system to “exFAT” using the “Disk Utility” option on Mac. Follow the below steps for the following: Step 1: Go to “Applications”-” Utilities” and launch “Disk Utility”. Being as a FREE NTFS to FAT32 Converter tool, Macrorit NTFS to FAT32 Converter, this system utility, is designed to safely and easily reach the conversion from NTFS to FAT32 even though it contains data. Format the External Drive to FAT32. This method is not very coinvent. Not at least for me.
- What are file systems?
- FAT32 vs NTFS: What's the difference?
- What's the best Windows USB format tool?
- Format USB to FAT32 & NTFS
- Convert FAT32 to NTFS without losing data
EaseUS Partition Master is your optimal choice to format the USB drive to FAT32 or NTFS in Windows 10/8/7:
As a tiny, portable and somewhat capacious removable storage media, the USB flash drive, thumb drive or USB stick seems to be seen everywhere among modern computer users. What are the purposes of owning a flash drive? In general, we use a USB drive mainly for transferring files across operating systems and different devices, or making a bootable USB drive for booting up a failed or crashed computer.
In order to make full use of a USB drive's capacity and performance, it's essential to format it with an appropriate, compatible and efficient file system. Do you know what is the best file system for a USB drive? Should you choose FAT32 or NTFS while formatting the USB flash drive? Here we will explain reasons and give answers to whether you should format USB drive to FAT32 or NTFS with the best USB format tool.
What are file systems?
A file system can be interpreted as an index or database containing physical location of every piece of data on a storage drive. The structure and logic rules used to manage the groups of data and their names is called a file system.
A Windows computer, Mac, smartphone, Xbox and any place that stores data must adopt particular kinds of file systems to read, write, store and organize data on various storage media, including a flash drive, memory card, pen drive, hard drive, HDD or SSD. In simple terms, without a matched file system, the media will be totally useless as it cannot be recognized at all by your certain device.
There are many different kinds of file systems. Each one has different structure and logic, properties of speed, flexibility, security, size, etc. Following examples are the most commonly acknowledged and used file systems on popular operating systems.
Don't miss: completely free FAT32 & NTFS formatter for USB
NTFS: (NT File System) It's the default file system for all Windows versions.
HFS+: (Hierarchical File System) It's the default file system for macOS versions.
APFS: (Proprietary Apple File System) It's developed as a replacement for HFS+ since the release of iOS 10.3 and macOS 10.13.
FAT32: (File Allocation Table 32) It's an older standard Windows file system before NTFS.
exFAT: (extended File Allocation Table) It's developed based on FAT32 and offers a lightweight system without all the overhead of NTFS.
EXT2, 3 & 4: (Extend File System) It's initially created specifically for Linux.
FAT32 vs. NTFS: What's the difference?
Now you should have a basic understanding of a variety of file systems in prevalence. When it comes to the final selection for a USB flash drive between FAT32 or NTFS, which one will you choose?
Following is an overall explanation of each.
FAT32 is compatible with all operating systems since it's a simple file system and has been around for a really long time. In contrast, NTFS is more robust and effective than FAT as it adopts advanced data structures to improve reliability, disk space utilization and overall performance. The application of NTFS has grown but FAT32 is still more universal.
What's more, FAT32 can be converted to NTFS but it's getting hard to convert NTFS back to FAT, due to the facts that NTFS has great security, file by file compression, quotas and file encryption.
Don't miss: completely free FAT32 & NTFS formatter for USB
FAT32 or NTFS? Which one should you choose?
If you're looking to decide which file system to use when formatting a USB drive, most of all, you should consider two of the most important aspects: portability and file size limits when made your own decision.
As you can judge from the comparison table, FAT32 is almost supported by all operating systems, only to notice that it cannot transfer or store a single file larger than 4GB & max partition size should be under 2TB in size. However, NTFS seems to have no limit in dealing with extremely large files and partition sizes.
In one word, it's a good idea to choose your own format like this:
If you'd like to use the USB on older computers, or non-PC systems like digital picture frames, TV sets, printers or projectors, choose FAT32 because it is universally supported; In addition, if you're using multiple different operating systems in one same computer, FAT32 is also a nice choice.
While if you're using the USB drive as a Windows computer backup drive, to store high-definition videos, movies, pictures and any other large files, at the same time, asking for a high security, choose NTFS.
What's the best USB format tool?
Once made your own decision as above guided, it's time to format your USB drive a desired file system. No matter it's a newly bought flash drive or a used one, you can directly use a capable USB format tool to format the USB drive to FAT32 or NTFS.
As a matter of fact, in Windows OS for example, there are many accessible ways for users to format a disk. The most familiar ones are Windows File Explorer, Windows Disk Management and Windows Command Prompt. Here we introduce none of them. Instead, we show you a third-party Windows USB format program - EaseUS Partition Master Free, which will greatly ease your worry of encountering the problem of 'Format option is greyed out', 'Windows cannot complete the format', etc. What's more, the third-party software is free, user-friendly, powerful and be able to convert FAT32 to NTFS without losing data, which the aforementioned programs cannot handle that.
Guide: format USB to FAT 32 & NTFS
Step 1: Select the USB drive to format.
Connect the USB drive or pen drive to your computer. Download and launch EaseUS partition software. Right-click the USB drive you intend to format and choose 'Format'.
Step 2: Set the drive letter and file system.
Assign a new partition label, file system (NTFS/FAT32/EXT2/EXT3), and cluster size to the selected partition, then click 'OK'.
Step 3: Check the warning box.
Click 'OK' if you see the Warning window. If you have important data on it, back up the data in advance.
Step 4: Apply the changes.
Click the 'Execute operation' button first, and then click 'Apply' to format the USB drive.
Guide: convert FAT32 to NTFS without losing data
Step 1: Install and launch EaseUS Partition Master on your computer.
Step 2: Select a FAT32 partition, right-click on it and select 'Convert to NTFS'. If you need to convert a storage device such as SD card or USB flash drive to NTFS, insert it into your PC first and repeat the previous operation.
Step 3: Click 'OK' on the pop-up dialog box to continue.
Step 4: Go to the upper left corner, click the 'Execute 1 Operation' button and you will see the operation details. Click 'Apply' and 'Finish' when the process completes.
USB drives are extremely convenient to use for carrying data around. They come in various capacity options, and easy to slip into your pocket or handbag, and they're far more durable than physical disks such as CDs, DVDs, and BDs. The only challenge with USB drives, however, is to know what file system to use when formatting them. This is especially important when holding big files or making bootable install disk.
The three most popular ones for formatting a USB drive are FAT32, NTFS, and exFAT, all of which are compatible with Windows-based computers as well as other devices. Let's look at each of these in detail and then get into how to format your USB drive with the appropriate file system on a Windows 10 PC.
File Allocation Table 32, shortened to FAT32, was introduced with Windows 95 and is one of the oldest of the Windows file systems in use today. It is also the most widely used file system in the world because of its compatibility with multiple devices like smart TVs and media players.
However, it has one limitation in that you can't store file sizes that are larger than 4GB. That's a hard limit so even if you have a file like a Windows 10 ISO that's about 4.1GB, you can't store it on a USB drive that has been formatted with the FAT32 file system. This file system is generally recommended if you need to use the USB drive with different types of hardware because of its wide compatibility.
NTFS is a Microsoft format that debuted with Windows NT, but it was only made available in consumer versions of Windows since Windows XP. The NT File system is the default one that your hard drive is formatted with when you install Windows. It offers several features that are neither found in FAT32 or exFAT, such as a change journal for recovery after errors or crashes, security using file permissions, encryption support, and more.
The biggest advantage is that the partition and file size limits are extremely high, which is the major difference between FAT32 and NTFS. The ideal use for these is for cloning system drives and other large chunks of data. It is compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux, but doesn't work with the majority of other hardware devices.
exFAT, Extended File Allocation Table File System can be considered an upgrade to the conventional FAT32 format because it has higher size limits and is more lightweight. Incidentally, a larger number of hardware devices can be used with USB drives that are formatted with exFAT than with NTFS, making it a good alternative to FAT32. As such, if compatibility with other devices is a concern, it's a better option than NTFS.
Now that we have an overview of the basic differences between the three file systems, let's learn how to go about formatting a USB drive with one of them.
Format USB to FAT32/NTFS/exFAT in Windows 10 or Windows 7
Mac Read Ntfs
The process is fairly simple and only involves a couple of clicks and menu option selections, but you will need to make sure that all the data on the drive is backed up before formatting it. By definition, formatting a drive erases all data on that drive, so be sure to back up any data that's already on the USB drive.
Once you have secured your data, follow the steps shown below to format your USB drive in Windows 10:
Step 1: Insert your USB drive into your Windows PC and open File Explorer.
Ntfs Fat32 For Mac Iso
Step 2: Right-click on the drive and select Format… from the contextual menu. A small window will pop up.
Step 3: Depending on what the purpose of the USB drive is, choose the appropriate file system. For greater compatibility, FAT32 is best, but if you want to put large media files, then exFAT is preferred. NTFS is great if you're only using the drive on other Windows systems. Your purpose of use should be the main deciding factor when picking a file system, considering each one's limitations on size limits vs. compatibility.
Step 4: Set the other parameters like Quick Format. When the box is not ticked, it will check for bad sectors, which is a good idea if your drive was corrupted before formatting.
Step 5: Click on Start, and your USB drive will be formatted to the file system that you selected in Step 3. Once you see 'Format Complete' on your screen, you can eject the drive and remove it from the computer. It is now ready to use.
How to Format USB to FAT32/exFAT on Mac
Creating Windows 10 bootable USB on Mac is a common task for people who have multiple computers at home. You have to format the drive to exFAT or FAT32 if the burning process failed due to the wrong partition scheme. The good news is that formatting USB on Mac is also as easy as on Windows 10.
Step 1: Insert the target USB drive into Mac and you should see the drive name on Finder sidebar.
Step 2: Find and open Disk Utility from Launchpad.
Step 3: Click on the USB drive name in Disk Utility app and click 'Restore' button displayed on the top menu. At this time, a couple of formatting options available. There are: Mac OS Extended, MS-DOS(FAT) and ExFAT.
Step 4: Select one of the format from drop-down menu and click 'Erase' to start formatting USB to FAT or ExFAT on Mac.
This is the easiest way to format your USB drive in Windows 10 or Mac. Alternatively, you can also use the DISKPART command line utility in Windows CMD to do this, but it requires some level of technical knowledge and is not generally recommended for new or inexperienced users.