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Format SD Card FAT32


  1. ChrisW123

    ChrisW123 New Member

    Hi Everyone,

    First off, like to say hi to everyone. This is my first post here. I just recently purchased a Samsung Galaxy S3 a couple weeks ago. Never had a smart phone (just an iPod Touch) and figured I would buy the new iPhone 5, but did a little research first on Andriod and I'm glad I did. Andriod and the S3 rock big time. So much more power and flexibility. :)

    Anyway I do have a question:

    I bought a "Class 10" 32g sd card for my phone and made the mistake of doing a phone format (Generic hierarchical). I didn't realize the card was already formatted with FAT32. :(

    So I tried to reformat the card (in the phone) from Win7 but there is no option to format with FAT32. It always formats Generic hierarchical. Does anyone know why I can't format FAT32? Do I need to buy a card reader in order to do this?? Or is there Win7 software that will give me the option?

    Thanks! -Chris.

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  2. SamuraiBigEd

    SamuraiBigEd Under paid Sasquatch! Moderator

    Windows no longer uses FAT32, is there a particular reason you want to format FAT32?

    It is always wise to format in the device you are going to use a memory card, not the computer you are going to read it from.
    ChrisW123 likes this.
  3. ChrisW123

    ChrisW123 New Member

    Well Windows 7 uses NTFS but of course it and probably all future versions of Windows will always support FAT32.

    FAT32 is supported by any smartphone worth it's salt, and it is much faster than the file system (Generic hierarchical) that the S3 wants to use (and formats cards with). I get 10-12mb/s with FAT32 and with Generic hierarchical file transfer was hellishly slow. I'm assuming FAT32 is also much more efficient at storing files, reading/writing, etc. also.

    But anyway, I figured out that samsung usb drivers probably do not support FAT32 for some dumb reason so that's why I can't format it in FAT32 when the chip is in the phone and connected by USB to my workstation. So I bought a cheap sd card reader and that did the trick. Just finished testing the card in my phone and everything is golden now. :)

    Thanks for the reply!

    -Chris.
    Speed Daemon likes this.
  4. MacFett

    MacFett Well-Known Member

    EarlyMon and ChrisW123 like this.
  5. ChrisW123

    ChrisW123 New Member

    Thanks Mac, I'll check that out...
  6. SamuraiBigEd

    SamuraiBigEd Under paid Sasquatch! Moderator

    Cool, glad you got it worked out. Must be a Samsung thing, my HTC's have never had a speed problem transferring files, maybe they format FAT32?
  7. Rolo42

    Rolo42 Well-Known Member

    Windows still uses FAT32 for removable storage; NTFS is far too inefficient for that and lacks compatibility with other devices.

    You won't be able to format your SD card from Windows with it still in the phone (if I understood what you were trying to do correctly). Instead, remove the SD card from the phone and plug it into the PC directly and format it FAT32.
  8. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon Moderator

    FAT32 for SDHC is from the sd card standard. It's mounted vfat to deal with long file names.
    SamuraiBigEd likes this.
  9. Speed Daemon

    Speed Daemon Disabled

    That's not quite true.

    First off, NTFS is just as efficient as FAT (and sometimes more efficient) when used on partitions 400MiB or larger. Also, There are NTFS drivers available for the most popular non-Windows operating systems.

    When it comes to removable storage, Windows will still format floppy disks using FAT12. Earlier versions of Windows that don't offer exFAT can format a partition as FAT16 (provided the partition is <4GiB), FAT32 or NTFS, provided the partition is the right size.

    It has nothing to do with the storage media being removable.
    SamuraiBigEd likes this.
  10. Speed Daemon

    Speed Daemon Disabled

    Note that the vfat driver is always used to access FAT filesystems. The old msdos driver is deprecated.

    Also note that most flash storage cards can be formatted with other filesystems. Since Android uses the ext4 filesystem, you could prepare a SD card with a Linux (0x83) partition that's formatted ext4.
    SamuraiBigEd and EarlyMon like this.
  11. Rolo42

    Rolo42 Well-Known Member

    I didn't say it had anything to do with being removable, only that Windows, by default, formats removable media as FAT for compatibility/portability. Having to install drivers on a target doesn't make it very portable, especially when users cannot install drivers.

    exFAT is licensed by Microsoft and that will hinder its wide-spread use.

    NTFS has more overhead on smaller volumes (<8GB); NTFS is more efficient on larger ones. (cf. NTFS vs. FAT32)
  12. saptech

    saptech Well-Known Member

    This would be a very good way for me to format, since I use linux on my desktop, but using it at work would be a killer, since the job is using Windows machines.

    I guess I could buy an extra sd card and format it with the ext4 format. I'll give it a try one day!

    What I don't understand is why android is not supporting NTFS out the box.

    Thnx.
  13. argedion

    argedion The TechnoFrog VIP Member

    NTFS is not recommended for anything under 32gig. Most OEM's support up to a 32 gig SDCARD (Yes I know many can support 64 gig) I remember back in college learning XP this was a standard that was set that anything 32gig and under was to be vfat and anything over should be ntfs. I suspect it has to do more with the amount of space needed for the permissions and since vfat does not support them it was best for smaller disk. As far as why android doesn't support NTFS I would imagine because nfts is proprietary that Google wanted to stay away from any Lawsuits that could stem from it.
    Crashdamage likes this.
  14. Speed Daemon

    Speed Daemon Disabled

    Yes, interoperability is one problem. At one time there were ext drivers for Windows and NTFS drivers for Linux. It's a shame, but it looks like all ext drivers for Windows have been unmaintained for a long time now. OTOH both FOSS and commercial NTFS drivers for Linux are doing well.

    Why isn't NTFS support included with Android by default? Probably because there's not much call for it, and it takes up what can be a lot of space on less expensive Android devices.

    As Android becomes more popular and is used on more full-featured devices (one of mine has a USB port that I can plug a USB HD into), and storage capacity grows beyond the capabilities of FAT32, Android vendors will need to decide what other filesystem support to add. NTFS-3G is already mature and free, while exFAT is proprietary to Microsoft, which means that they must license exFAT support.

    What would be ideal is for Android OEMS to get together and choose a FOSS filesystem like ext2,3,4 and work together to provide Windows and OSX support. I'm not holding my breath on that, though... ;)
    argedion likes this.
  15. Speed Daemon

    Speed Daemon Disabled

    Just now I took a 500MB Seagate "pocket" USB-powered mechanical HDD, formatted it with a single NTFS partition under Windows 7, and then plugged it into my ASUS Transformer Infinity TF700T tablet/netbook. Everything is bone stock; no root kits, no special anything. The big USB drive auto-mounted and showed me files. It's just a basic test, but it shows that at least one Android device can deal with:

    1. USB hard disks with more capacity than any SD card.
    2. Windows partitions including exFAT and NTFS.
    3. Auto recognition and auto mounting of all the above.
    This is good news because it shows that at least some Android devices come right out of the box with the ability to use media that's thought of as "computer peripherals".

    Even if you don't have a Type A USB port on your Android device, you might not be as limited as you once thought.
  16. Satires

    Satires Well-Known Member

    I got a 1tb hard drive to mount with my bionic webtop. I'm glad I have ubuntu running on my home computer, linux was able to format the drive to "Fat".
  17. saywat?

    saywat? Well-Known Member

    there are free programs out there that will format to fat32
  18. jbird2383

    jbird2383 New Member

    You wanna format the card with the right file system that the Operating system the phone uses for example Android that your gonna use the card with. I don't know what file system exactly Android uses but its a linux FAT version file system and FAT is pretty what everyone uses. Win2k and up use NTFS but NTFS is backwards compatible with FAT and also win 2k xp vist 7 and 8 can perform fuctions like format and read FAT U can just use win xp vista or win 7 or 8 to format the card just plug in the card to your home pc once the card is recognized it will auto install in windowds you do need a memory card reader. Once it is installed goto my computer and it will be assigned a letter> highlight > right click>format> then from new window under" file system" select FAT32>Start. Done.
  19. jbird2383

    jbird2383 New Member

    NTFS New Technology File System I think it was invented by microsoft to adapt new 32 bit apps and data
    FAT File Allocation Table. Don't know who came up with it but its whats been used since the Dos win 95 98 mellenium 16 bit 8 bit days.

    I believe to hold to me but there might be a 2 gig transfer limit with FAT anything higher can lead to data corruption I believe its been awile but I remember reading that somewhere
  20. Speed Daemon

    Speed Daemon Disabled

    Looks like there's a need to set some misconceptions straight.


    1. Android runs on the Linux OS/kernel. The native Linux filesystem is the ext2 filesystem (the original ext filesystem and the Minix filesystem are deprecated for Linux, although the Minix filesystem is still supported.) and improved versions like ext3 and ext4. That does NOT mean that using an ext? filesystem with Android is necessary, or even desirable.
    2. FOSS drivers support the FAT12, FAT16 and FAT32 filesystems, with long filename support when it's possible. The NTFS-3G driver provides full NTFS support, including ACLs and journaling in Linux/Android. Microsoft charges license fees to use its exFAT filesystem, and IME quite a few Android device manufacturers are licensing exFAT for use on their products.
    3. SD cards up to and including 32GiB capacities typically come formatted for FAT32. The largest file size that FAT32 supports is 4GiB, so you may not be able to save a MPEG2 encoded movie on many SD cards as formatted. This can be overcome by formatting the card with the exFAT, NTFS or one of the several other filesystems that Linux supports, and which don't have the 4GiB file size limit. My advice: use what's most convenient for you.
    4. SD cards of 64GiB capacity and above typically come formatted with the exFAT filesystem. This should be fine for most people.

    FYI the NT filesystem (NTFS) was developed for Windows NT around 1990. Like Windows NT and its descendents using other names, NTFS' origins come from Digital Equipment Corporation and the VMS operating system. The predecessor of NTFS was Files-11. NTFS is NOT compatible with FAT or vice versa. They're totally separate structures. NTFS was 64-bit from the start, which has absolutely nothing to do with the "bitness" of applications programs. NTFS first appeared on the first Windows NT release: Windows NT 3.1. (There are no previous versions; the 3.1 designation was to align Windows NT version numbering with Windows on DOS versions.) Thanks to NTFS-3G, NTFS is a viable alternative to the various FAT filesystems hen moving files between Windows and Linux/Android systems. Note that not all Android installations come with the same set of drivers, so it's always wise to check first.
  21. argedion

    argedion The TechnoFrog VIP Member

  22. NYCHitman1

    NYCHitman1 Gun for Hire Developer

    You could always mount the sd card w/ an adapter and do it via cmd.

    Run as admin from sys32 > diskpart > list disk > select disk x (number of the device going to format) > list partition > select partition x (number of partition) > clean > format fs=fat32 (or ntfs) > assign > enjoy.
    argedion likes this.

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