1. Are you ready for the Galaxy S20? Here is everything we know so far!

FAT32 is a waste of space

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by founder, Dec 25, 2009.

  1. founder

    founder Newbie
    Thread Starter

    I have for my Samsung Galaxy Spica Android 1,5 an 8 GB micro SD card.

    But the possibilities are limited by 32 KB cluster size.

    So the same data, I want to have my whole website on the phone for showing something, where ever I am, use with FAT 32 much more space than with NTFS.

    What possibilities are, to change the format in a way, that both sides,
    my Windows XP notebook and my Android cell phone can use it?

    When I have my cell phone on the USB and try to format, I can only choose stadard size, and this seems to be 32 kb cluster size

    1. Download the Forums for Android™ app!


  2. gnur

    gnur Newbie

    What do you mean? How does the cluster size affect your storage space?

    And I don't think there is a different file system that both windows and Android can use.
  3. founder

    founder Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Imagine You store files with 5,7,13,15,60 kb all together 100kb

    With cluster size 32, this needs 32,32,32,32,64 = 192 kb
    With cluster size 16, this needs 16,16,16,16,64 = 128 kb

    Chek information of a folder, and You will see file size and space used on disk
  4. Deleted User

    Deleted User Guest

    But with cluster size 16, you'll need a larger File Allocation Table... I don't think that in the file properties dialog it's written also the space needeed in the FAT for that file :thinking:
  5. vikingisson

    vikingisson Android Expert

    So use fat32 for SDs >2G
  6. Lagerstars

    Lagerstars Newbie

    How many files are you planning on storing for fcuks sake? Slack space might be an issue if you have millions of files that each cause you to lose a couple of k, but with storage over GB's then its hardly a problem is it
  7. founder

    founder Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Just right now about 25 thousand files, the disadvantage against NTSF ist about 300 MB.

    But with more files, FAT32 makes a 7 GB SD-card out of my 8 GB SD-card because of the wasted space.
  8. vikingisson

    vikingisson Android Expert

    25 thousand files on an SD? huh?
    With that much and a real need for it then surely you're using a proper file system on it such as ext2/3 and a real OS such as linux on the pc to handle that much?

    I remember when big fat harddisks had to be partitioned no bigger than 32 megs. We thought that wasn't a problem, until we had disks bigger than that.

    I take back my suggestion to use fat32. Use ext3.
  9. informale

    informale Android Enthusiast

    25'000 files on an SD card used in a mobile phone is nonsense. You're obviously using your phone for something extraordinary, which is exactly why people don't understand why you are complaining about the wasted space.
  10. founder

    founder Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Since 1993, I have my notebook on the belt.

    Here a photo from me 1994

    At this time, I had 12V 6Ah lead acid battery and a car telephone with me. Cell phones had been at this time much more expensive.

    1998 I had my first notebook with lithium batteries for 6 hours

    To carry around the 2,5 kg lead acid battery for enough run time of the notebook was no longer necessary, I purchased my first cell phone.

    But I found it still necessary to have my notebook always with me.

    2009 was the next big step: the Android cell phone.

    First task was a complete offline version of my web site. So I can show when I am underway somebody important pages while I discuss themes covered by my web site.

    It has to be an offline version, because we have in Europe extreme penalties for using mobile Internet in other countries. 12,000.--EUR per GB.

    This offline version

    1,7 GB files
    1,99 GB on the SD card, the mentioned 300 MB loose because of FAT32
    17251 files
    776 folders

    15,1 MB files
    36,1 MB on SD card
    1086 files
    237 folders

    Some other applications, and it's about 25.000 files on my card.

    What is at this applications extraordinary?

    Because of the limited space, I did not copy my photos on the phone
  11. vikingisson

    vikingisson Android Expert

  12. 28064212

    28064212 Well-Known Member

    OP, not much you can do other than take the storage hit. I agree it is a bit disappointing though. While I think Android should use FAT32 as the default filesystem for SD cards to ensure maximum portability, it should at least support the option of other filesystems (it's built on Linux, I don't think adding ext3 support should be overly difficult)
  13. AndroidSPCS

    AndroidSPCS Android Expert

    How about zipping it up into a big file, and then using a zip file viewer on Android to view the files?

    You're gonna be stuck with FAT32 due to its universal compatibility. Your case is probably among the rarest of the rare of someone having to carry that many files.

    If it bugs you that much, just carry extra SD cards and be done with it.
  14. AndroidSPCS

    AndroidSPCS Android Expert

    Do you really show someone your mobile website on your phone all the time? :eek:

    If it's that important carry an extra SD card for the mobile website when you need to, or carry a Netbook to show the website with much better screen display.
  15. hallstevenson

    hallstevenson Android Expert

    Does it not support anything other than FAT32 on the SD card ?

    There is the ability to mount/read ext format on Windows. Not sure if there's "write" ability though and if not, it's almost useless.
  16. vikingisson

    vikingisson Android Expert

    Sure, format ext2. Not useless if done from a linux machine. Anything this serious is best done on linux anyways.
  17. hallstevenson

    hallstevenson Android Expert

    I meant if the Windows plug-in/driver couldn't write to the card, i.e. it could only read it, it would be useless.
  18. vikingisson

    vikingisson Android Expert

    If you're running linux then it doesn't matter. Linux can read and write to it either way no matter what you format it to. Windoze doesn't matter in that case cause it isn't being used.

    'cides, I doubt that Windows could even read it unless it was FAT/FAT32/NTFS. Windows is useless in that case, not the format.

    That being said I usually format to FAT32 so that I can hand my card to a poor Windows user if I want. Other wise linux works with that and any other format I care to use. If you want to get into SD swap or running apps from SD you'll want ext2.

    to the OP, get a bigger SD card. Problem solved.
  19. hallstevenson

    hallstevenson Android Expert

    The vast majority of people run Windows, not Linux. In the case of this thread, the OP wants a more efficient format and ext2 or ext3 was suggested. For most people, that's not real feasible as it won't work out-of-the-box with Windows. An option is available and I was pointing out (1) potential problem with it.

    I used such a driver many years ago. I ran Linux for almost 10 years, by the way... Here's one that looks updated: Ext2Fsd Project
  20. vikingisson

    vikingisson Android Expert

    yes I know that. But this is for one person, not a whole market. Anyone that has "worn a notebook on my belt since 1993" will know the difference.

    But another windows driver? I wouldn't suggest that, too much risk and potential conflicts.

    Best and easiest (forget ext2/3) is a bigger SD card. Cheap, easy, done. And works on Winders and the linux machine that I'll bet he also has.
  21. mikebowe

    mikebowe Lurker

    Founder, firstly I am surprised that people write replys that are rude, incorrect, irrelevant and often stupid. I understand your problem.
    I have just produced offline google street maps for Singapore down to level 19. That is over 137,000 files. Loading them onto a 16gb SD card formatted to standard FAT 32 took up 11.2gb of space.
    The problem is that a default FAT 32 format makes clusters of 32k each and each cluster can only have one file in it. The .png tile files are slightly less than 1k but each one uses 32k of space.
    But FAT32 format can be made to use different cluster sizes : -FAT32 supports 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192, 16K, 32K, 64K,128K, 256K. I formatted my SD disk with a cluster size of 4096, I could not use a smaller size as there is a maximum of 4177918 clusters allowed on one disk.

    Copying the files over they now use 1.8gb of space. But the maps load too slowly on my Phone. It does work though. Because of the time it takes to copy the files over on my present (slow) laptop (9hrs) I will be delaying any further experimentation for a while, but I am going to reformat the disk with 8192 size clusters and see how that works, I want to get it down to about 4-6 gb as I hope to load several other map areas on the disk, possibly going up to 500,000 files - but I will have to check as there are also limitations on the number of files in directories etc.

    Opening a DOS cmd window (Start / Run and type cmd in the small window) the command to use is FORMAT X: /FS:FAT32 /A:4096 where X: is the letter corresponding to your SD disk and the last 3/4 characters are the cluster size you want (512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192, 16K, 32K)
    I hope this helps, I will post the results of further formatting trials in the not too far off future

    seancojr likes this.
  22. endolith

    endolith Newbie

    No it's not.

    My Maverick Maps tiles folder has 150,000 files in 3,500 folders taking up 1.1 GB (1.4 GB on disk). This is with 4,096 bytes in each allocation unit.
  23. XplosiV

    XplosiV Master X is Watching You

    No matter what the file system is, you will lose space once formatted.

    Yes fat 32 is 32k cluster size,
    Yes ntfs can go as low as 512b cluster size

    But an 8gb sd card will always give you about 7gb usable space.

    My spica has an 8gb sd card, with a 1gb ext2 partition for the os and 7gb fat32 for storage.

    It sounds as if you only need about 4-5gb anyway.

    If you really do need more space, then just buy a bigger sd card. Or if you haven't already, revamp your site to use .png images instead of .jpg or you could just produce a .pdf catalogue to keep on your phone to show clients. I'm sure that will need less space.
  24. endolith

    endolith Newbie

    Not if all your files are multiples of a cluster size. :D
  25. XplosiV

    XplosiV Master X is Watching You

    Um, seriously, yes, because formatting the drive creates your Fat & MBR and this is why the 'usable space' of a drive is always lower. An 80gb drive only gives you 76.x gb because the fat & mbr need to use space.

    Your probably thinking that of the 'usable space' you probably want to make best use of it with the smallest sector size possible. This would be on ntfs 512 bytes so the most any one file will waste is 511 bytes and this will also add up.

    This is why the 'space on disk' is always larger than the stated used space, no matter what format the dive is using.

Samsung Galaxy Spica Forum

The Samsung Galaxy Spica release date was November 2009. Features and Specs include a 3.2" inch screen, 3MP camera, GB RAM, processor, and 1500mAh battery.

November 2009
Release Date

Share This Page