Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Format FAT32 big partition using Linux

I was attempting to format big partition size >100GB for a FAT32 file system for the WD My Passport portable hard disk. Turn out to be very tedious because the FAT32 format utility provided by Western Digital could not work in Windows Vista. So I tried to find alternative way, but to no avail, until...

There is limit to the FAT32 partition on your hard disk. It cannot exceed more than 32GB. To format larger than 32GB I will need to use the manufacturer software. Turn out it cannot run in Windows Vista. So I searched around for alternatives.

I found one software called SwissKnife, but turn out that this too was outdated and could not run in Windows Vista. It could only run in Windows 2000.

There were many post in forums about using command prompt to format large size partition. Many said it was very slow, you can't do a quick format, and there seem to be limit to the format size. NOt sure about the actual limit, but I believe it could not exceed 100GB. Since I need it bigger than 100GB I decided not to try this way.

In the end, I have to fire up my old PC running in Windows XP to install the WD FAT32 formatter program. It requires at least the dotNetFx 2.0 version so again I have to take time to install a .Net software. Than installed the WD FAT32 formatter. Finally got them all installed.

But... it wouldn't allow me to partition it!

So in the end, I used Ubuntu Linux Gnome partition manager. Before using it, I have to delete the partition using Windows Disk Manager. For some unknown reason I couldn't delete the partition in Gnome partition manager. Using the Ubunto Linux Gnome partition manager, I could partition the WD My Passport portable hard disk and format a FAT32 partition bigger than 100GB size.

Thank goodness for Linux!

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