General Question

ryanconsidine's avatar

Why won't my 40GB Fat32 hard drive work in Windows XP?

Asked by ryanconsidine (18points) December 27th, 2007

It was originally the internal disk in an old imac, but now I have it in a USB2.0 case. It has been formatted as FAT32 by Disk Utility in Leopard. It is an external drive. It works fine on a Mac. I have tested it on several different PCs running XP.

I thought that windows could use a FAT32 drive larger than 32GB, but that it just couldn’t create one. If that is incorrect, is there a way to make it work, or to even make a partition that’s less than 32GB work?


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4 Answers

ccatron's avatar

You’re right, it cannot format larger than 32GB as FAT32, but it is supposed to be able to recognize and mount larger drives.

why not format it as NTFS? If you right click on the drive in “My Computer”, you should have an option for “Format”. Once the program opens, just select “NTFS” as the disk format.

If you can’t reformat, try this,

Actually, I just tried my external 40 GB drive (FAT32) and it recognized all of the bytes….37.2GB to be exact.

If you are able to reformat it, I would try formatting it with windows. Maybe there was an option on the Mac that allows the drive to work properly on a Mac and not on a PC.

jonno's avatar

As far as I know, when you format the external hard drive in Disk Utility, you need to select “MS-DOS File System” under the erase tab

If that doesn’t work, I would try formatting the drive using Windows. Remember though to format it as FAT32 if you want to the hard drive to be writeable for both your Mac and your PC – although NTFS is much better, an NTFS-formatted hard drive will be read-only on your Mac

ryanconsidine's avatar

I’m not sure if this is the right place to reply, but here goes.

Yes, it needs to be usable from the mac as well as windows, so FAT32 is necessary. I formatted as such from Disk Utility just as you suggest, Iono, but XP won’t recognize it. And I don’t think my PC’s fault either as it won’t work on the other two XP machines that i’ve tried. I think it’s the formatting done in Disk Utility, but I don’t know what I could be doing wrong.

Any suggestion?

s3rvant's avatar

This is just me, but I would use a Knoppix live cd to start up the system and use it’s partition manager Gparted to try a reformat. If that works then the Disk Utility is at fault.

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