installing FAT32 on my WD passport

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by kellsnz, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. kellsnz macrumors newbie

    Apr 12, 2012
    Ok need a little or a lot of advise. I have a WD passport which i have set up to work with my Mac, now i need to use it on a normal PC and have been advised to put FAT32 onto it. Which is fine but i have absolutely no idea how to do it and every time i try to download FAT32 it says it is not a Mac program. Help please.
  2. Grannyville7989 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 2, 2010
    FAT32 isn't an application, it is a file system that is used to for storing files on storage devices, like hard drives, memory sticks, etc.

    There are other file systems, such as HFS+ (Hierarchical File System plus) that is used by Mac OS X and NTFS (New Technology File System) that is used by Windows.

    FAT32 (File Allocation Table) is a file system that Mac, Windows, and Linux can read from and write to.

    To format your external drive to be FAT32...

    From Mac OS X:-
    - Plug in your drive,
    - Open up Disk Utility
    - Select your external drive from the list on the left
    - Click on the erase tab,
    - From the Format drop down list, select MS-DOS (FAT)
    - Click Erase...

    From Windows:-
    - Plug in your drive,
    - Open My Computer,
    - Right click on your drive and click Format...
    - Select FAT32 from the list of file systems,
    - Make sure Quick Format is checked,
    - Click Start

    Always remember that formating a disk will erase all of the data that has been stored on it. So make sure that you have everything that you want to keep backed up.

    I hope I was clear enough for you. If not, or you have other questions, give me a shout :)
  3. kellsnz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 12, 2012
  4. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Also know, that FAT32 has a 4 GB per file limit.


    Overview of the four major file systems (called "Formats" in Mac OS X) used on Windows and Mac OS X, compiled by GGJstudios. You can use Disk Utility to format any HDD to your liking.

    Any external hard drive will work with PCs or Macs, as long as the connectors are there (Firewire, USB, etc.) It doesn't matter how the drive is formatted out of the box, since you can re-format any way you like. Formatting can be done with the Mac OS X Disk Utility, found in the /Applications/Utilities folder. Here are your formatting options:

    HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Don't use case-sensitive)

    NTFS (Windows NT File System)
    • Read/Write NTFS from native Windows.
    • Read only NTFS from native Mac OS X
      [*]To Read/Write/Format NTFS from Mac OS X, here are some alternatives:
      • For Mac OS X 10.4 or later (32 or 64-bit), install Paragon (approx $20) (Best Choice for Lion)
      • For 32-bit Mac OS X, install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free) (does not work in 64-bit mode)
      • For 64-bit Snow Leopard, read this: MacFUSE for 64-bit Snow Leopard
      • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx $36).
      • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and Lion, but is not advisable, due to instability.
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support NTFS
    • Maximum file size: 16 TB
    • Maximum volume size: 256TB
    • You can use this format if you routinely share a drive with multiple Windows systems.

    exFAT (FAT64)
    • Supported in Mac OS X only in 10.6.5 or later.
    • Not all Windows versions support exFAT. See disadvantages.
    • exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table)
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support exFAT
    • Maximum file size: 16 EiB
    • Maximum volume size: 64 ZiB
    • You can use this format if it is supported by all computers with which you intend to share the drive. See "disadvantages" for details.

    FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
    • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
      [*]Maximum file size: 4GB.
    • Maximum volume size: 2TB
    • You can use this format if you share the drive between Mac OS X and Windows computers and have no files larger than 4GB.

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