Author Topic: Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc  (Read 4244 times)

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Offline KarelTopic starter

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Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc
« on: April 28, 2024, 03:14:27 pm »
A friend bought a new usb pendrive with a capacity of 256GB.
It worked fine with his windows 10 pc but his DVB-T decoder with usb slot (used to record tv-programs)
did not recognize the pendrive.
Apparently the decoder accepts only pendrives formatted with FAT32 but our pendrive was formatted with exFAT,
so we used windows 10 to format the pendrive with FAT32.

Then we discovered that windows refuses to format a pendrive with FAT32 when the volume is more than 32GB  :--

I took his pendrive home and used my Linux machine to format the pendrive with FAT32. Problem solved.

Morale:

Linux is a system of possibilities.
Windows is a system of limitations.
 

Offline langwadt

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Re: Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2024, 03:43:45 pm »
A friend bought a new usb pendrive with a capacity of 256GB.
It worked fine with his windows 10 pc but his DVB-T decoder with usb slot (used to record tv-programs)
did not recognize the pendrive.
Apparently the decoder accepts only pendrives formatted with FAT32 but our pendrive was formatted with exFAT,
so we used windows 10 to format the pendrive with FAT32.

Then we discovered that windows refuses to format a pendrive with FAT32 when the volume is more than 32GB  :--

I took his pendrive home and used my Linux machine to format the pendrive with FAT32. Problem solved.

Morale:

Linux is a system of possibilities.
Windows is a system of limitations.

here's why it ended up with 32GB, from the horses mouth; https://youtu.be/bikbJPI-7Kg?si=hWx5hdDppKhhQecj&t=365
 

Online Monkeh

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Re: Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2024, 04:14:27 pm »
Linux is a system of possibilities.
Windows is a system of limitations.

Self-imposed limitations. Windows provides a tool for formatting drives. It is not the only one you can use.
 

Offline magic

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Re: Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2024, 04:34:54 pm »
I seem to recall that you can format large FAT32 volumes in Windows using its bundled command line tools (format or something like that). The 32GB limitation is only imposed by the GUI.
 

Offline langwadt

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Re: Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2024, 05:40:59 pm »
I seem to recall that you can format large FAT32 volumes in Windows using its bundled command line tools (format or something like that). The 32GB limitation is only imposed by the GUI.

afaiu you can do it on the commandline but it is very slow, so it's better to get a thirdparty tool


 

Offline magic

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Re: Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2024, 07:59:29 pm »
I haven't seriously used Windows in 20 years, but I strongly suspect that any "slowness" is a matter of using right options, such as disabling "full formatting" (pointless overwriting of all space on the drive). Run it with /? first.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2024, 08:01:58 pm by magic »
 

Offline langwadt

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Re: Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2024, 08:41:41 pm »
I haven't seriously used Windows in 20 years, but I strongly suspect that any "slowness" is a matter of using right options, such as disabling "full formatting" (pointless overwriting of all space on the drive). Run it with /? first.

yes looks like it, https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/administration/windows-commands/format
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2024, 09:05:06 pm »
It's often overlooked that the Windows GUI is a graphical shell sitting on top of a command line OS. Many more advanced options are often found if you bypass the graphical shell and go straight to the underlying tools.
 

Offline DavidAlfa

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Online Halcyon

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Re: Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2024, 10:33:29 pm »
Windows is a system of limitations.

And it's only getting worse.

But as DavidAlfa pointed out, the HP tool is a good one for Windows users. Used it many times when Windows format just fails.
 

Offline Bud

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Re: Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2024, 04:32:40 am »
It's often overlooked that the Windows GUI is a graphical shell sitting on top of a command line OS.
This has not been the case for decades, since Win98.
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Offline IanB

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Re: Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2024, 05:58:31 am »
It's often overlooked that the Windows GUI is a graphical shell sitting on top of a command line OS.
This has not been the case for decades, since Win98.
No, I mean NT4 onwards up to Win 11. The graphical part of Windows is called "the shell", and the graphical APIs have "Shell" in their name. There are contexts where you can have a login session that does not involve the GUI, such as with services, batch jobs or remote logins. But more usefully, there are ways to access the underlying services of the OS from the command line, either with the traditional Command shell, or with PowerShell, and these invariably expose more options and allow more precise control than are available through the GUI.
 

Offline magic

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Re: Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2024, 06:27:10 am »
Not sure if it's a GUI on top of command line tools or a GUI and command line tools on top of C/C++ libraries and APIs.

"GUI on top of command line tools" is how Linux Desktop stuff works, when it does ;D
 

Offline selcuk

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Re: Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2024, 06:38:31 am »
If you have a similar issue while formatting an SD card and found this topic, there is an official tool from SD card association:

https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/formatter/
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2024, 06:43:23 am »
Not sure if it's a GUI on top of command line tools or a GUI and command line tools on top of C/C++ libraries and APIs.

More or less the second one. Both GUI and command line tools call APIs to do their work.
 

Offline golden_labels

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Re: Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2024, 08:38:22 am »
I would be happy to join the crowd seeing this as yet another artificial scarcity attack. Or at least attribute it to the lack of thinking.

But in this case the explanation is well known and documented, and it is neither of the above. It’s a reasonable decision, which didn’t age well. The person responsible, Dave Plummer, gave the details.

Unlike with other fake limitations, Microsoft never prevented users from creating bigger FAT32s even with their official tools – only that single GUI tool got affected. Never profited from it. Never used it against anybody. By the time anybody asked, the limit became a de facto standard. By the time it became relevant to wider audience, memory cards were using exFAT.

Was the decision bad? No. Historian’s fallacy applies. And Plummer was still very cautious and generous setting the value to 32 GB. Remember this is 1995. Your internal HDD was 250 MB to 1 GB, which you would further divide into partitions. That was a time, when I sent a screenshot of a program reporting CPU to be 1000 MHz as a joke to a local computer magazine. And I would die from laugher, if anybody told me about 32 GB flash storage.

Was the decision invalid? Yes, I think so. The limit should have been 228 · 512, which is 128 GB, not 32 GB. Unfortunately Plummer no longer recalled his thought process when recording the video.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2024, 08:40:16 am by golden_labels »
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Offline m k

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Re: Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2024, 11:02:20 am »
128 used to be legit sector size.
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(plus lesser brands from the work shop of the world)
 

Offline magic

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Re: Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2024, 01:49:29 pm »
If you have a similar issue while formatting an SD card and found this topic, there is an official tool from SD card association:

https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/formatter/
This is actually a good idea when formatting SD cards, because they are intended to have a particular alignment of some FAT data structures and user data clusters. This is not guaranteed when using any random format tool. On Linux one has to pass extra flags to mkfs.fat to get it right. And there are cameras which actually complain when it isn't right.

Another matter is that many SD readers can't issue TRIM commands to the card for optimum write performance afterwards.

I would be happy to join the crowd seeing this as yet another artificial scarcity attack. Or at least attribute it to the lack of thinking.

But in this case the explanation is well known and documented, and it is neither of the above. It’s a reasonable decision, which didn’t age well. The person responsible, Dave Plummer, gave the details.
So god complex and over-thinking?
 

Online coromonadalix

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Re: Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2024, 04:41:27 pm »
Sd card format tool or this one

http://ridgecrop.co.uk/index.htm?guiformat.htm

gui version of fat32format  ...  used it a few times  ...

to download click on the software image ....
 

Offline KarelTopic starter

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Re: Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2024, 05:22:23 pm »
Thank you everybody for the advice but Linux has already saved the day (and not for the first time).

I'm just puzzled why people sometimes say that windows is so easy to use for non-technical people.
Windows users are supposed to search around for random tools and click on some download link in order
to solve a problem? Or they need to go to a forum for assistance in order not to download and install some malware?
Or they need to start cmd.exe or powershell and enter some cryptic command?
 

Offline magic

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Re: Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2024, 08:09:42 pm »
Windows users are supposed to use exFAT on 256GB volumes and stop questioning things.
(with 128KB cluster size which would give Mr. Plummer a heart attack)

How hard is it to buy a new TV recorder if you old one sucks?
 
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Offline langwadt

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Re: Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc
« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2024, 08:29:01 pm »
Windows users are supposed to use exFAT on 256GB volumes and stop questioning things.
(with 128KB cluster size which would give Mr. Plummer a heart attack)

he said that his come to regret the decision on the limit, but it was nearly 30 years ago and at the time it was 2000 times bigger than the biggest card he could get and he only though it would be for NT4.0
 

Offline golden_labels

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Re: Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc
« Reply #22 on: April 30, 2024, 06:49:25 am »
I'm just puzzled why people sometimes say that windows is so easy to use for non-technical people.
I’m not sure, how that question fits in here. The tool is an ancient relic. One could as well download Winamp 0.20 (it’s newer than this!) and ask, how is Winamp more user friendly than mpv, if it can’t even play a FLAC. :D

But, answering the question nonetheless: it’s not Windows, it’s design in general. All design, not software only.

The user shouldn’t be required to develop a mental model of the underlying process just to use some tangentially related outcomes. The user shouldn’t be required to put considerable mental effort to deal with mundane things. Obtaining the desired outcome shouldn’t depend on the user being right in their evaluation and decisions. Words underlined to pin the interpretation and not let it be confused with other, similarly sounding statements (e.g. “required” vs. “able”).

These principles are behind most GUI apps and, in particular, all targeted to the majority of the population. On top of that: they in general follow the intuition users already developed and most trouble can be resolved using accessible collective knowledge. This is why “Windows is easy”.



« Last Edit: April 30, 2024, 06:53:18 am by golden_labels »
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Offline IanB

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Re: Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc
« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2024, 07:38:10 am »
I'm just puzzled why people sometimes say that windows is so easy to use for non-technical people.

There's a device, which, I think, records broadcast TV onto a USB drive? So why would you automatically think of using a PC to format such a drive? Wouldn't you rather expect the DVB-T box to format the drive to its own specifications, if it is going to be recording to it? Or do I misunderstand the use case?

Similarly, if you are going to use an SD card with a camera, it is best to let the camera format the card.
 
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Offline magic

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Re: Format a 256GB pendrive with FAT32 using a windows 10 pc
« Reply #24 on: April 30, 2024, 07:47:42 am »
I'm just puzzled why people sometimes say that windows is so easy to use for non-technical people.
I’m not sure, how that question fits in here. The tool is an ancient relic. One could as well download Winamp 0.20 (it’s newer than this!) and ask, how is Winamp more user friendly than mpv, if it can’t even play a FLAC. :D
So what is the non-ancient way of formatting disks in W10?

A better analogy: it's as if Windows 10 came bundled with Media Player for Windows 98 and couldn't play past the first 4GB of a file :palm:
 


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