How to format a large USB drive in FAT32 on Windows 10

- by

I needed to create a bootable USB drive for a Linux installation I was working on. The tool I used to transfer the ISO image was ISO2USB, and it requested a FAT32 formatted drive for the job. Sadly my USB drive was 128GB, so naturally Windows tried to be helpful and not offer the FAT32 option up when I tried to select it in Disk Management.

Thankfully there’s a PowerShell command that works! I fear I might forget the syntax, so here’s how to make it happen: open Windows PowerShell with Admin privileges by right-clicking on the Windows Icon.

Make sure you know the drive letter of the thing you’d like to format, then type in the following (replacing X: with the drive letter appropriate for your situation):

format /FS:FAT32 X:

This is going to take a while depending on the size of your drive. In my case of a 128GB stick, I’m talking in excess of 6 hours. The PowerShell will give you percentage updates as you start making dinner, or perhaps even leave this running overnight. I’m sure more knowledgable people know if a secret parameter to add (like –GoFaster) but alas I do not.

And there you have it! That’s how you can format large USB drives in FAT32. Let’s just hope you’re never going to need this!

If you enjoy my content, please consider supporting me on Ko-fi. In return you can browse this whole site witout any pesky ads! More details here.

Add your voice!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.