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How to format a large capacity USB flash drive, FAT32, Windows

Discussion in 'Model 3: User Interface' started by tm3vt, Jul 8, 2019.

  1. tm3vt

    tm3vt Member

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    Hello! I tried to find a "how to" post on formatting large capacity flash drives but I can only find links to external utilities or programs to purchase. Now that we have Sentry Mode on all the time (except when we're home!) and, since I like to save clips especially on beautiful days - I'm saving clips from our neighborhood through all the seasons) - my 16 GB drive filled too quickly.

    Personally, I just don't trust what an EXE file I find online could potentially do to my computer. And I certainly don't want to pay for something that my PC can already do.

    It's actually very easy to format a drive yourself! Open a command prompt window - I have Windows 10, so press Start, then type CMD. You'll want to elevate it to run as Admin, so right click and choose "Run as Administrator".

    You can see all the parameters and what they do by typing,

    Format /?

    All I need is to specify the File System and for these larger USB flash drives, set an Allocation unit size, and make it a "quick" format. I like to add a volume name (but it's optional and can be done later.) Just BE SURE to use your correct flash drive letter!!!

    To check, I plug in the USB flash drive, I see it's identified as "D:" (To quickly see your drives, open an Explore window with StartKey + e, choose "this PC")

    For me, I bought a Samsung 128 GB for $25 on Amazon. I like the small size, it doesn't overheat, has many great reviews. [link] )

    So then, my format command is

    Format d: /FS:FAT32 /A:32768 /V:tesla /q

    You can copy/paste that line to your Command Prompt window, again, please make sure you have the correct drive letter!!

    Here's a table of the common allocation unit sizes for FAT32:

    256 MB - 8 GB would use 8 KB ( so type /A:8192 )
    16 GB - 32 GB would use 16 KB ( so type /A:16384 )
    32 GB - 2 TB would use 32 KB ( so type /A:32768 )

    I hope this helps!
     
    • Informative x 2
    • Disagree x 1
  2. woodmountain

    woodmountain Member

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    Spot on formatting info. How is the Samsung drive performing?

    I had looked at that and had gone with another members recommendation. I am currently using the
    Samsung PRO Endurance 128GB Micro SDXC Card and a Rocketek Aluminum USB 3.0 Portable Memory Card Reader Adapter. After placing 2,925 mp3's I'm satisfied although it heats up more than I had expected.
     
  3. Obliter8

    Obliter8 Member

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    Just tried to do this on Win10 and it says 'Invalid Parameter - /A:65536'
     
  4. Obliter8

    Obliter8 Member

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    Yup, deleted that string and then got 'The volume is too big for FAT32'
     
  5. jeadams

    jeadams Member

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  6. voxelman

    voxelman Member

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    I experienced the same result except 'Invalid Parameter - /A:32768'
     
  7. RFernatt

    RFernatt Solar/EV Owner/Enthusiast

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    I tried with Windows 10 and a 256GB Samsung flash drive, but no dice. Found this nugget online:

    "Microsoft has set a 32GB partition size limit for the FAT/FAT32 file system to promote NTFS, which is generally more efficient when working with large partitions.

    In truth, this limitation only exists in recent versions of Windows. Moreover, Windows does recognize large hard drives formatted with FAT/FAT32."

    And, it seems to hold true in Win10. I used a free 3rd party tool even though I really didn't want to. Downloaded, scanned the install package, installed it, formatted the flash drive and then got rid of it. Don't even remember which one it was now.
     
  8. Knightshade

    Knightshade Well-Known Member

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    Because Win10 can not natively format larger than 32GB in FAT32 using the format command.

    Hence all the rest of your advice, as all the repliers are finding out, isn't actually useful.

    Weirdly- this fact is usually mentioned in all the other threads you supposedly found as the reason they're giving out links to 3rd party utilities (plenty of which are free and work great).
     
  9. Kevy Baby

    Kevy Baby Dis-Member

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    I don't know why I am so amused that you can format a drive for FAT32 much more easily on a Mac (with a utility that comes included with every Mac) when the format is not one that you would normally use on a Mac.
     
    • Informative x 1
  10. Knightshade

    Knightshade Well-Known Member

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    It's an old disk format not really ideal for large storage- so MS is trying to encourage folks to use a newer, better, file system for such... the embarrassment here is on Tesla for not supporting them.
     
  11. Dad97

    Dad97 Member

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    I just went through this as well. I used an Ubuntu VM to format the disk. If you happen to have an Ubuntu system that would be easier than building a whole VM to format a disk but in my case I do a lot of work with VM's anyway so that was easier for me.
     
  12. FairWeatherFan

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    Change the parameter to:Format d: /FS:FAT32 /A:32K /V:tesla /q

    That allowed me to get past that error, but now I'm getting a write protected error. I just did this 6 months ago for my other Tesla, but don't know what I'm having such a hard time with the write protection this time....
     
  13. FairWeatherFan

    Joined:
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    Wow, thanks... I didn't even think of that. It just took me 2 seconds to do it with the Disk Utility! It was so easy, I spent more time triple checking that it worked than the actual format.

    Hopefully it works with the Tesla. It still shows up as "write protected" on my Windows machine even though I copied several files to it on my Mac.
     
    • Like x 1
  14. NicolaiMagnify

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2019
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    Format anything above 32Gb in windows 10 seems not possible, even with the right syntax:

    C:\Windows\System32>Format d: /FS:FAT32 /A:32k /V:tesla /q
    Insert new disk for drive D:
    and press ENTER when ready...
    The type of the file system is FAT32.
    QuickFormatting 116,2 GB

    The volume is too big for FAT32.
    Format failed.
     
  15. Knightshade

    Knightshade Well-Known Member

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    Yes, as already mentioned in post #8 in the thread back in December.

    Easiest method for most in windows will be just use a 3rd party utility like Rufus
     
  16. NicolaiMagnify

    Joined:
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    I downloaded a tool from called guiformat.exe and used it to format the USB drive. With a 128Gb drive I used an allocation unit sizes of 32768.
     

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