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Formatting Amethyst archive drive on Windows

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 1:40 pm
by John Richard Procter
How do I FAT32 format a drive bigger than 32 GIG under Win

NOTE: This is for a drive less than 1 Terabyte - se below for drive larger than 1 Terabyte.

Download link:

Download notes:

Windows XP doesn't let you format a partition with FAT32 if it is bigger than 32GB.

To do this, first you must create your partition, it is probably best to use windows disk management to do this.

Right click on My Computer and select Manage. Then select Disk Management from the left. Now find some unallocated space on one of your disks. Right click on the unallocated space and select New Partition.

If your drive is already formated. Check this under My Computer, right-click on the drive and go to properties, then the General tab and under file format it says for example NTFS you need to remove the NTFS partition to get some unallocated space.

*** Please Note: when removing the NTFS partition you will loose all data on the drive. .***

Press next, select primary partition. Press next, enter the size of your new partition, the number that's in there by default is the ammount of unallocated space on your disk and thus the maximum size for the partition. Press next, select a drive letter of your choice (it can be changed later). Press next, select do not format this partition. Then press next and then finish.

Now you have a new partition that is not yet formatted.

To format the big partition with FAT32 you have to use Linux mkdosfs for Windows NT/2K/XP. There might be other ways, but this is what I used and it worked perfectly. You can download mkdosfs from here:

Download and extract it.


mkdosfs.exe is a command line program so when you extract it put it somewhere easy to access like C:. Now, press start then run and type cmd.
Now, assuming you put mkdosfs.exe on C: type C:\mkdosfs

That should give you instruction on how to use the program. If it
doesn't then you haven't typed in the path of the program correctly.

To format a partition you must type this into cmd:

C:\mkdosfs -F 32 -n AMTARCHIVE -v <drive letter>

Where AMTARCHIVE is the name of your new partition
and *Don't get the drive letter wrong!*.

Once you have typed that in and pressed enter, the program should give you some information about your new partition like this:

Code: Select all
mkdosfs 2.8 (28 Feb 2001)
Win32 port by Jens-Uwe Mager
\\.\ has 255 heads and 63 sectors per track,
logical sector size is 512,
using 0xf8 media descriptor, with 390716865 sectors;
file system has 2 32-bit FATs and 8 sectors per cluster.
FAT size is 380816 sectors, and provides 48744400 clusters.
Volume ID is 4149e22c, volume label  .

It will be unresponsive while it formats the drive, but it only took about 30 seconds to format my 200GB partition.

Note the -F 32 part of the command. mkdosfs can format FAT12 and FAT16 partitions with the relevant command. If you don't include -F 32 then mkdosfs will use either FAT12 or FAT16 so make sure you do put that bit on.

So there you go, now you have a FAT32 partition bigger than 32GB that can be read and written to by many OSes and you didn't even have to leave Windows XP

Re: How do I FAT32 format a drive bigger than 32 GIG under W

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:05 am
by Leon van Heerden
When a drive is larger than 1 Terabyte, there is an additional option you have to add to the command line.
Add "-s 16".

The command line should look like this:
Code: Select all
mkdosfs -F 32 -s 16 -n AMTARCHIVE -v {drive}

Re: How do I FAT32 format a drive bigger than 32 GIG under W

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:47 pm
by Leon van Heerden
If you still can't mount the drive and you receive an error message:
Code: Select all
mount: /dev/sdc1: can't read superblock

Then the Sector size might be incorrect when it was formatted.

Run this command (replace the "sdc" with your drive device)
Code: Select all
fdisk /dev/sdc

On the first line it should print the Sector size.
Code: Select all
Note: sector size is 4096 (not 512)

You can then add this "-S4096" to the format command.
My format command is now:
Code: Select all
mkdosfs -v -s 16 -S4096 -F32 /dev/sdc1

Remember that you need to add the "-n AMTARCHIVE" or add that volume label after wards so that Amethyst picks up the drive properly.

Re: How do I FAT32 format a drive bigger than 32 GIG under W

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 3:55 pm
by kebogile Porogo
How do I FAT32 format a drive bigger than 1TB under Windows

Additional method to format a large drive under windows as FAT32.

Software: 'FAT32 FORMAT'
Source: ... format.htm

    1. Double click the executable to run program.
    2. Ensure you SELECT THE RIGHT DRIVE LETTER E:\ in my case
    3. Lable volume as AMTARCHIVE
    4. Click 'Start' to start the formatting, this process extend depending on the size volume