Kim Barloso

How to change the file system on a flash drive (from exfat to fat32)


Formatting methods :

    The file system of an electronic storage medium may affect its interaction with other devices. For instance it is difficult to detect a thumb drive when using exFAT.

    exFAT is a file system developed for portable devices ensuring a longer life than other file systems. Its main advantage is to ensure a rational distribution of information on sectors in Flash, avoiding constantly overwriting the same sector during operation. It is for this reason exFAT is the most convenient to use. But alas, it is not compatible with all devices.

    There are several ways to change the flash file system from exFAT to FAT32. The main thing to remember is that all these methods require the formatting of the mass storage device (i.e. completely erasing the information stored in the memory of the device).

    Video instruction

    Formatting via Windows Utility

    1. connect the USB stick to a computer or a notebook,
    2. go to "This computer" in Windows Explorer and find your device (e.g. removable drive (R)),

    3. right click on the flash drive and choose "Format",

    4. in the window that appears, select the file system "FAT32" and uncheck the "Fast (Clear Table of Contents)" box,

    5. click "Begin".

    The system warns you that data from the medium will be lost during the formatting process. Once the process has been completed the user receives a FAT32 compatible Flash card.

    Through "Disk Management"

    The first format method is suitable if your PC displays the card in "My Computer". Otherwise you should use the Windows built-in "Disk Management" utility. To do so:

    1. Press Win+R at the same time,
    2. Type diskmgmt.msc in the window that appears and press ok,
    3. The Disk Management tab will appear in front of you listing all drives connected to the device. Once the disk has been selected the user should right click and click on "Format".

    The format procedure shall begin once the user has selected the required file system (FAT32) and clicks on "Ok".

    Format from exfat to fat32

    It is possible to reformat using different programs. You can download it here.

    Download it from the following link.

    This software allows you to work with the problematic disk. It format the medium, change the file system and recover the USB stick. The advantages of this software are:

    • simple interface (even if in English),
    • support for exFAT, FAT32, NTFS,
    • compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8.1, 8, 10,
    • can "see" flash cards that are not recognized.

    In order to use this utility you should install it from the downloaded setup.exe file and start it.


    1. Insert the electronic medium into your PC or Laptop. This will be displayed in the program window,
    2. mark this checkbox,
    3. Press the "Format" button,
    4. select the FAT32 file system,
    5. Click "Begin".

    Unlock the write protection

    It is possible to modify the removable flash media file system only if the write protection is not installed. The write protection is either implemented in a hardware way or via a switch on the stick. Only after you move the write protection slider to the unlocked position, attempts to format and change exFAT to FAT32 will succeed.

    “Hello. My name is Kim. I discovered that technology, when used with a purpose, can be pretty amazing. To share the wonder of tech, I’ve written for blogs like and With over three years of freelance writing experience in the technology and entertainment niche, I can write a storm about a software app, a cool browser extension, a new mobile device and other geek-centric stuf... “

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    Kim Barloso