Will FAT32 prevent me from using all of my USB drive’s storage?

Louise Booth October 17, 2012

I was told that using FAT32 won’t allow you to use the full 16GB on my USB drive, is this true?

  1. Samarth Kulkarni
    October 22, 2012 at 10:49 am

    No problem with FAT32

  2. Dimal Chandrasiri
    October 18, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    it won't prevent your from using the entire space, but it will not let you transfer larger file sizes. When you try to transfer it will tell that, you cannot transfer larger files than 3GB ( as I recall , this can vary ). So if you are going to save larger image files, or media files go fot NTFS..

  3. Boni Oloff
    October 18, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I think you just have to use ntfs, fat 32 is no problem storing many files, but it cannot store large single file. I mean if the file size 6GB ISO games, you cannot store it there.
    I have the problem before, but i cannot say it for sure, because i have no flash drive with me now.

  4. gpvprasad
    October 18, 2012 at 4:58 am

    16GB = 16 * 1000 * 1000 *1000 => but when windows shows it as 14.9 GB because in Windows uses conversion b/w bytes to kilo bytes or megabytes in 2^10(1024) rather 1000.
    So don't worry about it.

  5. Jim Chambers
    October 18, 2012 at 3:33 am

    NTFS needs more space for file system compared to FAT32. File size in FAT32 is limited to 4GB.

  6. Keefe Kingston
    October 18, 2012 at 12:22 am

    No, that is not true. FAT32 supports drive sizes up to a maximum of 32GBs, which is well beyond the size of your USB drive. It takes a small amount of space for it's file allocation table (which is what FAT stands for), but this applies to any other disk format, as it tells the computer where files' data is on the drive. And it's so small, you won't even notice it. The reason you're missing disk space is because of the conversion between metric and logical GBs. When companies market disk space, they use the metric system (1000MB=1GB), however, computers use a different system known as the logical system, where instead of 1000 megabytes equaling a gigabyte, 1024 megabypes is what makes up a gigabyte. And so your computer tells you that you have less then 16GB. However, the package is correct: you do have 16 metric gigabytes. But because computers use the logical system, the amount of available is less then on the package.

    So this is probably why you were told that FAT32 would prevent you from using all of your disk space. However, it does not. It will allow you all the space that logically possible. That's assuming that there is no pre-installed software on it, or it has been partitioned.

    • Harshit Jain
      October 18, 2012 at 10:38 am

      So companies find it easy to fool customers by not giving any information about the real storage you will get. This is just a BIG fraud. Why can't they give true 16GB storage or at least also give the real storage you will get?

    • Harshit Jain
      October 18, 2012 at 10:43 am

      No Fat32 will let you use full storage of your pendrive . Just make sure that file size of any file does not exceed 4GB.

    • salim benhouhou
      October 18, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      wow ! you know a lot of things about file systems

      • Keefe Kingston
        October 18, 2012 at 5:51 pm

        Well, I was curious of what the differences were at one time as well. :) Also, Jan's right...FAT32 can go up to 128GB. That was an oversight on my part. ^^;

    • Jan Fritsch
      October 18, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      little correction:
      The maximum volume size for FAT32 is 2TB using 32KB clusters.
      The 32GB are an artificial limitation in Windows XP and prior.
      The suggested size is up to 128GB for FAT32

      • Keefe Kingston
        October 18, 2012 at 5:50 pm

        Whoops! XD; Thanks for correcting me on that.

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