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External hard drive as “USB flash drive” (FAT32 larger than 32GB)

Recently I got myself an external hard drive enclosure, so I could browse through my old discarded hard disks from time to time. Then I had the idea to use one of those disks as a USB flash drive and connect it, for example, to a DVD player, a car radio or a digital picture frame. So I just tried and attached the disk to my DVD player – but unfortunately, it didn’t work. I quickly found out that this was due to the NTFS formatting: USB flash drives work with FAT32 for compatibility reasons.
No problem – just reformat it! Well, at least that was what I thought, but then I found that you can only FAT32-format partitions with a maximum size of 32 gigabytes. My old disk had 80 GB, however, and I wanted to have it all in one single partition.

After some Googling, I found the little command line program h2format from heise. It enables you to format FAT32 partitions of any size. This is done as follows:

  1. download and extract h2format (it’s easiest to just extract it to C:)
  2. connect the hard drive to your computer
  3. open Disk Management: Right click on My Computer → Manage → Storage → Disk Management (may vary depending on your Windows version)
  4. select the hard drive you want to format and delete any existing partitions, if necessary (by right-clicking into the white area)
  5. create a new partition over the entire size of the disk (again by right-clicking), but do not format this new partition!
  6. open the command prompt (Start → Run → “cmd”) and then enter “h2format X:“, where X of course stands for the drive letter of the disk you wish to format

Now the whole disk should be formatted with FAT32 and be recognized like a USB flash drive by any device.

PS: I just noticed that this is my 100th post. :D It only took me two years. ;) That’s on average about four posts per month, thus about one per week. That is actually not so little when you consider that it was, since the beginning, my goal and ambition of myself to not (or at least hardly) post uninteresting bullshit out of my everyday life, like so many other people do. Quality, not quantity. Nevertheless, I am very sad that I therefore have never been able to tell you about my multifaceted love life, about stress with bosses/co-workers/offices/landlords or about my cuddly-cute pets. I’m sure you are, too. Not.


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  1. 26th November 2016
    4:00 pm

    EU-Sklave flag

    Geht einwandfrei, habs mit einer 2,5Zoll 160GB HD ohne Probleme geschafft, auch wird diese Platte nun im WinSetupFromUSB Programm als USB drive erkannt.

  2. 5th July 2016
    9:04 pm

    Ginchen flag

    Als ich es zuletzt mit einem USB-Stick versuchte, stellte ich auch später fest, dass es nicht funktioniert hat. Hatte aber bisher noch keine Zeit, das näher zu untersuchen. Evtl. muss man das Programm als Admin starten? Was Besseres fällt mir jetzt gerade nicht ein. :)

  3. 22nd June 2016
    11:09 am

    Jannik flag


    ich habe mir vor 1 Woche eine Festplatte Intenso gekauft, welche auch auf gut bewertet wurde. Allerdings habe ich die Schritte hier versucht und muss sagen, dass es bei mir nicht funktioniert. Was mache ich denn falsch?


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