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Re-Formatting A Large Capacity USB Flash Drive


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#1 Tumbo

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 11:23 PM

I recently purchased a 64gb SanDisk Cruzer USB Flash Drive. I purchased the drive to use exclusively with a digital picture frame. The digital picture frame apparently does not recognize this drive since it came pre-formatted exFat. The digital picture frame does recognize my other smaller USB Flash Drives which are formatted Fat32.

My question is: Is it possible to reformat this new 64gb USB Flash Drive to Fat32 (or make some other change) so that I may use it with my digital picture frame? If so, what is the best way to go about doing this as it does not seem to be an option via right clicking on the drive and selecting format, or via My Computer/Manage/Disk Management?

Thanks in advance -

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#2 coxchris

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 11:05 AM

Yes you can just be sure you select FAT32

Check if this model of the picture frame supports FAT32

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#3 FlannelBack

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 12:32 PM

You will probably need the U3 LaunchPad Removal Tool from SanDisk in order to format the entire drive.

Have a look at the Wikipedia article on U3, in particular the section on Removal.

Edited by FlannelBack, 10 August 2012 - 12:32 PM.


#4 Tumbo

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 05:44 PM

Thank you for your replies.

I am not given an option to format to FAT32. I am using Windows XP. The only options are:

1. exFAT by right clicking on the drive and selecting format, and
2. NTFS by right clicking on the drive and selecting format under Disk Management.

I am still fairly certain that I need to reformat to FAT32. I tried this disk with my TV, which has a USB connection, and it does not recognize the disk. The TV Owner's Maunal says the disk has to be "Please use only a USB storage device which was formatted as a FAT32, NTFS file system provided with the Windows operating system. In case of a storage device formatted as a different utility programme which is not supported by Windows, it may not be recognized".

I've read some other threads outside of Bleepingcomputer and some people have recommended these tools:
http://www.pendriveapps.com/format-fat32-larger-than-32gb/
http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/Hard-Disk-Utils/Fat32Formatter.shtml

Any suggestions?


Regarding the U3 application, when I originally received the disk I cut/pasted all of the files from the disk into a folder on my desktop since I wanted to perform a check of the disk to make sure it was not a fake using USBFlashTools. The test went fine, but I am assuming the test removed the remaining U3 application since it re-formats the disk during the test, and I no longer get the U3 application opening when inserting the disk, even with a test with all of the original files copy/pasted back to disk. I could care less about the U3 application anyways...I never used it with my other <8gb capacity SanDisks.

Edited by Tumbo, 10 August 2012 - 07:19 PM.


#5 jhayz

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 08:53 PM

I am not given an option to format to FAT32

I always thought flash drives are always set to FAT32 as default...

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#6 FlannelBack

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 09:03 PM

I've never tried either of those utilities. So, can't make any kind of suggestion one way or the other.

Given this part of the T.V. Owner's Manual statement:

Please use only a USB storage device which was formatted as a FAT32, NTFS file system provided with the Windows operating system.

would suggest that the T.V. will support the NTFS file system. But that doesn't tell us what the digital picture frame supports. Have you tried an NTFS formatted flash drive in the picture frame? Or, for that matter in the T.V.?

This part of the Owner's Manual statement:

In case of a storage device formatted as a different utility programme which is not supported by Windows, it may not be recognized

may well indicate the test you ran, that reformatted the drive and those two utilities could be problematic.

Is there only one extra drive listed when you plug this particular flash drive into the computer? There is no "U3" drive listed? What is the current format since the test reformatted the drive?

I never use the "U3" launcher either, it's been a pain in the neck though, when I plug a "U3" stick into any other computers besides mine.

@jhayz. Think you're right, but in this case it seems Tumbo is bumping into two problems. The "U3" launcher and FAT32 doesn't support 64GB.

Edited by FlannelBack, 10 August 2012 - 09:06 PM.


#7 Tumbo

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 09:52 PM

From what I am reading, the larger Flash Drives (over 32GB) are set default as exFat:
http://kb.sandisk.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/289/kw/exfat%20to%20fat32
"Why can't I transfer a 4GB or larger file to my USB flash drive or memory card? This is due to FAT32 limitation. Files larger than 4GB can NOT be stored on a FAT32 volume. Formatting the flash drive as exFAT or NTFS will resolve this issue."


Oddly, none of my other smaller capacity flash drives (<8GB) will allow me to reformat to NTFS to try on the digital picture frame or TV. They only allow me to select FAT, exFAT or FAT32.

There is a drive listed when I plug the new flash drive into the computer. No U3 drive is listed. The current format is exFat. The drive seems to be working fine on both of my computers. It seems USB Flash Tools wiped U3 off during the format (which is good because I also can't stand it either). You can run a test on one of your drives here, and then reformat if you want to wipe U3 away:
http://www.sdean12.org/USBFlashTools.htm


So I'm still unsure as to whether to try one of those utilities, or keep asking around... I see the point of exFat is partially to be able to move bigger files onto the drive, over 4gb, and for other reasons, but for my purposes I am only going to load many much smaller individual digital images.

Edited by Tumbo, 10 August 2012 - 09:53 PM.


#8 Platypus

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 10:10 PM

exFAT is designed optimally for flash drives, and overcomes some limitations of FAT32 such as the 4GB filesize restriction.

Windows has an artificial inability to offer FAT32 on drives over 32GB. Probably the simplest way around it would be to boot from a Linux Live disc and format from Linux, which doesn't care about the size.
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#9 FlannelBack

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 10:21 PM

Platypus has a good point about using Linux.

There is, however a way to format a lower capacity USB flash stick to NTFS via Windows. It's been a while since I've done it so, will have to check notes and give it a run through before I give advice on how to. Maybe someone with the knowledge at their fingertips will step in before I get back. If not, I will have the steps for you shortly.

#10 Tumbo

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 10:30 PM

I have zero experience with Linux, so.....

#11 Platypus

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 10:37 PM

There is, however a way to format a lower capacity USB flash stick to NTFS via Windows.

We need to format a larger capacity drive to FAT32.
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#12 Platypus

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 10:43 PM

I have zero experience with Linux, so.....

An adventure...? :)

The GUI on a modern Linux Live usually works similarly enough to Windows for an unfamiliar user to operate, eg right click on a drive icon and choose the Format option etc. However another possibility is the HP Flash Drive Formatting Tool:

http://download.cnet.com/HP-USB-Disk-Storage-Format-Tool/3000-2094_4-10974082.html
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#13 Tumbo

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 10:48 PM


I have zero experience with Linux, so.....

An adventure...? :)

The GUI on a modern Linux Live usually works similarly enough to Windows for an unfamiliar user to operate, eg right click on a drive icon and choose the Format option etc. However another possibility is the HP Flash Drive Formatting Tool:

http://download.cnet.com/HP-USB-Disk-Storage-Format-Tool/3000-2094_4-10974082.html


That's funny, I was just looking at another tool on cnet when you made your post:
http://download.cnet.com/2Tware-Fat32Format/3000-2094_4-75623509.html#rateit

Yours, however, looks much more tested. I've also read about the HP tool on other sites as well. I *might* give that one a try....

#14 FlannelBack

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 11:09 PM

Sorry it took so long.

We need to format a larger capacity drive to FAT32.

Maybe, trying to find out if the digital picture frame will work with NTFS. If it does then problem hopefully solved. If not, then Linux is the best way to go.

To format a lower capacity USB flash drive. (This is for XP BTW)

From "My Computer":

Right click on the USB drive and then select; Properties > Hardware > then select/highlight the USB drive.
Click the "Properties" button > Click the "Policies" tab then click the "Optimize for Performance" radio button.
Click "Ok".

At this point you may get a message saying that hardware changes have been made and that you need to reboot, click "No"

Go back to "My Computer", right click on the USB drive and select "format". You should now see NTFS as a format option.

#15 Tumbo

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 11:10 PM

I went ahead and formatted the 64gb flash drive to FAT32 using the tool via the cnet link provided by Platypus, again here:
http://download.cnet.com/HP-USB-Disk-Storage-Format-Tool/3000-2094_4-10974082.html


The format was easy and quick - no problems.

I copied over a few pics to the flash drive, and hooked it up to my digital picture frame, and also to the TV - it is working good now. I'll work with the flash drive some more, and report back again...




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