How to Find Out If My External Hard Drive Is a FAT32 or an NTFS?

By Melissa King

Today's computers include large-capacity hard drives, but you may find that this space still fills up rapidly. If this happens, an external hard drive is an ideal way to store files and programs that won't fit on your computer. Your external hard drive is formatted as one of two file systems: FAT32 or NTFS. Each format offers different features and benefits like increased security and file compression. If you want to know the capabilities of your hard drive, it's possible to find out out whether it is NTFS or FAT32.

Step 1

Connect your external hard drive to your computer. Most hard drive connect with a USB or FireWire cable. Your external hard drive may also need to connect to a power outlet.

Step 2

Click "Start" and "Computer." Under "Hard Disk Drives," right-click on the name of the external drive.

Step 3

Click "Properties." Look next to "File system"; Windows will indicate whether the drive is NTFS or FAT32.