How to Format WD external HDD to Fat32

By Tara Cantore

Most external hard drives, including those made by Western Digital, are released preloaded with the NTFS file system. You may need to format your disk to a FAT32 file system for compatibility with older operating systems or video game consoles such as the PlayStation 3. Windows 7 includes all the tools you'll need to get the job done.

Things You'll Need

  • Western Digital external HDD, A PC or Mac with an available USB port.

Step 1

Open the Start menu and right-click "Computer."

Step 2

Select "Manage," then click "Disk Management" in the left panel.

Step 3

Right-click your current Western Digital external hard drive and click "Delete Volume." Click "Yes" to confirm the request.

Step 4

Right-click the newly cleared drive and then click "New Simple Volume."

Step 5

Click "Next" until you see the "Format Partition" screen. Select "Format this volume with the following settings" and select "FAT32" from the drop-down menu next to "File system."

Step 6

Click "Next," then "Finish." The drive will be reformatted to FAT32.

Tips & Warnings

  • You will need to download a file extraction utility such as winzip to extract the files. This might sound scary to some but trust me it is easy. Download the free version of WinZip at The free version is the one that is marked download; not buy. The free version will let you unzip files but it won't let you compress them.
  • You will lose all data currently stored on the drive.