Fat 32, Windows 7 and related issues.

The stereo system in my new car supports USB devices for the playback of MP3 audio files, which is quite useful. These have to be formatted as FAT32 devices and I thought it would be fun to see if I could get the in-car system to work with a small hard disk to give me a really wide choice of music and spoken word programmes for long journeys.

So a 500GB 2.5" SATA drive was fitted into a small USB to SATA case convertor and plugged into my Windows 7 box to be partitioned, formated and have some music copied to it.

And that's when the first problem arose. It seems that even under the CLI onecan't make a disk FAT32 if it's bigger than 32GB.

Microsoft say...

"Although Windows 2000 and Windows XP Professional can mount FAT32 volumes of any size, Windows 2000 and Windows XP Professional can format FAT32 volumes up to 32 GB only. Use NTFS to format larger volumes. For more information about the benefits of formatting Windows XP Professional volumes by using NTFS, see 'Advantages of Using NTFS' earlier in this chapter."

Windows XP Resource Kit > ch 13 > FAT32 File


All of which is fine but a bit of a waste of a 500GB hard disk. The solution was to download a third part tool which does allow big FAT32 drives to be created - FAT32format from Ridgecrop software. This is not Open source but is freeware and works under Windows 7 and is not bloatware. Recommended.

So now I can copy lots of files onto my USB hard disk for use in the car - the only problem I have now is there seems to be a limit of about 450 ~ 500 folders beyond which the car stereo gives up.. not a FAT32 'thing' I suspect but some quirk in the Volvo audio system.