How to Convert exFAT to FAT32 without Losing Data

Updated to Troubleshooting Tips by William on Jan 5, 2024 | Approved by Jennifer Allen

exFAT is a file system format developed by Microsoft with low storage overhead and fast file reading and writing speeds, so it is widely used in removable storage media. However, due to its lack of journaling capabilities, limited metadata support, and compatibility with older systems, you may want to convert it to FAT32 to use this storage device better. Here, you can easily convert exFAT to FAT32 without losing data in 3 ways. Whether you're a Windows or a Mac user, follow this comprehensive guide to change format from exFAT to FAT32!

Quick Navigation
Part1. What are the Differences Between exFAT and FAT32?
Part2. Preparations Before Changing Format from exFAT to FAT32
Part3. How to Convert exFAT to FAT 32 in Windows 10/11
Part4. How to Change exFAT to FAT32 on Mac
Part5. How to Format exFAT to FAT 32 on Linux
Part6. How to Recover Data Losing While Converting exFAT to FAT 32
Part7. FAQs

What are the Differences Between exFAT and FAT32?

exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table) and FAT32 (File Allocation Table 32) are both file systems for organizing and storing data on storage devices. Here are the main differences between the two:

When choosing between exFAT and FAT32, consider the size of individual files you need to store, the total storage capacity required, and the compatibility with the OS you will be using.

Preparations Before Changing Format from exFAT to FAT32

Do you have an SD card that you want to format from exFAT to FAT32? Are you looking for an exFAT to FAT32 converter for your USB flash drive? Is data loss during the conversion your biggest concern? If all these questions hit your brain hard, breathe deeply and keep reading to know the answers.

Remember, data backup is the first or the preparatory step for converting exFAT to FAT32. During the conversion process, the system will clear the data on the hard disk, generate boot sector information, initialize the FAT table, mark logical bad sectors, etc. So, to keep data safe and secure, backup is a must.

iBeesoft DBackup is a professional tool that enables you to carry out file, drive, or system backup. It also securely protects data on the computer, external hard drives, flash drives, and USB drives.

Once you complete the backup, it’s finally time for conversion. There are three ways you can convert exFAT to FAT32 without losing data. Let’s discuss each of them!

How to Convert exFAT to FAT 32 in Windows 10/11

Way 1. Using Disk Management

Regarding effectiveness, formatting exFAT to FAT32 using the Disk Management method is the best for Windows. It's an in-built partition manager on Windows that helps in performing simple operations like deleting, formatting, extending, creating, and shrinking partitions.

Now, let's see the steps to format exFAT to FAT32 using disk management!

  1. Connect your exFAT drive to the computer first.
  2. Right-click the Windows icon and select "Disk Management" from the menu on your screen.
  3. Next, from disk management, right-click on the exFAT device and click "Format."
  4. After setting the volume label, allocation unit size, and file system, in the targeted file system, select FAT32 and then click "OK."

During the process, all your data gets erased. That's why backup before formatting is essential. The exFAT partition will be changed to FAT32 on the main Window when the progress is complete.

That's it! Just a few steps and the file system changes. Once done, close Disk Management and use your storage drive.

Way 2. Using CMD

Another effective yet uncommon method to change exFAT to FAT32 is by using CMD. The procedure is complicated for beginners but not for IT administrators and professional Windows users.

Let's see what steps are involved to reformat exFAT to FAT32 via the CMD method.

  1. Click the "Start" icon and enter CMD.
  2. From the menu box on your screen, click "Command Prompt" and run as administrator.
  3. Now enter the following command lines:
    list disk
    select disk *(where * is the disk number of your exFAT device)
    create partition primary
    format FS=FAT32 quick

Now, you can go to the file manager and see that the file system of the target drive should change to FAT32.

How to Change exFAT to FAT32 on Mac

Way 1. From Disk Utility

Disk Utility is the Swiss Army Knife of Mac operating systems. It's a handy tool that solves multiple problems with just a few clicks. So, you can easily convert exFAT to FAT32 with the Disk Utility option. Let's see how to do it!

  1. Type the Disk utility in the search bar and open the application.
  2. Select your drive and click the "Erase" button at the top of the page.
  3. A new window will pop up. Here, select MS-DOS (FAT) from the drop-down menu.
  4. Once done, press Erase to format your storage drive.

After the formatting is complete, confirm the formatting by right-clicking your storage drive and selecting the "Get Info" option from the drop-down menu.

Way 1. Using command line

For Mac users, using the command line to solve problems may be unfamiliar. However, tools similar to Windows Command Prompt are still built into the system to perform various tasks, including format exfat to fat32. Here are the specific steps:

  1. Find Terminal in the Utilities folder located in the Applications folder.
  2. After opening it, type the following command:

    diskutil list
    diskutil unmountDisk /dev/diskX (replace "X" is you drive number)
    sudo diskutil eraseDisk FAT32 NAME MBRFormat /dev/diskX (replace "NAME" with the desired name for the new drive)
  3. Type your administrator password. Type it in and press Enter. You won't see any characters or asterisks while entering the password. Press Enter again to confirm the password.

The conversion process will begin, and the Terminal will display the progress. Once completed, you'll see a message indicating the successful conversion.

How to Format exFAT to FAT 32 on Linux

You can use the "mkfs" command to convert the file system of the storage device from exfat to FAT32. You can do this:

  1. Open a terminal emulator, such as GNOME Terminal or Konsole.
  2. Enter the following commands in sequence:

    fdisk -l
    sudo umount /dev/sdb1
    sudo mkfs.vfat /dev/sdX
  3. Confirm the action and proceed by typing "y" or "yes" when prompted.

Please ensure you have selected the correct device name before formatting, as it will erase all items on the selected disk.

How to Recover Data Losing While Converting exFAT to FAT 32

If you forgot to back up the data from the drive before doing the exFAT to FAT32 converting, you must see the disk is empty after you do it. In this case, follow the steps below to try and restore lost files during exFAT to FAT32 conversion. The sooner you perform the data recovery process, the better results you may get.

  1. Download and install iBeesoft Data Recovery software on your computer, avoiding saving it to the hard drive from where you’re expected to recover data.
    Download for Windows Download for macOS
  2. Launch it and select the hard drive displayed in the list in the first window to scan.
  3. Preview the recovered files from the result window before you save them.
  4. Select files and click "Recover" Save them to your computer.

Please note that data covering exFAT to FAT32 may not be recovered. It depends on how you do the conversion and whether the files are overwritten. However, using data recovery software is the first and last resort to get it done.



exFAT and FAT32 are file allocation tables with similarities and differences. For instance, both serve data storage purposes, but exFAT has more storage limits. Likewise, exFAT is faster than FAT32. Still, FAT32 is the most compatible file system. Through the method provided in this article, you can easily convert exFAT drives into FAT32 without using any exFAT to FAT32 converter tool.