By Emily / Last Updated October 13, 2019

About FAT32 and Ext4

FAT32 (File Allocation Table 32) is one of the oldest of the three file systems (NTFS, exFAT and FAT32) available for Windows. With better compatibility, it can be recognized in Windows and Mac. It only supports individual files less than 4GB in size and its single partition could not surpass 2TB.

Ext4 (fourth extended file system) is a journaling file system for Linux, developed as the successor to Ext3. It is with better performance, reliability, and capacity while requiring minimal maintenance. It can support volumes with sizes up to 1 EB and files with sizes up to 16 TB.

“Need to convert FAT32 to Ext4 under Windows”

Recently, my uncle gave me an old SanDisk flash drive, which was used in Windows PC, and formatted as FAT32 before. But now I want it an Ext partition 4 to hold Linux operating system, so that I can dual boot my computer from both Windows and Linux. So is this possible and how to I go about converting this FAT32 drive to Ext4 under Windows? Thank you.

Failed to convert FAT32 to Ext4 via Windows built-in tools

When it comes to converting file systems of hard drive in Windows 10/8/7, you can try Windows built-in formatting tools like Disk Management, Windows File Explorer as well as Diskpart service, which can work well in formatting partitions to different file system in most cases. But for formatting FAT32 to Ext4, they will let you down.

In Disk Management and File Explorer, you are only offered NTFS, FAT32 and exFAT to choose as a file system during the formatting process. In Diskpart, when you input the command: format fs=ext4, you will get a Virtual Disk Service error: The file system is incompatible.


Successfully Convert FAT32 to Ext4 via partition manager software

From content above, we can know that it is not so easy to change FAT32 partition to Ext4 via the traditional formatting tools. That’s mainly because Ext4 cannot be recognized by Windows operating system.

Therefore, you need a third party partition manager software - AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. This freeware It can help you easily format FAT32 partition to Ext4/3/2 in Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP. Besides, its “NTFS & FAT32 Converter” enables you to change file system between NTFS and FAT32 directly without formatting.

In order to format FAT32 to Ext4 without data loss, you can first copy partition to another drive for data backup. Then follow the steps:

(1) Download this freeware. Install and run it. Right-click on the FAT32 partition and choose “Format Partition” in the drop-down menu.

Format FAT32 Partition

(2) In this mini window, choose “Ext4” file system for this partition and click “OK”.

Choose Ext4

Tip: you can change the partition label and adjust the cluster size as you need right here.

(3) Back to the main interface, click” Apply” to execute this file system conversion operation.



Now you learn how to convert FAT32 to Ext4 under Windows operating system. AOMEI Partition Assistant is a more versatile disk manager tool than Windows built-in utilities. It can also help deal with other tricky formatting tasks like formatting RAW drive, corrupted drives and write-protected disk.

More advanced features can be found in AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. For example, you can migrate OS partition between MBR and GPT disks, recover lost partitions, optimize SSD performance, or securely erase all data from SSD drives.