By Emily / Last Updated October 28, 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 do I go about converting this FAT32 drive to Ext4 under Windows? Thank you.”

Can Windows convert FAT32 to Ext4?

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 a 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.

Diskpart

How to successfully convert FAT32 to Ext4 without data loss?

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.

So, here we bring a professional FAT32 to Ext4 converter - AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. This freeware 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, take the following steps:

Step 1. Back up data on the FAT32 partition to another storage device

Because formatting process will delete everything on the target partition, to ensure data security, you have to back up data on the FAT32 volume. You can use “Ctrl+C” and “Ctrl+V” to move important files from this partition to another storage device if you just need to back up a small amount of data.

If you have to back up a large amount of data, including applications, game consoles, and more, you can try free AOMEI Backupper Standard.

Step 2. Format FAT32 to Ext4 via AOMEI Partition Manager

Now, you can download the freeware and install it on your Windows computer.

(1) Run AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. 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.

Proceed

Wait for seconds, the FAT32 partition will be converted into Ext4. But you cannot see it in Windows File Explorer as Windows cannot recognize Ext file system.

Step 3. Restore the backup to Ext4 partition

At last, you have to move everything you have backed up, or restore the backup image to the Ext4 partition.

Conclusion

Now you learn how to convert FAT32 to Ext4 without data loss 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 will be available if you upgrade to AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. For example, you can recover lost partitions, migrate OS partition between MBR and GPT disks, optimize SSD performance, or securely erase all data from SSD drives.