Format New External Drive as an NTFS Partition

A new Western Digital external drive is configured by default out of the box as a FAT32 partition. The maximum file size on a FAT32 partition is 4gb. This may be a problem for larger files, such as video files, disk images, or large Outlook PST files. When trying to copy files to the drive you may get prompted to do a disk clean up but this will not resolve the problem. You could save the file to an NTFS partition or a DVD.

To get around this problem or prevent it from being a problem later you could format the drive as an NTFS partition. NTFS partitions have a file size limit only limited by the partition size.

WARNING: All data on the external hard drive will be erased by this procedure. If you have already saved files to the drive that you want to keep then don’t format the drive.

  1. Connect the external drive to the computer.
  2. Open "Computer" (there are multiple ways this can be done).
    • In Windows 7, this can be done by clicking the start button and choosing "Computer" from the right panel of the menu.

      Computer option in the start menu

    • In Windows 8, you can choose the "This PC" tile from the start screen. 

      This PC tile

  3. Right click on the drive icon for the external drive and choose "Format" from the menu. NOTE: Be sure you selected the correct drive icon for the “My Passport” external drive. 

  4. Select NTFS for the File System type and check the Quick Format checkbox. 

  5. Click Start. The process will take less than a minute.
  6. Select "OK" in the completion window to finish. 
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