FAT32 External HDD enclosure

Hi all,

A couple of days ago I purchased a fairly cheap external HDD enclosure. I grabbed a spare drive off the shelf, and plugged it into the enclosure. I plugged the enclosure in to my computer and into the power, and booted up.

I couldnt see the drive in my computer, so i went into disk management thinking i needed to format it. I couldnt find the drive in there either.

Confused, I unplugged the drive from the enclosure and plugged it in to the computer itself. This time it appeared in disk management. I formatted the drive, and unplugged it. I plugged it back into the enclosure, but still could not find the drive in either my computer or disk management. What the?

I grabbed the manual of the enclosure and read through it, and at the end, came across “For new HDD: Before connecting USB External BOX, please partition and format your HDD into FAT16 or FAT32 before connecting USB external BOX.”

I know this isn’t written in the best English, but i quoted directly from the instructions.

Reading this, I tried to format the drive in windows Vista, but unfortunately it only enables you to select the NTFS filesystem.

So, to my question.

How can I format the drive to FAT32, and is there any drawbacks?

I googled and came up with a couple of programs, but they all seemed fairly dodgy. I’ve heard this can be done with the command line with a command called convert.

Something like:
CONVERT volume X /FS:FAT32
Where X is the volume name

Will this work? :S

Or can someone recommend a program (preferred.)



normally, there shouldn’t be a problem with NTFS formatted discs.
Make sure, the HDD is jumpered as Master or “Single” (depends on HDD model). Also, very old drives (had some 8 GB drive lying around) often refuse to work totally if connected to an enclosure.

As for FAT32 formatting: try h2format (http://www.heise.de/ct/ftp/ctsi.shtml). I am not sure if there is some english user interface or documentation.
Also, you may check if there was a software CD that came with your enclosure. They often provide a tool for formatting also.

Drawback of FAT32 is the lack of user permissions, and the maximum file size is limited to 4 GB.


Well now I’ve scrapped the 40gb drive and got myself a shiny new WD320gb. I plugged it into my computer (not in the enclosure), but Vista says it needs a driver, and cannot find one automatically. I went to the WD site but it seems to be down.


There is something wrong with your Windows installation. There is absolutely no driver needed to operate a HDD :confused:

Maybe trying to allocate the drive first so it can be installed on the OS. You can do this under disk management.