How to Format SD Card to FAT32 for Pi 3 – Detailed Guide

In this post, I’ll show you how to get around Micro-SD forming or reformatting issue related to raspberry pi requiring fat32 for installation of OS such as Noobs.

How to Format SD Card to FAT32 for Pi 3

Notably, in the installing of Raspberry Pi OS, any SD card larger than 32GB (which usually is the SDXC type) will come in the exFAT format that is not recognized by Raspberry Pi.

The bootloader for Raspberry Pi is non-updateable and is GPU-integrated will only support either FAT16 or FAT32 micro-SD filesystems.

How to Format SD Card to FAT32 for Pi 3


Below are the gadgets you’ll require in the formatting process. However, most of the devices will come with a starter kit of your Raspberry Pi. (1) Pi power supply (2) Best original micro-SD Card for Raspberry Pi 3 (3) Raspberry Pi compatible screen (4) USB keyboard and mouse and (5) Micro USB cable and HDMI cable.

But before formatting or reformatting the SD card

Well, first thing first with your SD card: backup all the files in the SDS card, recover crucial data that you could have recently lost access to, and ensure you have a suitable adaptor or card reader to allow the formatting process to happen effectively.

FAT32 micro-SD formatting in Mac OS & Linux

For Mac OS & Linux, the FAT32 formatting tools are in-built to their systems. However, the tools could be branded MS-DOS or FAT depending on the machine type.

Therefore, for Linux (Ubuntu) you’ll only need to erase the current exFAT partition and make the FAT32 as the primary partition, and finally, install NOOBS. For the Mac, you’ll need to use the Disk Utility app.

FAT32 micro-SD formatting on Windows

As we’ve already mentioned, window’s disk partitioning tool will only support formatting of only 32GB and below format micro-SD.

Therefore, for any SD card that is larger than 32GB which you’ll be using with the Raspberry Pi, we’ll require downloading other third-party tools.

In this post, I recommend using the FAT32 Format tool that will download as a guiformat.exe and won’t require installation.

Now, the hard part in the FAT32 formatting is already done!

Next, run your SD Formatter to erase to ensure that all the partitions on your SD are entirely erased.

Next step will be to run your guiformat.exe: FAT32 Format tool. Select the drive with the Micro-SD you need to format to FAT32 and let the other options remain at “default.”

Finally, select “Start.”

Wait for the formatting process to happen automatically. Once done, complete the installation of the NOOBS.

However: if your chosen FAT32 Format tool doesn’t work, you can choose either EaseUS Partition Manager or the MiniTool Partition Wizard to perform the same task.


Finally, we have successfully learned how to format your 64GB or above micro-SD card can be formatted to the FAT32 format for use in your Raspberry Pi 3.

Important considerations to make as outlined in this guide are determining the type of operating system on your computer, using the correct third party formatting tool, using original micro-SD cards and following the formatting instructions to the letter.

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