14 January 2010

Formatting a Large HDD to FAT32

When I used to format HDDs or USB drives I never really thought about the different options available, like NTFS, FAT or FAT32. As long as it worked, right? And they all did.

Though there have been times when a USB drive wasn't recognized for no discernible reason, I attributed these instances to cheap USB drives. It wasn't until recently when my PS3 wouldn't recognize a USB drive that I gained enough motivation to investigate.

Turns out the PS3 will only recognize FAT32-formatted disks. It also turns out that FAT32 is format that's pretty much universally recognized by various O/S.

Unfortunately, while Windows Vista will recognize HDDs of any size formatted as FAT32, Vista itself will not -- by design -- format anything larger than 32GB as FAT32. Eh?

I think that deserves another, emphatic eh?! Especially as HDDs these days are much, much, much larger than 32GB, and I don't really want to partition a 1-2TB HDD 30-60 times.

FAT32 does have limitations, however, which is at least in part why Microsoft prefers formatting HDDs via NTFS. FAT32 is only useful for up to 2TB, I gather, and individual files can't be larger than 4GB.

I hope there are other technical issues that contributed to Microsoft's decision to not allow formatting anything larger than 32GB in FAT32, though frankly I can't be bothered to find out if there are.

All I wanted to do was format a 500GB external HDD via FAT32.

The first potential solution I found was appealing and simple. In Vista, open the DOS/command window as an adminstrator, format /FS:FAT32 x: Although this appeared to work at first ultimately an error message came up stating the drive was too big.

The second and successful solution I discovered was utilizing a little FAT32 format routine (free!) from Ridgecrop Consultants Ltd.. A simple matter of putting the exe file on my computer and running it (fat32format x:) from the command/DOS window allowed me to format my 500GB as FAT32 in a single partition.

Anywhoo, apparently I can now hook up my FAT32-formatted external 500GB HDD to my PS3 via USB for increased storage space, or do a complete backup of my PS3 should I so desire.

Oh yeah, I'm sure everyone is already aware of this but, in the interest of preventing a nasty surprise, I feel compelled to unnecessarily remind anyone reading this post that formatting a disk will wipe the HDD clean of any data or files. Backup as appropriate.

08 January 2010

Hamilton's Misnomer?

When I moved to the Land of Tim Hortons I found it somewhat confusing, direction wise.

The place I'm looking for is on the mountain? What mountain? I don't see a mountain.

I learned that Hamilton is typically divided in two, "The mountain" and downtown. The latter is next to Lake Ontario with the former adjacent to the south. Perhaps it's because I grew up in B.C. with the Rocky Mountains, but there's no way no how I'm ever going to call Hamilton's mountain "The mountain."

Of course the Rockies are geological youths, and not all mountains appear like the Rockies. Still, "The mountain" at best is a plateau. There's an escarpment, and then it's flat. F-L-A-T.

Perhaps at one time it was a real mountain and 90% of it was carved off for city development and expansion. I don't know. But as only a recent resident of the Land of Tim Hortons I'd feel silly describing it as one.