Is there any disadvantage(s) of using a 500GB external hard drive formatted as FAT-32 or is it simply a choice?

I am asking this because I am an owner of a PS3 and it only recognizes FAT-32 formatted drives. I want the drive to be recognized on the PS3 but I also will use it with multiple computers.

My question is: Will I suffer any major drawback(s) if I have the drive formatted as FAT32?

1 Answer 1


NTFS is in general a more robust file system, but the main obstacle with FAT32 that I run into is the 4GB file size limit - you can't have a single file larger than 4GB, which rules out certain things like DVD images or HD movies, etc.

Apart from that, NTFS is a journaled FS and generally more resilient to corruption and fragmentation. (There are a whole host of additional features that NTFS adds, from hard links to better access controls, but they aren't always relevant for your type of usage.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NTFS has quite a bit more detailed information.

Most of this isn't likely to matter if you're careful and keep your data backed up; I use FAT32 on at least one external hard drive and haven't had any issues apart from the file size thing, but I also don't use it for long-term storage of anything.

  • I would hope that the PS3 gets exFAT support soon, which I think would be a reasonable alternative to NTFS in this case.
    – vcsjones
    Dec 24, 2010 at 3:18
  • @Downvoter: care to explain your downvote?
    – user55325
    Jun 15, 2011 at 15:36
  • Permissions as well: ACLs are unavailable with FAT32. If you want to have finely grained permissions, you can not. Aug 23, 2011 at 18:32
  • Yes, this is what I meant by "better access controls." Thanks for being more specific - I don't know that this would be a significant issue for the average home user, though.
    – user55325
    Aug 29, 2011 at 17:35

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