FAT32 Data Recovery | Recover Files from FAT32 SD Cards and Hard Drives

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Summary: Recovering lost or deleted files from a FAT32 file system requires the right tools and techniques. FAT32 is a common file system used on external drives, USB drives, and some internal drives. In this article we show you how to recover data from FAT32 file system using a specialized data recovery software-Remo Recover.

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Published on
May 27, 2020
Updated on
October 18, 2023

In this article, we will help you recover your FAT32 File system using professional data recovery software and also guide you to repair damaged or corrupt FAT32 file system using 4 DIY methods. Keep reading!

The below picture showcases the scenario where a user happened to damage his external hard disk drive, which was formatted in the FAT32 file system, and is looking to recover data. This can happen to you as well. Waste no time. Go through this article. We have demonstrated how we recovered data from the FAT32 File system. You can simply follow the steps and recover your data as well.

Source: Reddit

What is FAT32 File System?

FAT32 is one of the earlier file systems that Microsoft introduced. FAT, which stands for File Allocation Table, has different file systems like FAT12, FAT16, and FAT32.

With both of its earlier versions being out of use, FAT32 is still used most commonly in USB flash drives, SD cards, and sometimes in hard drives.

Here is a quick comparison of Features between FAT 32 and NTFS File Systems:

File System FeatureFAT 32NTFS
Max. File NameUp to 8.3 charactersUp to 255 characters
Max. File SizeUp to 4 GBUp to 16 TB
File/Folder EncryptionNot supportedSupported
Fault ToleranceNo auto-repairAuto-detect and repair
SecurityNetwork securityLocal and network security
CompressionNot supportedSupported
ConversionCan convert to NTFSCannot convert to FAT 32
CompatibilityWindows 95/98/2K/2k3/XPWindows NT/2K/XP/Vista/7

With the FAT32 file system mostly used by external storage devices, data loss is not an uncommon issue. Before moving on to recovering deleted files from the FAT32 file system, let us have a look at some of the reasons behind data loss on FAT32 drives or partitions.

How Does Data Loss Happen in FAT32 File System?

  • Accidentally formatting the drive or partition is the most common reason for data loss on FAT32 or any file system.
  • A corrupt partition with a FAT32 file system can also contribute to data loss.
  • An improper or failed conversion of FAT to NTFS or any other file system.
  • Virus intrusion can corrupt the file system and make your hard drive faulty.
  • Improper partitioning or repartitioning of the drive using disk management.

How To Recover Data From FAT32?

To recover data from a formatted USB with a FAT32 file system, use Remo Recover and follow the below-mentioned steps:

  • Connect the USB drive formatted with the FAT32 file system to your computer.
  • Download and install Remo Recover 6.0 on your computer.
  • Launch Remo Recover software and select the USB drive and click on Scan.
usb connected to remo recover
  • Go to Dynamic Recovery View to see the Deep Scan in progress. You can find the data of the FAT32 file system in the Lost and Found folder.
dynamic recovery view
  • Preview the recovered files to verify the integrity of the data.
Preview of recovered data from FAT32 file system
  • If you are satisfied with the recovery process, you can select the files you are looking for and save them to the desired location.

Free Methods to Repair and Recover the FAT32 File System

Below we have added 4 proven methods that can repair and recover your FAT32 file system for free:

Method 1: Repair and Recover the Corrupted FAT32 File System with Command Prompt

If you are trying to recover data from an inaccessible or corrupt hard drive, then you can try repairing the FAT32 formatted file system using CHKDSK.

CHKDSK is a command in Windows that will look for errors in the file system.

Follow the below-mentioned methods to repair the FAT32 drive using CHKDSK and recover data as well:

  • Ensure the FAT32 file system drive is connected to your computer.
  • Open the command prompt by typing cmd in the search bar and hitting Enter.
  • Right-click on cmd.exe and select the Run as Administrator option.
  • In the window, type chkdsk followed by the drive letter that is formatted with FAT32, a colon, and /f
    Eg: chkdsk h: /f Where h is the drive letter

After you enter the command and hit enter, your Windows will take several minutes to verify your FAT32 file system. By the end of it, if you see a text saying Windows has made corrections to the file system, then you have successfully repaired your FAT32 file system and recovered data.

If the repairing FAT32 hard drive didn’t help you recover data or if you have a formatted FAT32 drive, then it is recommended to make use of Remo's hard drive recovery software to restore data.

Method 2: Use System File Checker to Repair a Corrupted FAT32 File System in Windows

The System File Checker is a built-in tool in Windows that checks the health of your system files and repairs the issue if it finds any. 

Here are the steps to use the System File Checker to repair a corrupted or missing FAT32 file system:

  • Open the Command Prompt as an administrator.
  • Type "sfc /scannow" and press Enter.
  • Wait for the scanning process to complete. This may take some time.
  • If any errors are found, SFC will attempt to repair them automatically.

After running this tool, restart your computer and see if the issue with the FAT32 file system has been resolved. If it's resolved, congratulations if not, then proceed to the next method.

Method 3: Recover Files From FAT32 File System Using System Restore

System Restore is a Windows built-in feature that can help recover files and system settings to an earlier state when the system was working properly. It is mainly used to restore the system files and settings, but the good part is it can also be used to recover certain files on a FAT32 file system.

Note: This method will only work if you enable system restore in the past. Also, this method is not that effective while dealing with damaged or corrupted FAT32 file systems.

Here's how to use System Restore to recover files on a FAT32 file system:

  • Open the Control Panel and click on System and Security".
  • Click on System and then System Protection.
  • Click on System Restore and select a restore point from a time when the file system was working properly.
  • Follow the prompts to complete the System Restore process.

Once the restore process is finished, check if you are able to fix the issue with your FAT32 file system. If this method also didn’t work, proceed to the next method.

Method 4: Use Windows Disk Management Tool to Recover a FAT32 File System

If you're experiencing issues with a corrupted FAT32 file system, you can try using the Windows Disk Management tool to recover it. Here's how:

  • Right-click on the start menu and select Disk Management.
  • Now, Find your drive with the corrupted FAT32 file system and right-click on it.
  • Select Properties from the context menu.
  • Go to the Tools tab and click on the Check button under the Error-checking section.
  • Now, click on Scan Drive, this tool will run a scan and repair your FAT32 drive.

If you've tried all the above methods but still can't recover your data from a corrupted FAT32 file system, it might be time to use one of the best partition recovery software, Remo Recover. Although free methods can be hit or miss, many users worldwide have found Remo Recover to be their one-stop data recovery solution.

Users on trusted review platforms such as Trustpilot have given Remo Recover high ratings and positive feedback, which speaks to the tool's reliability.

Don't wait any longer to recover your data from your FAT32 drive. Download Remo Recover for free now and get back your lost files.

Remo Recover boasts a 4.5⭐️ rating on Trustpilot, solidifying its position as a leading file recovery tool in 2023.

3 Tips to Never Lose Your Data From FAT32 Drives

  • Regular backup of data is the key to never losing your data. Switching to smart backup options like cloud backup can be a permanent solution for data loss.
  • Never proceed with process partitioning or disk management without a proper guide if you are not well aware of it.
  • Always protect your computer with trusted antivirus software and just in case you happen to lose data, make sure you make a smart choice of choosing Remo to recover your data.


We hope this article helped you recover data from Fat32 Partition or File System; if you have any further queries, please make use of the comment section below.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to recover data from USB FAT32?

To recover data from a FAT32 USB drive, follow these steps using Remo Recover:
1. Firstly, download and install Remo Recover.
2. Next, connect the USB drive to your computer.
3. Then, launch Remo Recover and select the FAT32 USB drive.
4. Proceed by scanning the drive for recoverable files.
5. Additionally, preview the recovered files.
6. Select and recover the desired files to a chosen location.

How do I recover a corrupted FAT32 partition?

To Recover a Corrupt FAT32 Partition, all you have to do is download and install the Remo Recover Software and follow the above-mentioned steps.

How to Format to FAT32 for USB or External Hard Drive in Windows 10?

Follow the below simple steps to Format to FAT32 for USB or external hard drive in Windows 10

1. Connect the USB or external hard drive to your Windows 10 PC.
2. Now, open the File Explorer, locate and right-click on the USB drive, and select the "Format" option.
3. Set the FAT32 as the target file system, tick the "Quick Format," and click "Start" to start the formatting.
4. Wait till the process ends and click on "OK" to confirm. And now your USB is FAT32.

Does Linux support the FAT32 file system?

Yes, Linux supports the FAT32 file system and the other two types of FAT file systems (FAT12 and FAT16).

All Linux filesystem drivers are designed to recognize and support all three FAT types, which means that any storage device formatted in FAT32 can be accessed and read from a Linux computer without any compatibility issues.

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