Flash Drive Showing 200MB on Windows

Well, I have 4GB USB Stick and decided to format as FAT32 using Disk Utility to use this flash disk both on Mac & Windows. Everything works fine on Mac, but not on Windows. When I insert the flash drive on a Windows computer, Windows (XP, Vista..etc) sees the USB Stick as removable media and will not let me open the flash drive to view the contents, it only forces me to format the stick at 200MB only. The stick is already formatted on Mac OS X and working fine on OS X with correct size.
Why ? When you format your flash drive using Disk Utility, it creates a 200 MB protective partition in front of the main partition. OS X ignores this partition and will see the entire flash drive as one partition.
You need to reformat the flash drive using additional tools. There are plenty of them like GParted (Gnome Partition Edior). But if you want a quick solution without any trouble, I recommend you HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool. This small application runs on Windows and all kinds of flash drives. When you format your flash drive using these utilities, you can use your stick on multiple platforms without any problem.

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14 Comments to “Flash Drive Showing 200MB on Windows”

  1. MacUser says:

    It’s not necessary to use third party tools to solve this problem.
    The main reason why Windows can’t access more than 200MB and can’t format the whole drive is because, if you format the USB drive with default settings on OS X, no MBR is created.

    To create an MBR, ersase the USB drive on OS X. Create a new FAT partition and before you apply your settings click on options and change the settings from GUID partition table to Master Boot Record.

    This way you will be able to access the whole space of the drive on Windows and OS X.

  2. Can says:

    @MacUser: Good solution, thanks…

  3. Yim says:

    @MacUser: Thank you for the tip, I love you.

  4. steve says:

    @MACUSER JESUS! AFTER YEARS OF SUFFERING!! THE ANSWER COMES IN 2010 AUGUST 3RD!!
    WOO HOO!!

  5. Alja says:

    @MacUser: You got me out of possibly the worst 15 minutes of my life, and for that I thank you.

  6. James says:

    Thanks a lot. Wish I had known this *before* driving 30 miles to a print shop with my artwork on FAT-formatted USB stick, only to find out that it’s unreadable except for an empty 200mb partition.

  7. SSS says:

    Thanks.
    This problem was driving me crazy until fixed!

  8. lucas - anápolis/brasil says:

    thanks to Worachai(Thailand) from answer, work 100% perfect and simple to me!!

  9. rajesh rao, india says:

    superb solution, thanks a lot

  10. Max Malm says:

    Hey man. Thank you!

  11. asdff says:

    what if i only have a pc?¿

  12. This is a really good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate info… Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read article!

  13. JohnWayne2010 says:

    This worked for me as well. I was using disk utility on my mac and I selected the GUID option as well not knowing it would make windows freak out. MBR option instantly fixed my 200mb partition problem. Thanks You.

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