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Disk Formatting for cRIO Usage


This is a really quick post about a dead simple task that we needed to do recently, which was logging data to an external USB drive on a cRIO, really simple, right, just plug it in! All NI Real-Time devices support FAT32 format, but our 1TB SSD drive that we ordered had a exFAT file system, incompatible with our cRIO.


We needed to format the SSD to use the FAT32 file system, easy peasy, plug it into our laptop and format. Unfortunately not, Windows only allows you to format drives up 32GB in size, so back to the drawing board.

To format our 1TB drive we followed these steps, hopefully this will help others out!

  1. Plug the drive into the USB port
  2. Open the command prompt
  3. Open Diskpart by typing diskpart and accepting administrator privileges
  4. In diskpart type “list disk“ then Enter to list all disks on the PC and make note of the disk number of the drive
  5. In diskpart type “select ” then Enter e.g., “select disk 1” to select the drive
  6. In diskpart type “clean” then Enter to remove all data and partitions from the drive
  7. Repeat steps 4&5 to reselect the drive
  8. In diskpart type “create partition primary” then Enter to create the partition
  9. In diskpart type “list partition” then Enter and confirm the partition is created
  10. In diskpart type “assign letter=” e.g., “assign letter=U” to assign the letter “U” to the drive (this is the letter of the first drive when you plug a USB drive into the cRIO)
  11. Windows should now recognise the drive and the following pop-up should appear.

  1. Cancel the pop-up as Windows cannot format FAT32 of more than 32MB
  2. Close the command prompt
  3. Download FAT32format GUI (GUIFormat) (
  4. Unzip the download and run the appropriate executable (x86 or x64 dependent upon operating system).
  5. Select the drive to format and press start

  1. Wait for completion.

And, you're done! Now for a shameless plug of our user group!

Details of our next MLUG which is on 20th July, can be found here and if you want to check out past events, go to our YouTube channel

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