How to Recover FAT32 Partitions/exFAT Partitions?

Wondering how to recover FAT32 partitions? This article is a FAT32 partition recovery tutorial that can assist you to get back your deleted /lost partitions.


By Lora / Updated on November 28, 2022

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“How do I recover a FAT32 partition?”

FAT (File Allocation Table) is one of the file systems used on hard drives. It is highly compatible and easy, so, nowadays, FAT file systems are more frequently seen on flash drives, SD cards, floppy disks, etc.

But data loss will not bypass any storage devices. Some users using FAT32/exFAT storage devices are reporting partition loss.

Some users have accidentally deleted partitions from USB/SD cards. Not only FAT volumes, but a bunch of users also need to recover ext4 partitions after deletion.


Accidentally deleted the FAT32 partition on a USB stick


I lost a FAT32 disk partition. I would like to recover not only data but directory tree and file names. So I’d like to recover the whole deleted partition. Anyone can help me recover fat32 partition?


- Question from How-To Forum


When it comes to the reason for FAT32 or exFAT partition loss, we could find a lot: accidental deletion, partition table corruption, accidental shutdown, virus intrusion, etc.

No matter how you lose your partition, and what file systems you are using, the very first course you may take is to find out an approach to recover it.

This article aims at solving the FAT32 partition recovery issue for those who are bothered by it.

Now before the solutions, some important info will be introduced: definition, edges, and shortcomings of FAT32/exFAT partition, and the possibility of FAT32/exFAT partition recovery.

All the info gathered can help you specify your partition loss situation and guide you to recover FAT32 partition.

What is FAT/exFAT?

FAT, File Allocation Table, is a type of File System that was first introduced in 1977, which is known as a means that the OS uses to store and organize data. Generally, there are several types of File Systems – NTFS, FAT, exFAT, etc.


FAT32 The new type of FAT released with Windows 95, has a 32-bit cluster size.
NTFS New Technology File System, first launched in 1993, is presently prevailing in Windows OS. It is now the default File System for SSD because it overcomes the shortcomings of the previous File Systems. Check the ReFS vs NTFS to see its edges.

Extended FAT, which is the successor to FAT32 that overcomes FAT's shortcomings.

Now we are about to discuss the difference between FAT and exFAT.


Now we are about to discuss the difference between FAT and exFAT.

FAT32 vs. exFAT


FAT32 is pretty old nowadays, usually preinstalled on USB storage devices, while exFAT, as the successor of FAT32, is more widely used. Some differences between them are listed here.

◆ Size limit

FAT32 only supports files under 4GB and partitions under 32GB; while exFAT can maximally support files under 1EB, pretty suitable for large files, and it supports partitions under 64ZiB.

◆ Compatibility

FAT32 has good compatibility with different system platforms and can be used on all current mainstream operating systems like Linux, Mac, or Android system platforms;

ExFAT can run on almost all your devices, but may not be compatible enough, compared to FAT.

◆ Speed

For FAT32, due to the design flaws, the file data will gradually become scattered after long-term use, which will slow down the reading and writing speed; some users may find the USB 3.0 transfer speed slow.

Flexense performed an experiment to compare FAT, exFAT, and NTFS. According to its experiment result, exFAT outperforms FAT.

Can FAT32/exFAT partitions be recovered?

Partition loss is not rare in these File Systems, NTFS users also need to perform NTFS partition recovery when facing accidental deletion.

Now you may have known a lot about FAT32 and exFAT, and must be wondering: if FAT32/exFAT partitions are recoverable.

Absolutely YES – but with prerequisites. When a partition is deleted, all the files in it, the directory - all the data will be wiped and be invisible. But in fact, the data is not instantly gone for good.

When you press the “delete” button, the partition is logically deleted, a space will be released right away, and the freed-up space will be overwritten when new data is written in.

Once the data is overwritten, the partition and all the data are gone and will never be recovered. so, as long as no overwriting happens, you could still recover data from hard disks after deletion.

Before exFAT/FAT32 partition recovery

So the prerequisite must be met: STOP writing new data into the drive after deleting if you want to recover exFAT partitions/FAT32 partitions.

>> Here saying “Do not write data into the drive”, we are talking about:

  • Do not add any items or files to the drive.
  • Do not attempt to format the drive or partition.
  • Do not create any new partitions.
  • Do not try to rebuild a partition table.

When all these conditions are met, you can perfectly and completely carry out FAT32/exFAT partition recovery, with the data in it kept intact.


How to recover FAT32 partitions/exFAT partitions?

How to get FAT32 or exFAT partitions back intact if you have accidentally deleted USB drive partition?

If you got the partitions hidden somehow, you could try using “assign letter” and “attrib” commands to have them visible. But since CMD has no intuitive user interface, it is quite dangerous to operate for users who don’t know commands a lot.

To get rid of human error or further data damage/overwriting, utilizing professional partition recovery software is a sagacious choice.

AOMEI Partition Assistant, the leading benchmark of the data recovery industry, is embedded with a bunch of amazing features.

It can help you recover deleted or lost partitions on HDD/SSD/USB/SD card in Windows 11/10/8/7/Vista/XP and more OS. Windows 7 users could also recover Win7 partitions easily.

Also, it supports many File Systems like NTFS, FAT32/16/12, exFAT, ReFS, Ext2/3/4, Bitlocker, and so on.

Not only partition recovery, but it can also facilitate all users to manage their partitions and drives: create, merge, split, format, align, move, check, resize, convert, etc., applying to all your needs.

All the lost/deleted partitions will be listed in the column. Check the File System, Capacity, Flag, and Start/End Sector in the chart.

Step 1. Download and install AOMEI Partition Assistant Pro Demo to start FAT32/exFAT partition recovery.

Download Demo Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 2. Run AOMEI Partition Assistant > go to Wizards in the toolbar > Partition Recovery Wizard > select the FAT32/exFAT drive > click Next.


Step 3. Choose a search mode. Fast Search is recommended for the first time. Full Search scans your FAT/exFAT hard drive thoroughly and takes longer.


Step 4. Select the deleted partition you need to recover> Proceed.


After that, you can successfully recover exFAT partitions/FAT32 partitions.

Related suggestions

If you have accidentally deleted USB drive partition or other portable drives, stop using the drive immediately, then turn to a trusty third-party partition recovery tool, you can recover FAT32 partitions and exFAT partitions safely and easily.

Since FAT32 and exFAT are more frequently used in USB devices, you might need to recover partitions on USB drives using other types of File Systems. And here are some more related suggestions for you.


  • Connect the FAT32/exFAT USB properly and carefully.
  • Do not disconnect the USB directly without safely remove.
  • Protect the USB from dropping, sinking into the water, or oil.
  • Back up the important data in it.

To back up data much easier and more flexibly, use AOMEI Backupper as a good helper. “Disk Backup”, “File Backup”, and more useful features can help you protect your data firmly.

If you want to recover some part of data or a certain type of data, try to recover USB flash drive files using CMD, or for the sake of time, use MyRecover instead to get files back in a breeze.

Lora · Editor
Lora is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is also a tester and editor of AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. -- "Keep testing, write the most useful tutorials for helping people recover the lost data for Windows and phones" is the most meaningful thing for her. Dedicated to creating helpful tutorials, she hopes her tutorial can assist users to effortlessly solve data loss problems on their personal computers and mobile phones.