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Friday, July 29, 2011

Chp 359. Hard Disk not detected by DVD Player

Sorry for the lame post title, but I have to use this for SEO’s sake. Yup, this week’s post is a little bit technical, and I am doing this so as to help others who may have the same problem – Why is your DVD Player usb slot not detecting your portable hard drive?

First of all, the main reason why I am writing this post is that, problems like this are rare. Very few people (like me) still watch movies on their DVD Players these days. It’s all computer this and computer that, so if you try to google for a solution, most of the search results will be quite irrelevant.

I went through many tech forums and even mentioned my problems there, but the replies were all unhelpful. Most of them told me, “Why don’t you just watch it on your PC?”

Uh… what if I don’t have a computer or don’t want to buy one? What if I am content watching movies using my plain old DVD Player and TV, the old fashion way?

So after a lot of trial and error, I finally found a way to solve this problem.

These days, all new DVD Players come with a usb slot. Gone are the days of limiting your entertainment to just CDs or DVDs on your DVD Player. We can just take our pen-drive, copy the movie file we want, insert the pen drive in the DVD Player usb slot, and enjoy the movie.

After that comes the next level – Instead of inserting my 4GB or 8GB pen drive, what if I insert my portable 500GB hard drive? Will that work too? And won’t that be awesome?

And so, a lot of us tried, and the DVD player of course couldn’t detect the hard drive.

“DEVICE NOT SUPPORTED” the DVD Player proudly displayed.

Many so called “experts” on numerous Tech forums then said that the DVD Player didn’t detect the 500 GB portable hard drive because it couldn’t support such a huge data storage size, it was not built that way, blah blah blah…


Last night, I finally got my plain ol simple DVD Player to detect my 1TB portable hard drive! Yeah, one freaking TB, baby. 1000 gig of Movies, TV shows, Music etc. Suck on that.

So here’s how you should do it.

First of all, let me just briefly explain the basic – Your hard drive can be formatted in either FATxx (FAT16, FAT 32 etc) or NTFS. NTFS is a more popular file system, and considered to be safer, faster and more space efficient.

Most hard drives come pre-formatted in NTFS, while most pen drives are formatted in FAT32. In FAT32, you cannot save a single file that is bigger than 4GB. You can do that in NTFS, but it has many compatibility issues with third party devices.

And that is where the PROBLEM lies.

Your DVD Player cannot detect your portable hard drive simply because it is in NTFS format. You will find the same problem with a car music player that has a usb slot, your PSP etc.

The simple solution to this is to format your drive and convert it to FAT32.

Of course this is not so simple as I learnt recently.

First of all, formatting a 1TB hard drive using command prompt is apparently not possible. I googled and found the correct cmd command – Suppose the drive you want to format and convert is G:

Then type: convert G: /fs: FAT32

It will start converting. Slowly. Very slowly. 10%. 40%. 98%... Since it was converting a 1TB drive, it took nearly 3 hours to complete!

And finally when it’s done, *drumroll* I got the message that the drive could not be converted to FAT32 because it is too big! Aaargghhh…

Next, I tried formatting it directly, like how most of us would format pen drives – Right click on the drive letter, and select “Format”.

The problem is, Windows does not support formatting a hard drive of more than 32GB size to FAT32 format! And so, while you have the option of selecting either FAT32 or NTFS while formatting a pen drive, if you do the same with a hard drive that is greater than 32 GB, you will not get this option. Instead, there is just NTFS and a vague FATxx option! (See screenshot below)

So one of my colleagues took my 1 TB hard disk, formatted it in NTFS using Windows, and then converted it to FAT32 using a Linux system.

mkfs.vfat /dev/hd7

In just a matter of seconds, my 1TB drive was converted to FAT32! Whoah!

So I rushed home all excited and all… connected my newly FAT32 formatted 1TB drive to my DVD Player… and bloody hell got the same freaking message that the device is not supported again! Aaaarghh!

So yesterday, for the last time, I googled again, trying to be more specific. I did come across some discussions saying that Linux formatted FAT32 drives sometimes don’t work well on third party devices. Which didn’t surprise me much because it took just 4-5 seconds to convert the 1TB drive. Lolz. Linux systems are not exactly my area of expertise, so I browsed for some more time and took another advice – Use softwares like Partition Magic to format it in FAT32.

I found the perfect software – Aomei Partition Assistant. Using this, I could format up to 2TB partition in FAT32! Me Gusta!

There’s a freeware version from the link mentioned above. Less than 3MB file, the software is very easy to use. I formatted my 1 TB drive to FAT32 in 5-10 minutes.

And FINALLYYYYY my DVD Player can now detect my 1TB hard drive. W00t!!

Imagine all the movies and TV series I can fit into this and easily watch via my DVD Player and TV. And 1 TB portable hard drives now come cheaper than 5 grand, so it is indeed a good investment.

Of course there are many disadvantages to having a FAT32 drive, like you cannot save a file that is bigger than 4GB. So if you are a gamer, you will come across many .iso files that are bigger than 8GB. Also, many of these HD movies are more than 4GB per file.

So in the end, it’s your call. Meanwhile, if you just want your DVD Player to detect your portable hard disk, whether it is 250GB or 500GB or 1TB or 2TB, it can be easily done the way I’ve mentioned above. Don’t let any so called tech expert tell you that it cannot be done because of the file size limitation.

Friday cheers!

Edit: WARNING!!! Please BACK-UP your files before you format! :D I was working on a new 1TB hard drive above so I didn’t have any data on it, but if you are doing it to your existing hard drive, do back-up all your files first before you format, or you’ll lose everything. [Thanx @mnowluck]


mnowluck said...

Nice tip.... and just a side note.. FAT32 is kind of slow but i prefer it to NTFS not just because of the DVD Player blahblahblah.. but just because NTFS had a limitation only upto 2.15TB. Even a computer won't detect more than 2.15tb if it is formatted in NTFS..

But what makes me wonder is from your steps.. it seems that you have formatted your 1TB of disk space and make it completely clean and erase all your order to make your Damn thing to detect the drive eh? LOL.. just kidding.. you need to add that you have backed up before formatting too(in case there are some n3rd5 who just followed you blindly )

Mizohican said...

lolzzzz. It was a new 1TB I bought last week, so there wasn't much backingup to do :D

But yes, I think I should include that warning. You never know! lolz. And thanx :)

mnowluck said...

you just wrote 1000's of movies LOLz.. if in case anyone had already followed your steps and erase their movies/songs etc etc collection, here's what you need to retrieve em back.

Mizohican said...

I have three 500 GB hard disks (not portables) where I've stored them. Now I can transfer all those movies to this 1 TB drive :)

Krista Roluahpuia said...

I am lost somewhere... but i may need this. Better luck next time!

Zaia said...

Hriat ve reng chi a nih hi, mi hrilh atan tal.. :D

H.Vangchhia said...

Mamawh hun atan ala that dawn viau hi.

Alejendro said...

Hard Dick detected.

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Philip Verghese'Ariel' said...

Hi Mizochican,
Nice to be here at your blog. I am here via Mesjay's blog,
Will read more of your blog and will come back again,
Great tips here but some are as you said, Alas, as you said who watch DVD these days, right, but other tips are very useful. Keep educating, sharing your blessing to others so your boxes too will be filled, Keep posting, keep inform
best regards

blackestred said...

Since we are talking tech, here's my 2 cents:
- Acc. to the Big Daddy of Os's ,FAT32 supports a 32GB partition at the most, and anyone/software who says it can do more, will leave a disclaimer "at your own risk"! (
- Even if your 1TB is converted to FAT32, the FileSystem is too unstable to trust it with 1TB of preciously pirated stuff, compared to NTFS
- Connecting a FAT32 formatted 1TB to your DVD player for DivX is pretty risky as Power outages in India is not uncommon, esp. with Monsoons.
- Connecting an UPS to your DVD player may help, but FAT32 does not gel well with Power fluctuations: Read "Data Corruption"
- Better get an 8GB pen drive formatted in FAT32, 8GB of movies lasts the whole weekend, even longer with alcohol :P
- I've lost enough data with external HDDs, just being careful.. said...

it's nice tip dude,,,awesome job

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for your instructions. Been searching for help on this subject. Yes u need to format to fat32. One trick to keep in mind, there are numerous formating software out there, but the one u mention,Aomei Partition, worked for me. I tried another program that formated and windows told me it was fat32, but problem still existed. So if one formating software doesnt work try another.

Mizohican said...

Whoah blackestred, will definitely keep that advice in mind. Thanx.

@ Philip: Thanx for the first time visit and comment. Hope to see you again too :)

@ data diary, anonymous, Zaia, HV, Krista - Thanx for the comment :)

Anonymous said...

This is what I searched for "fat 32 or ntfs _ what is detected by dvd players" and yours is first link google led to. So good work.

Why is this so amusing to me?
1. Coz I'm currently at a cyber cafw in Alibaug searching for this.
2. And coincidentally, I also work with you.

Guess who?

Mizohican said...

haha... who's this? :)

Anonymous said...


Super post.. I am able to play using my HDD..
Just one more query - Im able to play .avi format, but no 5.1 channel surround sound..

Do u know how can I get 5.1 channel surround sound using my HDD? Is there any specific format that supports it?

Reply will be appreciated..

Mizohican said...

Hi anon, Im sorry, but I really dont know. As far as my limited knowledge on these things goes, .avi does not support 5.1 channel surround sound, but .wmv format does.

But then, I could be mistaken too. The only reason Im saying this is because when I edit video files, my video editor asks for 5.1 surround sound option only when Im editing wmv files and never for avi files.


Gervase said...

This will not actually have success, I consider this way.
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