[5 Fixes] How to Format SD Card for 3DS Easily

Nintendo 3DS Family
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Planning to upgrade the micro SD card that came with your Nintendo 3DS handheld to a larger one? Wondering how to format an SD card for 3DS? If so, you’ve come to the right place. 


In this post, we’ll share what format does 3DS SD card use and explore 5 solutions to solve this problem easily. Whether you are facing wrong formatting issues or want to find a reliable 3DS SD card formatter, we’ve got back. So, Let’s dive in!

Part 1: What Format Does 3DS SD Card Use?

So, what format does 3DS SD card use? A Nintendo 3DS SD card uses a FAT32 file format with a 32KB cluster size. You can also boost the speed of taking photos and capturing screens by formatting the card with 64KB clusters. 

If your SD card is 32GB or smaller, you can format it directly using the built-in tools on your Windows PC. But for cards above 32GB, you might need a special 3DS SD card formatted.

This is necessary to ensure compatibility with Nintendo 3DS. Besides, SD cards larger than 32GB usually have an exFAT file system, while the 3DS only works with the FAT32 system.

Part 2: How to Format an SD Card for 3DS?

To format SD card for 3DS, you can use Disk Management, Command Prompt, File Explorer, Memory Card Formatter, or a third-party 3DS SD card formatter. Start from the first fix, which will save time compared to the manual formatting that other methods provide.

Fix 1: Using a Reliable 3DS SD Card Formatter

A reliable tool such as 4DDiG Partition Manager can help you format SD card for 3DS easily and quickly, regardless of the SD card’s capacity. Moreover, this tool allows you to clone the entire SD card before formatting. So you won’t lose your data at all. Here’s what more it can do:

  • Clone the entire disk, SD card, or partition for backup.
  • Resize, split, create, delete, or format partitions to optimize storage space.
  • Repair corrupted partitions or recover lost partitions.
  • Define cluster size, volume label, and file system for the partition.
  • Upgrade to a larger storage disk without losing data.
  • Easy to use. You don’t have to be a tech guru.

Follow the steps below to change the Nintendo 3DS SD card format with this tool:

Step 1: Choose the Partition

Connect your 3DS SD card with your PC. Open and run 4DDiG Partition Manager and choose “Partition Management.” Right-click the partition you want to format and select “Format.”

Choose the Partition - 4DDiG Partition Manager

Step 2: Adjust Format Settings

Adjust the volume label, file system to FAT32, and cluster size to 32 KB or 64 KB. Click “OK.”

Adjust Format Settings - 4DDiG Partition Manager

Step 3: Format the Partition

Click “Yes” to format the partition. You can review the result after formatting. If you’re satisfied, click “Execute 1 Task(s),” then “OK” to start the formatting process.

Format the Partition - 4DDiG Partition Manager

Step 4: Finish the Formatting Process

Wait for the program to finish formatting the partition and click “Done.”

Finish the Formatting Process - 4DDiG Partition Manager

Fix 2: Format SD Card for 3DS With Disk Management

You can also use Disk Management for the Nintendo 3DS SD card format. No extra installations are required since it’s a built-in system tool, and the formatting process is also simple. This is ideal for those who don’t want to download a third-party 3ds SD card formatter.


However, Disk Management can’t format SD cards larger than 32GB to FAT32. It also lacks advanced options like cluster size adjustment and creating multiple partitions. Here’s how to format an SD card for 3DS with Disk Management:

Step 1: Press the “Windows + X” keys to open Disk Management. Right-click the 3DS SD card and select “Format.” 

Format SD Card for 3DS With Disk Management

Step 2: Set FAT32 as the file system. A warning message will pop up saying formatting will erase all data. Make sure you’ve backed up what you need, then click “OK” to start the formatting process.

Format SD Card for 3DS With Disk Management

Fix 3: Format 3DS SD Card via Command Prompt

Another method to format SD card for Nintendo 3DS, which is 32 GB or smaller, is through Command Prompt. This tool doesn’t give any warnings or previews, so you must be careful, as formatting the wrong drive by mistake can lead to data loss. 


Plus, using Command Prompt requires some technical know-how. Here’s how to format an SD card for 3DS with Command Prompt:

Step 1: Open the “Start menu” and choose “Command Prompt.” 

Step 2: Enter the following commands one by one and press Enter after each:


List disk

Select disk X (where X is the SD card’s disk number)

List partition

Format fs=fat32 quick

Format 3DS SD Card by Command Prompt

Step 3: Now, you’ve changed it to the 3DS SD card format.


Fix 4: Format 3DS SD Card From File Explorer

File Explorer can be your lifesaver if you’re still wondering how to format a micro SD card for 3DS. It offers a “Quick Format” option, which is faster and great for when you’re in a rush. Plus, Explorer displays card properties, file system, partition size, and drive letter. 

However, if the SD card has physical issues like bad sectors, File Explorer might struggle to format it accurately. The “Quick Format” option also doesn’t securely erase data. Follow the steps below to use this File Explorer to format SD card for 3DS:

Step 1: Open File Explorer and locate the 3DS SD card by identifying its drive letter and partition size. Next, right-click the SD card and select “Format.”

Format 3DS SD Card From File Explorer

Step 2: Choose “FAT32” from the file system options, then click “Start.”

Format 3DS SD Card From File Explorer

Step 3: A warning message will pop up, saying that formatting will erase all data on the disk. If you’re sure about it, click “OK.”

Format 3DS SD Card From File Explorer

Fix 5: Format 3DS SD Card With Memory Card Formatter

The SD Memory Card Formatter, developed by the SD Association (SDA), is a widely accepted tool to format SD card for 3DS. It’s user-friendly and capable of formatting various memory card types, such as SD, SDHC, and SDXC, regardless of size.

This tool is designed specifically for formatting SD cards and is compatible with both Windows and macOS, making it convenient for users.

However, it lacks frequent software updates and can’t format the protected area in the SD card. To use this tool to format your 3DS SD card, follow the instructions below:


Step 1: Install the SD Card Formatter and open it from the “Start Menu.” 

Step 2: Under “Select card,” choose the drive letter of your SD card. Next, type anything for the “Volume label.” 

Step 3: Choose “Quick Format” and click “Format.” Hit “OK.” Wait for the formatting process to complete. Click “OK.”

Format 3DS SD Card With Memory Card Formatter

3DS SD Card Formatting FAQs

Q1: What happens if I format a 3DS SD card?

When you format an SD card for 3DS, it wipes out everything, including 3DS data, Homebrew channels, and more. You might recover your files if you’ve backed up before formatting.


But if you did something like “System Settings,” → “Other Settings,” → “Format System Memory,” your Nintendo 3DS folder is gone for good. 

Q2: Does formatting 3DS remove Nintendo ID?

When you format a 3DS, it removes the Nintendo Network ID (NNID) from the server side, making it hard to link to another console without a system transfer or contacting Nintendo.

However, if you remove a Nintendo Network account via system formatting, you can link it back to the same system later.

Q3: Do I need to format a 32GB SD card for 3DS?

Yes, you need to format a 32GB SD card before you stick it in your Nintendo 3DS. Just make sure you use FAT32 as the file system because the 3DS is compatible with that.


Final Words About 3DS SD Card Formatting

Now, you should no longer be confused by the question, ‘What format does 3DS SD card use.’

Plus, whether you’re upgrading to a bigger card or experiencing glitches with your current one, we’ve discussed how to format an SD card for 3DS with five methods. However, the top choice for 3DS SD card formatter is 4DDiG Partition Manager. 

The tool enables you to format 3DS SD cards of any size and provides the added benefit of partition cloning to safeguard your data. Moreover, it lets you preview the formatting process, making it a reliable option for 3DS users.

Further Reading:

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