Formatting USB hard and flash drives for use with the Volkswagen Media Device Interface (MDI)

The Volkswagen Media Device Interface (MDI) requires external hard or flash drives to have a FAT16 filesystem for under 2GB sized media or a FAT32 filesystem for over 2GB media. See Volkswagen Media Device Interface (MDI) Specifications for the details.

Windows won’t allow you to create a FAT32 filesystem over 32GB but it can be performed using a tool like fat32format (they have a GUI and command line version) which will allow to format a drive up to 2TB.

3 comments to Formatting USB hard and flash drives for use with the Volkswagen Media Device Interface (MDI)

  • Tom May

    The tool reference was needed, and worked beautifully.

  • It’s possible to use a larger USB thumb drive with the MDI interface. I have just put a 128GB drive in as an alternative to my iPod Classic. I’ve given up trying SD cards and USB previously because I thought they were limited in size. They’re not as flexible as an iPod in terms of how tracks can be selected, but I also only just found out (I’ve had the car for 8 years) that it’s possible to do a Mix on all tracks simply by placing one track in the root of the USB stick. Start playing that, then select Mix from the Extras menu as usual. For me this means that I don’t have to worry about the iPod being difficult to replace. Skipping to a new track seems faster than it is sometimes now with the iPod (both have about 64GB of MP3s currently). I also suspect the sound may be better because the RNS510 is decoding the digital file rather than receiving an analogue audio signal from the iPod. I’ve not done enough listening to know whether this is true yet however. In case it’s of use, the exact USB stick I’m using which works is SanDisk SDCZ48-128G-U46 Ultra USB.

  • Spoke too soon. The above is true and I do think it sounds better. But there are some big issues. Mix does not mix properly. It mixes songs from the first 4-5 artist subfolders and only occasionally throws one in from other artists. And worse, it has no memory of what was playing or even that you’ve selected Mix if you switch off the ignition. Pretty much unusable sadly.

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