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How do I convert my existing Fat32 hard disk to Ntfs

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
All right this is my first FAQ.
I know it's rather trivial but many people just haven't heard about this command and so whenever they need to switch from FAT32 to NTFS they go through the lengthy process of backing up all their data and formatting their hard disk then reinstalling the operating system.


How to do it:
  1. Click on "Start -> Run"
  2. In the Run box type "cmd" (without the quotes of course).
  3. In the new "Command Prompt" window that appears/opens type the following "convert c: /fs:ntfs" (without the quotes of course and provided your hard disk letter is c).
  4. You will be asked to enter the name of your hard disk.
  5. Type Y for each of the questions.
  6. Reboot if necessary.
The task does require a bit of time (depending on the size of your hard disk) to complete so just wait until everything is done.



** Edited below on Feb. 02, 2006

Comparison (pros and cons):
FAT32 is better if:
  • Your hard disk is smaller than 32 GB.
  • You need to install more than 1 operating system.

NTFS is better if:
  • Your hard disk is larger than 32 GB.
  • You are using only 1 operating system on your machine (see warnings section for more information about multi-booting systems).
  • You need enhanced file security (folder and file access can be controlled individually).
  • You need better disk compression.
  • You search for files very often as NTFS uses a more efficient structure for its access to files.
  • You need to establish disk quotas in order to control the amount of disk usage on a per user basis.
  • You need to store data on your hard drive space more efficiently. NTFS allows you to use 4 kilobytes cluster size to match the internal page size used by Intel processors but this is only used in FAT32 up to a partition of 8GB. Anything above that in FAT32 will cause the cluster size to increase, and thus “cluster overhang” grows and you uselessly waste more space.


Warnings (things to watch out for):
  • Multi-booting systems: NTFS volumes are not recognized by Windows 95/98/Me. This is only a concern when the system is set up for dual or multi-booting. FAT32 must be be used for any drives that must be accessed when the computer is booted from Windows 95/98 or Windows Me.
  • Disk compression: Most disk compression programs are not compatible with FAT32. So in case your hard disk is compressed, you might not be able to convert it.
  • File and folder encryption: In case you decide to use encryption then it's essential to back up the encryption certificates used. Otherwise, if the partition containing your "Documents and Settings" is reformatted, the files will be irretrievably lost.


Addendum:
What about conversion from FAT to NTFS, is it possible ? Well, Microsoft explains it in this article.

It can be possible to convert NTFS to FAT using Partition Magic, but the result is uncertain.
  • It's important that you first decrypt all encrypted files before doing it or they will be forever inaccessible !
  • Also, log on as an Administrator before converting from NTFS to FAT to make sure you won't run into NTFS permissions not being converted to the simple general access that might be expected.
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post #2 of 3
what about the other way round?
by the way.. can u tell me the pros and cons of ntfs and fat32? =P
thanks..
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post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
FAT32 is better if:
Your hard disk is smaller than 32 GB.
You need to install more than 1 operating system.

NTFS is better if:
Your hard disk is larger than 32 GB.
You are using only 1 operating system on your machine.
You need enhanced file security.
You need better disk compression.
You search for files very often as NTFS uses a more efficient structure for its access to files.

As for converting FAT to NTFS... Microsoft explains it in this article.

I think is possible to convert NTFS to FAT using Partition Magic, but the result is uncertain.
It is important that you first decrypt all encrypted files before doing it or they will be forever inaccessible !

One last thing... Log on as an Administrator before converting from NTFS to FAT to make sure you won't run into NTFS permissions not being converted to the simple general access that might be expected.
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