Convert file system from FAT32 to NTFS without losing files

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File Systems Exposed (Part 3)

By Mohammad Yousef | August 2004

 

Welcome to the last part of my trilogy. If you've read the first and second parts and you've decided NTFS is for you, I'm going to tell you all you need to know to carry out the conversion. Please note that this article applies only to Windows XP systems.

 

You've got two options: either format a drive with NTFS or use the 'convert' command. The first way is recommended because all data on the partition will be erased - consequently, you'll be starting with a 'clean' drive. Use this method only if you don't need to keep your files intact. But most of us would want to keep our files, and to do this you've got two options:

  1. Back up all your data before formatting
    So you want to start with a 'clean' drive but can't afford losing your precious files? Very simple. All you need to do is back up your files to an external hard-drive or a partition other than the one you want to convert, or burn the data onto CDs. After you're done you can format a drive with NTFS.

  2. Use the convert command from command prompt
    This way, you don't need to back up. All files are preserved as they are. However, I recommend a backup. You don't know what might go wrong and besides what would you lose if you do back-up? When I converted to NTFS using convert.exe, everything went smooth. Chances are your conversion will be equally smooth.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a one-way conversion. Once you've converted to NTFS, you can't go back to FAT or FAT32 unless you format the drive.

  1. Open Command Prompt
    Start | All Programs | Accessories | Command Prompt
    OR
    Start | Run | type "cmd" without quotes | OK

  2. Type "convert drive letter: /fs:ntfs" and press Enter. For example, type "convert C: /fs:ntfs" (without quotes) if you want to convert drive C.

  3. If you're asked whether you want to dismount the drive, agree.

To find more information about convert.exe type "help convert" (without quotes) in Command Prompt and press Enter.

 


 

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Convert file system from FAT32 to NTFS without losing files


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Copyright 2004, Mohammad Yousef Alfasfoos. All rights reserved.
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