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How to upgrade FAT, FAT16 and FAT32 to NTFS

Scarecrow Man

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*NOTE* This is a one-way street. You cannot downgrade from NTFS to FAT32 or FAT without first deleting all partitions, and re-creating them. Although NTFS is more secure, make sure it is what you want before you decide to do it.

Microsoft provides this:

Before you start to convert a FAT volume or a FAT32 volume to NTFS, consider the following limitations and requirements:

• UDF and CDFS are only used with optical media and cannot be converted to NTFS.

• FAT12 is the only format used on floppy diskettes.

• Some earlier programs that were not written for Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 or for Microsoft Windows 2000 may exhibit slow performance after you convert the FAT32 file system to NTFS. This issue does not occur on a clean partition of NTFS.

• You can use the convert command (Convert.exe) to convert an existing FAT volume or FAT32 volume to NTFS. Because this conversion retains all your files (unlike a format operation), use Convert.exe when you want to keep existing files on your volumes intact.

• The conversion to NTFS is a one-way process. After you convert a drive or a partition to NTFS, you cannot convert it back to FAT or to FAT32. To restore the volume to the previous file system, you must reformat it as FAT or as FAT32. This action erases all existing data including your programs and personal files. In this case, you must either restore your data from a backup, or reinstall your operating system and programs.

• Convert.exe requires that you have some free space on the drive or on the partition to convert it. If Convert.exe determines that there is not sufficient free space on the volume, it does not convert the volume.

• If you run other Microsoft Windows operating systems on your computer in addition to Windows XP, note the following issues:

• Only Windows 2000 and Windows XP have full access to files on an NTFS volume.

• Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 4 (SP4) or later can access files on an NTFS volume. However, there are some limitations with files that are stored by using features from the latest version of NTFS.

• Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me), Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition and earlier, and MS-DOS cannot access files on an NTFS volume.

To convert an existing FAT or FAT32 volume to NTFS, follow these steps:

1. Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Command Prompt.

2. At the command prompt, type the following, where drive letter is the drive that you want to convert:

convert drive letter: /fs:ntfs

For example, type the following command to convert drive E to NTFS:

convert e: /fs:ntfs

Note If the operating system is on the drive that you are converting, you will be prompted to schedule the task when you restart the computer because the conversion cannot be completed while the operating system is running. When you are prompted, click YES.

3. When you receive the following message at the command prompt, type the volume label of the drive that you are converting, and then press ENTER:

The type of the file system is FAT.
Enter the current volume label for drive drive letter.

4. When the conversion to NTFS is complete, you receive the following error message at the command prompt:

Conversion complete.

5. Quit the command prompt.


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