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FAT32->NTFS conversion for 2K/XP laptops

By simon_mackay ·

I know of someone who had bought 2 laptops over the past 5 years (a Compaq Armada E500 running Windows 2000 Pro in 2001 and an Acer Aspire 1680 Centrino running Windows XP Home SP2 this year) and as part of doing IT support for them,

I have noticed the following about these machines.
1. Both machines are supplied with "recovery CDs" housing the OS and applications delivered "out of the box".
2. The hard disks on these machines are formatted to the FAT32 filesystem rather than the NTFS filesystem that I know that both operating systems are designed to work on.

How do I go about "re-building" a FAT32 hard disk to NTFS once I have backed up all the important data. I would have to work with the recovery CDs to "pull-back" the OS and other OEM-supplied data. I also suspect that the format routine with these CDs is to format the HDD to FAT32 rather than NTFS.

With regards,

Simon Mackay

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by In reply to FAT32->NTFS conversion fo ...

Hello Simon,

Comments and Answers
1. Converting from FAT32 to NTFS is built into Windows. All you have to do is use the CONVERT command in any "Command Prompt" window. Because this conversion cannot be done on the running system volume, the conversion will take place during a reboot. Note that there is no facility Windows to convert back to FAT32. However, Symantec Partition Magic can do this quite well. And, you're right to have a backup just in case. These processes usually work just fine. But, any interruption or error can result in data loss without a backup to restore from. Before running convert, you should run SCANDISK to correct any FAT32 errors.

2. Recovery CDs typically work like this:
2.1 They are bootable.
2.2 They create a partition on the C: drive. This re-partitioning will usually destroy any data on the drive.
2.3 They copy a drive image from the CD to the partition. Theoretically, it will be exactly the same as when the PC was originally acquired.
2.4 If you don't have the option to recover and create an NTFS volume at the same time, it is easy to convert the FAT32 volume to an NTFS volume as described in #1.

Does this cover your questions?

-----Steve Jackson

Software Corporation (Softcorp)
Advanced pro bono tools and utilities free for personal use

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by simon_mackay In reply to

Highly valuable information about working with either the OS's "convert" utility or Symantec's Partition Magic. Also, the info about these recovery discs is useful.

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by simon_mackay In reply to FAT32->NTFS conversion fo ...

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