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File conversion from FAT32 to NTFS

By chrisreed ·
I have recently purchased a new Acer laptop complete with Win XP Pro with service pack 2. I have done all the updates and installed Office 2003 Pro and a few other programs. I noticed that the file system is FAT 32 which struck me as odd so I contacted Acer to ask why. The long and the short is they sent me a link to a Microsoft article on converting from FAT 32 to NTFS.

I haven't done the conversion as yet as I wanted to get a picture from other people who may have done this as to whether there are any pitfalls to doing this and things I need to be aware of. I have read that some people would do this from say partion magic as opposed to the convert.exe in windows xp.

My disk is partioned into a C: and drive each being 35 Gb in size. Drive has hardly anything on it. Drive C: where everything is installed.

I'm applying the " If it ain't broke don't fix it rule" at the moment until I hear from those in the know that yes it's ok to do. More importantly would I be advised to do the first and then the C:

Any help and comments for this would be most welcome.



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No danger

by gralfus In reply to File conversion from FAT3 ...

I have converted around 20 drives using the convert command and had no problems. NTFS adds file security & allegedly improved fragmentation prevention. It also handles larger drives, but in this case that wouldn't matter.

But if it is working fine as is, and you don't need the advantages of NTFS, why change?

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Why change?

by apotheon In reply to No danger

There's always the fact that NTFS tends to handle seek times and data organization better than FAT32.

On the other hand, you won't notice a drastic improvement. The performance gain of NTFS is minor, at best.

There might be security issues at stake, where data security is more easily handled in NTFS than FAT32, but along with that comes the problem that data recovery can be far more problematic in NTFS than in FAT32. There's also the little problem that Microsoft changes the specs for NTFS with every new OS they develop, so that your NTFS partition on this computer may not be readable without incident with a later version of Windows futher down the line.

Additionally, NTFS isn't as interoperable as FAT32. FAT32 can be accessed directly by other OSes than Windows, and sometimes (depending on how data management and security are set up on your computer) between different Windows installations. This sort of shortcoming will only become more notable in more versions of NTFS as Microsoft continues to evolve the specification.

If you're going to use NTFS, be doubly certain to keep regular, complete backups of your data, preferably on some medium that doesn't use NTFS. If your system suffers a hardware failure, you may find that you'll have difficulty retrieving data from the drive if you're using NTFS.

Generally speaking, switching to NTFS never causes a problem, but all of the above concerns are possible gotchas that might arise if you're unlucky. Just be aware of the facts before you make a decision.

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No problem

by house In reply to Why change?

For a simple conversion like that, you don't need any third party stuff. You only need partion progs when you need to do some more advanced partitioning like resizing and hiding.

If you're concerned about data and security, convert it.

You will have no problems if it is factory and you do not have any legacy crap on it.

If you already have data on the machine...back it up in case of a freak power issue during the process...better safe than sorry.

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should be ok

by Daygo_171 In reply to File conversion from FAT3 ...

The only reasons you may want to convert is to possibly experience better performance as NTFS is more efficient that FAT. Also, you can give permissions down to file level, so that only certain users on a computer can have access to certain programs.

In any event the conversion should be painless and simple.

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