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Converting FAT32 to NTFS

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Kniht, Apr 17, 2006.

  1. Kniht

    Kniht Sergeant

    This topic has probably been posted here before, but I couldn't find it in the forum.

    My daughter was given an older model Gateway, Pentium4, 1400MHz, 383MB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce2 MX/MX 400. She took it to a local computer store where they uninstalled Windows ME AND installed Windows XP Home. She then brings it to me to do a little tweaking. Found the HD is FAT32 file system and would like to convert it to NTFS for obvious reasons. Have flashed BIOS and other firmware, but have never converted a partition. I know XP has CONVERT.EXE for this purpose and the command is "convert c: /fs:ntfs".

    Have read it is important to realign the partition before conversion, by moving all the data area up to a 4K boundary, which can be done with a program downloaded from "BootitNG.com". If realignment is not done before conversion, the partition will end up with 512 byte clusters.

    Would like to know if 512 byte clusters is a bad thing or not, what effect it would have on performance (my daughter is not a power user).

    Also, would realigning the partition cause data loss or would the conversion cause data loss, and if so what data should be saved - Program Files, C:Windows, Doc and Settings?

    Have read many have done this conversion without data loss and I realize anything can go wrong. If I make a mistake, there goes my Father's Day gift!

    Don't need to hear any horror stories about converting, heard plenty of horror stories about flashing BIOS, but I did it without a hitch following the instructions to a T.

    Any help one could give this old Nam vet will be greatly appreciated.
  2. foogoo

    foogoo Major "foogoo" Geek

    I myself have done that a few (2or 3) times.
    1) Backup
    2) Scandisk
    3) Defrag
    4) Convert

    Never had an issue with the conversion.. but backing up is a good thing.
    No third party wares to move data, ect...

    If your brave or crazy (which I am frequenty) just convert the disk.. (I've done that too).. I live dangerously.
  3. Mada_Milty

    Mada_Milty MajorGeek

    From a Computing.net post:

    Just a fyi but 4k clusters, which waste less space, compromize preformance.

    Imagine a 2gig file which would be in 500 peices with 4k clusters vs using 512k clusters and only having the same file in 4 pieces. Which do you think will be less prone to fragmentation and quicker pickup? If you answered the one with 4 peices you are correct.

    Trick here is to figure out what you average file size is so you can size accordingly. Defrags report can tell you this.

    You can find the whole discussion here.
  4. DavidGP

    DavidGP MajorGeeks Forum Administrator - Grand Pooh-Bah Staff Member

    Well if not a power user then 512byte clusters wont really make too much of a difference to her, admittidly better to have 4kb clusters as file access is slightly quicker and because of the "breathing room" 4kb clusters give to a file, there is slightly less fragmentation, but if those are not primary concerns then even with 512byte clusters you still gain the security aspect of using NTFS over FAT32.

    See Foogoo's reply as well for part of that question, but to add, backup everything that cannot afford to be lost, including IE Favorites, Address book, all personal doc's and pictures, emails and settings, ISP connection info ( user/pass ) etc

    as a backup tool you also as well as manual backups of important data/files you could use the in-built one "Backup" some info and steps to use http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/setup/learnmore/bott_03july14.mspx

    as for BootitNG, I have not used it, but 4kb clusters would be preferable, so as you know the risks already it maybe worth a chance?

    Follow Foogoo's 4 step plan and good luck
  5. Kniht

    Kniht Sergeant

    Thanks all.

    Went ahead and took the plunge. Successful conversion. Ended up with 512 byte clusters but notice no appreciable difference in performance. It did mess with the Avast antivirus though. Got the free version but won't start. Keeps popping a message to submit key. Oh well, guess I'll uninstall it and redownload the program.

    Who says you can't teach an old hippie new tricks!

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