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Convert a hard disk or partition to NTFS format

Convert a hard disk or partition to NTFS format

You have a flash drive or probably an external hard drive that currently has FAT32 file system and you want to change it to NTFS, because FAT32 does not support handling large files (over 4GB) or it is just simply old for your taste but there is just one problem, you don’t want to lose your saved data. This article it explains how you can achieve seamless transition from FAT to NTFS without involving any data loss.


What actually is FAT, FAT 32 & NTFS?

FAT (File Allocation Table)

  • FAT is a file system used by mainly windows based operating systems.
  • It is a data structure which is created by windows while or when you format a specific volume using FAT or FAT 32 (FAT32 is the derivative of file allocation table) filing systems.
  • FAT32 works great in windows 2000, 2003, XP and other old windows operating system.
  • FAT32 is good at handling small files and it can handle files up to the size of 4GB.

NTFS (New Technology File Sharing System)

  • NTFS is an advanced file system which is used by most of the current windows operating system.
  • NTFS can handle files more than 4GB.
  • It provide performance, security, and advanced features that are not found in any version of FAT. For example, NTFS guarantees volume consistency by using  standard recovery techniques. If a system fails, NTFS uses its previous logging  information to restore the consistency of the file system.

While it is generally recommended to use the NTFS file system because of its stability, security and lesser defragmentation time, most of us end up using FAT32 because that is what most disks are preformatted with. Unless, we notice the “Not enough disk space error” despite disk space being available, we don’t bother to change the file system. Moreover, most of us don’t change it because of the risk of losing important data and lack of time (read laziness). As Microsoft was aware of this scenario, they added a capability in the command prompt to overcome this by executing a simple command.

By Command Prompt

There are many software that support this too but the Convert command is one of the easiest ways to do so. Follow the steps below:

  • Close any open programs running on the partition or logical drive to be converted.
  • Click the Start\All Programs\Accessories, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator (if you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation).
  • At the command prompt, type convert drive_letter: /fs:ntfs (where drive_letter is the letter of the drive you want to convert), and then press Enter.
  • The command prompt will start the conversion process and after a few minutes, will say that conversion was successful.
  • You can check whether the conversion took place or not by going into the Properties of the drive.

If the partition you are converting contains system files—which would be the case if you are converting the hard disk that the operating system was installed on—you will need to restart your computer for the conversion to be completed. If your disk is almost full, the conversion process might not succeed. If you receive an error, try to free up disk space.

Note: This method works perfectly in Windows XP, Vista, Win 7 and Win 8, I would still advise you to backup your data in case anything goes wrong.

By Formatting

  • Right click on the drive whose format you want to change.
  • In the Pop Menu click the format option.
  • In the Dialog box you will see the file system option.
  • In this option you have to select NTFS.
  • Don’t tick the Quick format option.
  • Click on the start button.
  • You can check whether the conversion took place or not by going into the Properties of the drive once the process is done.

By Software

There is a huge variety of partition software which could do this operation. Some of them are AOMEI Partition Assistant, EaseUS Partition Manager, MiniTool Partition Wizard and much more.

Conclusion

These methods cannot convert NTFS to FAT. In order to convert back into FAT you have to format the drive, so make sure you have all your data backed up before you proceed.

Please leave your comments below with your thoughts or alternative methods so I can check them out and possibly add them to this article.

Nik

Experienced IT Consultant working and living in the UK. In early years he was born and raised up in Greece and been to the UK since studies. He is passionate with technology, gadgets and computers, he really likes the internet and IT in general.

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