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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
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    Reformatting partition FAT32 to NTFS

    I just installed a new main HD - a 500GB WD Caviar Black. The old Cavair Blue was showing weak sectors.
    I have 2 partitions, C is 50GB NTFS and Data is 100 GB FAT32. The rest is currently unallocated.
    I had the folks that built the machine clone the old HD.

    I think I created the old DATA partition a long time ago and can't remember how or why it ended up FAT32.
    It may have had something to do with using Acronis Disk Director.

    I'm still running XP.

    I think it would be helpful if DATA was NTFS, wouldn't it? Faster access times, flexible re-sizing, etc?

    I so, how would you reformat the partition without destroying the data?
    I have moved pretty much all my Windows "My" files there along with my Outlook PST files, etc.

    If I create a new partition NTFS on the unallocated space, then move DATA there, then delete the logical DATA partition, then expand the new NTFS partition into the new unallocated spce would that work?

    Is there a tool that would reformat DATA from FAT32 to NTFS and preserve the data?

    I'm trying to set up the HD for W7. Would it be better just to wait and upgrade C, with all the standard Windows files there?
    I'm still going to need My Documents and My Pictures, etc. in the libraries and they will take a lot of space.
    Seems like I'll still be faced with moving them somewhere to reformat the darn DATA partition anyway... right?

    Can you tell I'm confused here?
    Seems like there should be a simple answer.
    Help...

  2. #2
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    You can partition the remainder of the disk as a primary partition and format it as NTFS, then copy all the data to the new partition. You can now use GPARTED on a boot CD to delete the old data partition and increase the size of the new one over the free space.
    Obviously make a backup on an external disk first.

    If you are going to install Windows 7 I would do this.
    1. Buy an SSD for Windows and most data. 128GB is all you need.
    2. Disconnect the existing mechanical disk and install the SSD on the first SATA connector.
    3. Install Windows 7.
    4. Shut down and connect the old mechanical disk to the second SATA connector.
    5. Boot the PC and check that you can now see the old disk and data.
    6. Delete the old Windows 50GB partition and expand the Data partition to fill all the space.

    cheers, Paul

  3. #3
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    Partition Wizard (download the free Personal Edition) will convert your FAT32 partition directly to NTFS (Select the partition and the command is in the left pane).

    It would be prudent to backup your data before you do this but then you already make two independent backups of your data, don't you?

    Alternatively, since you have spare space on the new HD, using the same tool, allocate a new NTFS partition, copy your data to it, make a second new NTFS partition and again copy your data to it. When you have verified that these new partitions are correct and all your data has been validly copied, again using Partition Wizard, delete the FAT32 partition and either move the first new NTFS partition down to where the FAT32 partition used to be or expand the first new NTFS partition down to include the space where the FAT32 partition used to be.

    This tool is both safe but very dangerous if you don't know what you are doing. A backup of ANY partition you intend to touch is recommended.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    There is a built-in Command Prompt command called CONVERT.
    Code:
    Converts a FAT volume to NTFS.
    
    CONVERT volume /FS:NTFS [/V] [/CvtArea:filename] [/NoSecurity] [/X]
    
    
      volume      Specifies the drive letter (followed by a colon),
                  mount point, or volume name.
      /FS:NTFS    Specifies that the volume will be converted to NTFS.
      /V          Specifies that Convert will be run in verbose mode.
      /CvtArea:filename
                  Specifies a contiguous file in the root directory
                  that will be the place holder for NTFS system files.
      /NoSecurity Specifies that the security settings on the converted
                  files and directories allow access by all users.
      /X          Forces the volume to dismount first if necessary.
                  All open handles to the volume will not be valid.
    As always, DO A BACKUP FIRST...!
    BATcher

    Dear Diary, today the Hundred Years War started ...

  5. #5
    Lounger leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRon View Post
    I think it would be helpful if DATA was NTFS, wouldn't it? Faster access times, flexible re-sizing, etc?

    If so, how would you reformat the partition without destroying the data?
    I have moved pretty much all my Windows "My" files there along with my Outlook PST files, etc.
    I do not know any good reason for needing that partition to be FAT32, but you cannot change its format without losing everything on it during formatting.

    If I create a new partition NTFS on the unallocated space, then move DATA there, then delete the logical DATA partition, then expand the new NTFS partition into the new unallocated space would that work?
    That might or might not work well since there will be desktop.ini files and possibly other things that could get altered during copying either out or back.

    Is there a tool that would reformat DATA from FAT32 to NTFS and preserve the data?
    I have never heard of one, and there really is no harm in having that DATA partition as FAT32. I have four hard drives in a variety of formats (including Linux) on my machine, and all is well.

    I'm trying to set up the HD for W7. Would it be better just to wait and upgrade C, with all the standard Windows files there?
    I'm still going to need My Documents and My Pictures, etc. in the libraries and they will take a lot of space.
    Seems like I'll still be faced with moving them somewhere to reformat the darn DATA partition anyway... right?
    ...
    Seems like there should be a simple answer.
    There is, but it took me a lot of trial and error over many years to find the simple answers!

    If you could post a screen shot of what you see in "Disk Management", I will show you a simple way to keep everything working and still be able to make room for Win7.
    Last edited by leejosepho; 2014-05-08 at 11:04.

  6. #6
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    Shot0033.jpg

    leejosepho,

    Well, I finally started the process. Here's the current status of Disk 0, where I've created a new partition (S) in the unallocated space and drag & dropped My Documents folders to it.
    However, I'm concerned about the alteration of the *.ini files and others you brought up, so I'm back asking for your experienced help.
    What should I do before deleting the T partition and re-labeling S as my new T?

    Thanks...
    Last edited by DrRon; 2014-08-04 at 21:31.

  7. #7
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    Did you not read posts #2, #3 and #4 above?

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    Lounger leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRon View Post
    I've created a new partition (S) in the unallocated space and drag & dropped My Documents folders to it.
    Do the links such as "My Documents" and so on in your Start Menu land you there? If not, you can right-click them to "Change Location". However, drag-and-drop might have already done all of that, and that means you might have to do the right-clicks to change location after changing the drive letter of the new partition. I would have just copied or cloned everything to the new partition, then deleted its *.ini files and then done the "Change Location" drill for the Windows folders.

    However, I'm concerned about the alteration of the *.ini files and others you brought up, so I'm back asking for your experienced help.
    What should I do before deleting the T partition and re-labeling S as my new T?
    Since you only have 49GB in "C", I would likely delete "S" and then tell Win7 (via Disk Management in Computer Management) to add that space to "C"...but that is all up to you.
    Last edited by leejosepho; 2014-08-05 at 08:16.

  9. #9
    3 Star Lounger KritzX's Avatar
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    49GB is more than enough for the C drive. After you're absolutely sure all your data is safe, and all the links in the Start menu (like the Documents link) is pointing correctly to your new drive, then you proceed with the deleting of your T: drive and extending your S: drive to use the free space.
    Fact of Life:

    “Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time.”
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    OK, I think I need to review the bidding on this question...

    Originally I replaced my Disk 0 HD with a larger, more reliable unit. We basically cloned the old partitions, creating a relatively small, FAT32 data partition.
    That partition contained all "My Documents" files (Documents, Pictures, and others) which I had extracted from the Windows partition to simplify any needed system restore operations. I was a proponent of Fred Langa's original theory on this approach to system imaging.
    Remember, I am still running XP. When I upgrade to W7 this discussion may all be moot, since it seems leaving the user data on the C partition with the OS appears to be the preferred approach.

    My issue here was to change the FAT32 format to NTFS, thinking that would be an advantage as well as to expand the partition size to include all the available unallocated space on the new HD. As it is today, both S and T contain 64G of data.

    Originally I did the classic "Move" function to adjust the properties of My Documents in Windows. I also had to adjust the location properties of My Pictures, my Outlook email files and others that now live inside the T partition.


    I was hoping to avoid all that readjustment once I got the data in the new S partition, deleted the old T partition and relabeled S as T, now formatted as NTFS.

    I suppose the fundamental question goes back to FAT32 vs. NTFS. It would have been trivial to leave T as FAT32 and simply expand it to fill the unallocated space. Not being too good at the format differences and seeing every other partition on all my drives as NTFS, I figured the change would be a good thing to do.

    So, yes, I have read everyone's responses and know the format change can be done in a variety of ways. Perhaps I am now wondering if it's really necessary and an advantage to do it. Any further thoughts???

  11. #11
    3 Star Lounger KritzX's Avatar
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    NTFS does have many advantages like more security, allowing for files over 4GB in size, better usage of space and so on.

    If you hadn't gone through all the previous steps i.e creating your partition, formatting it and copying over your files, I'd have probably advised you to remain with FAT32. However, you're done with most of the hard work and I advise you to follow through with your original plan: delete your FAT32 partition, format it to NTFS and then extend your S partition onto the empty space left behind by T. Then, you can finally change the drive letter of S to T.
    Fact of Life:

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    Quote Originally Posted by KritzX View Post
    NTFS does have many advantages like more security, allowing for files over 4GB in size, better usage of space and so on.

    If you hadn't gone through all the previous steps i.e creating your partition, formatting it and copying over your files, I'd have probably advised you to remain with FAT32. However, you're done with most of the hard work and I advise you to follow through with your original plan: delete your FAT32 partition, format it to NTFS and then extend your S partition onto the empty space left behind by T. Then, you can finally change the drive letter of S to T.
    Thanks, I think that's where I'm headed.
    My question is when I finally get there and change the drive letter to T, will all the index files in Windows point to the right folder locations in the new partition or will I have to go back through the properties drill again?

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    Quote Originally Posted by KritzX View Post
    49GB is more than enough for the C drive. After you're absolutely sure all your data is safe, and all the links in the Start menu (like the Documents link) is pointing correctly to your new drive, then you proceed with the deleting of your T: drive and extending your S: drive to use the free space.
    Oops, looks like you would do the "move" properties adjustments before deleting the old T partition.
    I thought it would be too much to expect just the drive letter change to handle it...

  14. #14
    3 Star Lounger KritzX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRon View Post
    Oops, looks like you would do the "move" properties adjustments before deleting the old T partition.
    Erp, sorry too much caffeine in my system. I just meant that after the reformatting and reassigning the drive letter, you should point the Documents link in the correct direction, not before.

    I thought it would be too much to expect just the drive letter change to handle it...
    It should handle the changes in most circumstances. If not, for example if the Windows index is screwed up, you can always rebuild the index.
    Fact of Life:

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  15. #15
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    That has to be the ugliest partitioning I've ever seen. I think it's time to go back to the drawing board.
    Why do you have extended partitions when none are required?
    Why backup and archive disks? One backup disk is all you require unless you want an offsite / separate backup, then you use a removable disk.

    I think you should have all disks as a single partition and use the 450GB disk as C: with Windows, programs and data. One 700GB disk could be for all backups, both disk image and file. Another 700GB disk could hold pictures / videos if you have that many. That leaves you one spare disk that you could take out and use as external copy of the backup disk.

    cheers, Paul

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