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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...

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  3. #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

  4. #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.

  5. #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

    Mr Owl ate my metal worm

  6. #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 10:04.

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