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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
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    Uncompress files in Use

    I am trying to convert a partition from NTFS to FAT32 on a Windows 2000 Professional box
    using Partition Magic... and to make a long story short I need to ensure that all files on the
    partition are in an uncompressed state

    I tried going to a command prompt from within Windows and executing the compact function with certain switches,
    which uncompressed ALMOST all of the files on the partition... but there were several DLL files and
    other such files in use by Windows that the procedure was unable to modify.

    I can view them in Search mode when I enable the option to show compressed files in a different color.
    Right-clicking the file, and choosing properties/advanced and trying to clear the compress checkbox
    doesn't work because of the same "file in use by another process" error.

    I can't access the c: drive from a standard DOS boot floppy because it's NTFS.

    And booting to the Recovery Console off the Win2K cd gets me to the hard drive, but
    with limited commands - compact is not one of them.

    So what do i do?

    Many TIA

    Paul

  2. #2
    Silver Lounger
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    Re: Uncompress files in Use

    First, try to boot to Safe Mode: press F8 key when during bootup you will see white progress bar on the bottom on black screen. When in Safe Mode, uncompress files from Command prompt (Start | Run, type CMD and hit Enter) using EXPAND command

    Second, you can see and copy files from NTFS partition from DOS - try NTFS File Reader and Copier, NTFS Reader for DOS or similar.
    I believe that's not what you want.

    And last, I think it is not practical to change NTFS to FAT32. You can encounter unexpected problems after conversion. If you want to do so anyway, consider to erase your hard drive and install Windows on newly formatted partition. If you have no room for your system backup, I would recommend resize your NTFS partition, move it to the end of the drive and install Windows creating FAT32 partition on empty space. (if you decide to do it this way, remember: if during installation process you choose create a new partition first, and install Windows next, your new partition will be C: and the old one will be D: ; if you choose install WIndows on empty space, your old partition will be C: and the new one will be F: )

  3. #3
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Uncompress files in Use

    I will strongly second Kaplinb's recommendation not to convert from NTFS to FAT32 without a complete reinstallation of Windows. If I may be so bold, is there a specific reason as to why you want to accomplish this? NTFS is a much better file system and makes more efficient use of your hard drive's space.
    -Mark

  4. #4
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    Re: Uncompress files in Use

    kaplinb and Mike:

    Many thanks for your posts.

    The answer to Why? is as follows: I converted the computer from FAT32 to NTFS in the first place on the recommendation of some consultants versed in the database I was hosting on this PC (a nominal workstation that I was also using as a quasi-server).

    The server/database hosting is no longer needed on this WS. The user is having a hard time (read: very slow) launching certain applications and data that is resident on her HDD. After running some benchmarks and ruling out or addressing some of the usual suspects (RAM, processor, fragmentation, etc.), the remaining culprit seems to be very slow HDD transfer speeds (less than 30% of norm) possibly attributable to extremely small cluster size (1K instead of 4K).

    In Partition Magic, the only way to adjust cluster size is to convert back to FAT32. Hence my question.

    What sort of specific problems might ensue following conversion if I don't reinstall Windows?

    Is there another way or tool you know of to adjust cluster size and leave the partition in NTFS?

    And finally, is there a way to verify my original assumption that the cluster size is the cause for the poor HDD transfer times?

    Thanks again

    Paul

  5. #5
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Uncompress files in Use

    Paul, glad to help out.

    You may well be OK converting back to FAT32, but time and again in the field I have learned that converting file systems leads to an unstable operating system. It is far better to format the drive with your file system of choice the first time out as opposed to converting. The conversion will likely lead to severe disk fragmentation, which can be corrected but may take a lot of effort. Sorry that I cannot be more specific about the types of problems you might encounter, the best I can describe the process is "flaky."

    The small cluster size is almost certainly the reason the system is slow. If I were in the situation that you describe, I would back up essential data, format using NTFS with the default cluster size, and install Windows again. That would give you optimal performance and probably take less time to accomplish.
    -Mark

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