Go Back   Tech Support Forum > Microsoft Support > Windows XP Support

formatting a drive to NTFS without losing data

This is a discussion on formatting a drive to NTFS without losing data within the Windows XP Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. I have an almost 15GB video file that I want to put on my external 2 TB USB hard drive.


Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 07-11-2011, 12:49 AM   #1
TSF Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Northeast USA
Posts: 840
OS: XP Home Edition

My System


I have an almost 15GB video file that I want to put on my external 2 TB USB hard drive. Even though is has plenty of space for me to put the file on it, it says I can't put it there because there isn't enough disc space (it is formatted with FAT32, which can have files a maximum of 4GB- this is the reason why it is)

I believe I had this same problem once before, but I don't remember how I solved it. If I reformat the drive as NTFS, I believe it will no longer be able to a hold a maximum of 2TB's of storage. The drive is FAT32 right now, maybe what I did was make it an NTFS partition then convert back to FAT32.

In any event, I need to make it an NTFS partition so I can put this file (I plan to put many more videotapes on it as well) on it. I can't transfer all of the data off the drive to reformat it because I don't have another hard drive that will hold all 668 Gigs of data I currently have on the drive. I did find this- I just want to be sure before I do it. I definitely don't want to lose everything (or ideally- anything) I have on that drive.

Quote:
stump July 2, 2003 at 17:45:06 Pacific

No big secret! Type in convert to ntfs in the help and support option on the start menu.

To convert a volume to NTFS from the command prompt
Open Command Prompt.
In the command prompt window, type
convert drive_letter: /fs:ntfs

For example, typing convert D: /fs:ntfs would format drive D: with the ntfs format.

Notes

To open command prompt, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Command Prompt.
You can convert FAT or FAT32 volumes to NTFS with this command.

__________________
PC person is offline  
Old 07-11-2011, 01:50 AM   #2
TSF Enthusiast
 
Jay_JWLH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 994
OS: Windows 7 Professional SP1 - 64-bit

My System


I would be very careful about any tips suggesting that you can convert from with file system to another. About the only one I saw work without any problems was Windows 95 going from FAT16 to FAT32.

I'm tempted to discuss the resizing of partitions, and then adding another partition to copy everything over. What you can do is shrink the FAT32 partition to as small as possible, also making sure you use a good program to defragment the partition contents to make shrinking as effective as possible. Then format the extra space with exFAT or NTFS, after you are sure which one you would like to use. Finally, with the contents copied over you just delete the FAT32 partition, and expand the NTFS partition to span the entire disk (this part... is not easy as I make it sound). I've shrunk and expanded NTFS partitions natively within Windows Vista/7, however it doesn't work behind the partition, only after it. Using a third party application to make such modifications before a partition could have consequences.

I would recommend that you find somebody else who has enough storage for you to borrow, copy over everything, format the whole thing, and copy the files back over. It would be the simplest and safest option.

I will also mention that you can use something called split archives. This is when a program like 7zip creates files that split the contents across multiple files, putting it below the file size limitation. However to access the file you may have to be patient, as you would have to either extract the file(s) to access the files, or to open from within the archive might use a fair bit of temporary storage.

__________________
Jay_JWLH is offline  
Old 07-11-2011, 09:23 AM   #3
TSF Enthusiast
 
Squashman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: 1265 Lombardi Ave.
Posts: 1,621
OS: All of the above



Microsoft's Convert utility can change the file system but you there is always the risk of the data becoming corrupted when the conversion is taking place.

The other problem with using Convert is that it will use the original cluster size of the current file system. That is usually 512 bytes for FAT instead of the 4K that NTFS uses. This is really bad for performance especially with larger file sizes.
__________________
Squashman is offline  
Old 07-11-2011, 10:17 AM   #4
TSF Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Bloodymore, Murderland
Posts: 1,009
OS: Mac OSX (10.5.8)



Just an unhelpful 2 cents from the peanut gallery -- you really want to go ahead and get another external HDD. Or, just go ahead and wipe off that 668 GB you have on the drive currently. The physical size of HDDs has been static (or DECREASING) for years, while the storage size has increased geometrically -- I have sitting here a 4.5 GB drive (it's a cute paperweight), a 40GB drive, and a 2 TB drive that are all nearly exactly the same size. That dense packing of data comes with a big price in increased heat and increased failure rates. If you only have one copy of that 668 GB, you're one small step away from saying you don't care if you lose it (or you're willing to shell out $2k for data recovery, instead of $100 for an extra drive).
__________________
jaythorpe522 is offline  
Old 07-11-2011, 10:43 AM   #5
Moderator - Microsoft Support Team
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
Posts: 2,383
OS: XP SP3, Windows 7 SP1



The convert command is convenient and usually works. The problem is that no such conversion is ever 100% safe. It may fail leaving you with the difficult (or expensive) task of trying to recover your files. A file system conversion should only be done when you have a complete backup of all important files. Of course you should have this anyway. Hard drives fail and data can be lost for a variety of other reasons as well. You need to be prepared when (not if) this happens.

Except by using a small number of third party utilities there is no conversion from NTFS to FAT32. NTFS is better with large volumes than FAT32 could ever be.

You really need another drive.
__________________
LMiller7 is offline  
Old 07-11-2011, 12:54 PM   #6
Registered Member
 
SendEveryone's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 28
OS: XP Pro SP3



Hey PC person...
I noticed you are using XP, which is good, look at a program called Partition Magic v. 8, you can Google it for download...it will allow you to change to NTFS from FAT32 on the fly right in the same hard drive within windows without losing any data. I've used it for many years with no problems.
also, for a quick read about what it can do, go to:
PartitionMagic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
__________________
SendEveryone is offline  
Old 07-11-2011, 02:06 PM   #7
Management Team Networking
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Oregon
Posts: 15,731
OS: Vista/Win7



Make sure before doing any kind of conversion that you have...

backed up your data.
plenty of spare disk space

run chkdsk /r on the drive to make sure of platter and file system integrity. Usually this step is skipped resulting in errors for the conversion.

utilities have a easier time of it if the drive is also defragged before doing a conversion.
Wand3r3r is offline  
Old 07-12-2011, 08:58 AM   #8
TSF Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Northeast USA
Posts: 840
OS: XP Home Edition

My System


Quote:
Originally Posted by SendEveryone View Post
Hey PC person...
I noticed you are using XP, which is good, look at a program called Partition Magic v. 8, you can Google it for download...it will allow you to change to NTFS from FAT32 on the fly right in the same hard drive within windows without losing any data. I've used it for many years with no problems.
also, for a quick read about what it can do, go to:
PartitionMagic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I have an old version of partition magic, not sure if I have the CD key. Are you saying now that it is freeware though? Meaning if I don't have the key I can download it for free?
__________________
PC person is offline  
Old 07-12-2011, 09:54 AM   #9
Registered Member
 
SendEveryone's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 28
OS: XP Pro SP3



Quote:
Originally Posted by PC person View Post
I have an old version of partition magic, not sure if I have the CD key. Are you saying now that it is freeware though? Meaning if I don't have the key I can download it for free?
Easeus (a highly regarded company) has a freeware version similar to Partition Magic - I have never used it but it should do pretty much what you are looking to do: re-size - to NTFS from FAT32 and it looks like you can do it on the fly within windows, it may be worth looking into, if not you can find a copy of partition magic on the internet:

The Free Partition Resizer to Resize, Move FAT32, NTFS Partitions - EASEUS Data Backup, Data Recovery, Partition Manager Blog
__________________
SendEveryone is offline  
Old 07-12-2011, 10:35 AM   #10
Moderator - Microsoft Support Team
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
Posts: 2,383
OS: XP SP3, Windows 7 SP1



Partition Magic was a program originally sold by PowerQuest, later by Symantec. Symantec is no longer selling the product but they still hold the rights to it. The program is not freeware.

Partition Magic has not been updated since at least 2003 and is not compatible with Vista or later.

Unless you have a legal, purchased copy of Partition Magic you should use a program such as Euseus which is freeware.
__________________
LMiller7 is offline  
Old 07-13-2011, 10:59 AM   #11
Registered Member
 
SendEveryone's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 28
OS: XP Pro SP3



Quote:
Originally Posted by LMiller7 View Post
Partition Magic was a program originally sold by PowerQuest, later by Symantec. Symantec is no longer selling the product but they still hold the rights to it. The program is not freeware.

Partition Magic has not been updated since at least 2003 and is not compatible with Vista or later.

Unless you have a legal, purchased copy of Partition Magic you should use a program such as Euseus which is freeware.
Thanks for the history lesson LMiller7, But please note also that Partition Magic is still a wonderful Program (even if it is old - but not that old), is still available, and hard to beat.
__________________
SendEveryone is offline  
Old 07-13-2011, 09:05 PM   #12
TSF Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Northeast USA
Posts: 840
OS: XP Home Edition

My System


Quote:
Originally Posted by SendEveryone View Post
Easeus (a highly regarded company) has a freeware version similar to Partition Magic - I have never used it but it should do pretty much what you are looking to do: re-size - to NTFS from FAT32 and it looks like you can do it on the fly within windows, it may be worth looking into, if not you can find a copy of partition magic on the internet:

The Free Partition Resizer to Resize, Move FAT32, NTFS Partitions - EASEUS Data Backup, Data Recovery, Partition Manager Blog
You're sure EASEUS can resize, reformat and all the wonderful things partition magic was designed to do that the destructive FDISK command couldn't? That I won't lose any data when I do these things?

I was thinking, what if I set the capture program to have my directory for storing videos I record be on the 2 TB hard drive itself? I will still have to convert in order to get this first file onto the hard drive, but from now on I can have it save the files there right after I record them. Unlike some other programs which record file, like Camtasia and Camstudio, when I pressed the stop recording button it didn't ask me where I'd like to store and what I'd like to name the file- it simply stored with it's own name (similiar to newdocument in MS word) in the default directory it was set to.

I wonder if this will run into a problem as well though, as FAT32 can't store files over 4GB's- or maybe not, there is some stuff I downloaded that is 70GB's big, BUT it is not one file, it's several.
__________________
PC person is offline  
Old 07-13-2011, 10:00 PM   #13
Moderator - Microsoft Support Team
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
Posts: 2,383
OS: XP SP3, Windows 7 SP1



EASEUS can do everything you need, and most of the time everything goes well. But remember that failures can occur, leaving your file system in an undefined state. Recovery of files will be very difficult. For this reason it is strongly recommended that you have a backup of all important files. You may need it.

Note that this applies to all partitioning tools.
__________________
LMiller7 is offline  
Old 07-14-2011, 01:00 PM   #14
Registered Member
 
SendEveryone's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 28
OS: XP Pro SP3



I would try real hard to find a copy of Partition Magic version 8 by PowerQuest and use it to monkey with your computer. Like I said, Ive never used Easeus, partition magic will do the job, Ive done it many times with no problems. I also have used Norton's Ghost, now called Save and Restore to back out of computer repair gone bad. If You do not like Norton then give Acronis One-Click Backup a look.

Good luck PC person...

Quote:
Originally Posted by PC person View Post
You're sure EASEUS can resize, reformat and all the wonderful things partition magic was designed to do that the destructive FDISK command couldn't? That I won't lose any data when I do these things?

I was thinking, what if I set the capture program to have my directory for storing videos I record be on the 2 TB hard drive itself? I will still have to convert in order to get this first file onto the hard drive, but from now on I can have it save the files there right after I record them. Unlike some other programs which record file, like Camtasia and Camstudio, when I pressed the stop recording button it didn't ask me where I'd like to store and what I'd like to name the file- it simply stored with it's own name (similiar to newdocument in MS word) in the default directory it was set to.

I wonder if this will run into a problem as well though, as FAT32 can't store files over 4GB's- or maybe not, there is some stuff I downloaded that is 70GB's big, BUT it is not one file, it's several.
__________________
SendEveryone is offline  
Old 07-18-2011, 09:52 PM   #15
TSF Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Northeast USA
Posts: 840
OS: XP Home Edition

My System


Exactly the thing I was afraid of happened, I don't anymore have the serial number, guess I'll have to order another copy. I have gotten in the practice of taking a photocopy of whatever the page of the document that lists it (and putting that page in a binder) whenever I get some software/game that requires a CD key. But, I must have gotten this before I started doing so.
__________________
PC person is offline  
Old 07-19-2011, 02:00 AM   #16
TSF Team, Emeritus
 
spunk.funk's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 28,276
OS: Windows 8 64, Windows 7 64 Bit SP1, XP SP3, Mac OSX

My System


As stated here already, Partition Magic was a wonderful program, Until Symantec bought it and let it die (not updating it for Vista or 7) Easeus Partition Manager does pretty much everything that Partition Magic did do and you don't have to worry about trying to find the product key.
spunk.funk is online now  
Old 07-19-2011, 10:16 AM   #17
TSF Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Northeast USA
Posts: 840
OS: XP Home Edition

My System


Quote:
Originally Posted by spunk.funk View Post
As stated here already, Partition Magic was a wonderful program, Until Symantec bought it and let it die (not updating it for Vista or 7) Easeus Partition Manager does pretty much everything that Partition Magic did do and you don't have to worry about trying to find the product key.
I may have it around, but I'll check out Easeus too. Hmm, wonder why they never released a better version of FDISK.
__________________
PC person is offline  
Old 07-19-2011, 11:41 AM   #18
Moderator - Microsoft Support Team
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
Posts: 2,383
OS: XP SP3, Windows 7 SP1



Microsoft could have created a full featured partitioning tool as good as any commercial product. But that would have left the commercial tools without a market and that would have caused some serious legal problems. Microsoft has had considerable difficulty with that in the past.
__________________
LMiller7 is offline  
Old 07-19-2011, 07:05 PM   #19
TSF Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Northeast USA
Posts: 840
OS: XP Home Edition

My System


Looks like I can't find the serial number, you're sure EASEUS is non-destructive?
__________________
PC person is offline  
Old 07-19-2011, 07:22 PM   #20
Visiting BSOD Expert
Microsoft Support Team
 
cluberti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: New York
Posts: 779
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate x64



If it's a conversion, the only destructive forces would be a failure. However, a previous poster is correct - you are *very* likely to end up with a drive formatted with 512byte cluster sizes, which is really not good for performance under NTFS on larger drives anything larger than 1GB!!!). For a 2TB drive formatted NTFS, you will want (and ultimately need) 4K cluster sizes. It still makes sense to back up what's on the external disk, reformat NTFS with Windows, and put the data back.

__________________
MCTS Windows Internals, MCITP Server 2008 EA, MCTS MDT/BDD, MCSE/MCSA Server 2003
cluberti is offline  
Closed Thread

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
internal hard drive failing
I have a Dell Dimensions that was given to me and it has a 20GB Maxtor Hard Drive in it and is running Windows XP Home Edition. To make a very long story shorter I believe that the hard drive is failing on it since I was having real problems with it and was unable to access Windows at all. I was...
lmhjcr Hard Drive Support 8 06-04-2011 12:18 PM
Hard drive data recovery
I have a HP Compaq desktop running xp pro. The hard drive is a Seagate Barracuda 500gb sata drive. All was running perfectly until the monitor fell onto the desktop. The next time I powered up the pc I kept getting a disk read error message. I have been into the bios and the drive is not...
steq184 Hard Drive Support 1 05-02-2011 06:30 AM
I know something is wrong..part two...
I previously posted a thread titled "I know something is wrong" but I came back and the thread is closed. Not sure why...but this is what it said. I just have no idea what it could be. I've posted about issues with this computer before but I thought I had things taken care of. Now, it's...
CleverSleazoid Windows XP Support 13 05-01-2011 01:55 PM
Formatting slave drive
I want to format my slave drive to make use of the space but when I go to format it it tells me that my primary drive is using it.When I got my new drive the place I got my computer from put Windows 7 Ultimate on it for me but they left my old drive partitioned for windows xp Pro for some reason so...
Jason41 Hard Drive Support 0 01-13-2011 02:38 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is on
Smilies are on
[IMG] code is on
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Post a Question


» Site Navigation
 > FAQ
  > 10.0.0.2


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:10 PM.


Copyright 2001 - 2014, Tech Support Forum

Windows 7 - Windows XP - Windows Vista - Trojan Removal - Spyware Removal - Virus Removal - Networking - Security - Top Web Hosts