Thursday, April 23, 2009

How to Convert a FAT partition to NTFS

Converting a FAT partition to NTFS is a manipulation is simple, but before giving you the "magic formula" trying to understand how file systems on a stand.
What above all is a system file.

The media whatsoever, home to millions of bits that will then organize and being able to find is the role of the file system.
The file system is based on the management of clusters, ie the smallest unit of disk that the operating system can handle.
An operating system can not manage that entire allocation unit, ie a file will occupy a number of cluster of clusters, but still whole, hence the importance of choosing the file system.
The choice of file system is based on the operating system you use.

The FAT16 file system and Fat 32

The first system used in the environment and the Microsoft FAT (File Allocation Table - The allocation table file), the fat16 is a system based on 16bits (DOS) to write a file with 8 characters and extension 3. From having a 16-bit addressing, this system can have a score of more than 2GB. The disadvantage of a disk to FAT16, is the loss of 16Ko per file for a partition of 2GB. With the arrival of Windows 95 OSR2 (using the FAT16), a significant improvement is reached by integrating a 32 bit (Virtual FAT).
This saves a file with 255 characters, while maintaining compatibility.

FAT32 allows partitions of a size much larger (up to 8 terabytes). In fact the theoretical maximum size for a FAT32 partition is 8 TB, however, Microsoft voluntarily limit to 32 GB on Windows 9x to support NTFS.
In return FAT32 is not compatible with Windows versions prior to OSR2 (OEM Service Release 2). A system starting with an earlier version would have simply not that type of partition.
But in practice a slight gain in performance will be around 5%.


NTFS (New Technology File System) uses a system based on a structure called the "master file table" or MFT (Master File Table).
This system helps to contain detailed information on the files, it allows the use of long names, but is sensitive, unlike the FAT32 system.
It is able to differentiate the names in uppercase name to lowercase.
Performance, access to files on an NTFS partition is faster than on a FAT partition. The theoretical limit on the size of a partition is 17 billion To, but the limits of a physical disk is 2TB.
It is at the level of security that NTFS is especially important because it allows you to define attributes for each file.

All versions of Windows XP running FAT, FAT32 and NTFS 5.1.

You can convert your partitions to NTFS without losing data, provided only an operating system (no dual or multi-boot).
To do this, simply use the command line convert.exe:
Click Start, Run ..., write cmd and ok

In the window of the command prompt, enter the following:

convert drive letter: / fs: ntfs

For example, typing convert d: / fs: ntfs, drive D: is converted to NTFS.


NTFS is more powerful than FAT or FAT32 and offers important security features. * Only the NTFS file system allows the use of features such as Active Directory-based security areas.

  • The conversion to NTFS partitions is easy
  • This type of conversion will not damage your files, unlike formatting a partition
  • To support limited accounts, you must use NTFS.
  • If you use FAT32, all users will have access to all files on your hard drive, regardless of their account type (administrator or standard).
  • NTFS is the file system that works best with a large disk.

If you choose NTFS, you can, among others, use the following features:

  • Fields: Used to fine-tune security options, without complicating the administration. Domain controllers require NTFS.
  • Encryption of files: improved security.
  • Permissions: can be set on individual files and folders.
  • Storage: allows you to expand your disk space by facilitating access to removable media.
  • Registration for the recovery of data easier and quicker restoration of the system in case of power failure or system problem.
  • Disk Quotas: Better management of large disk: NTFS allows a maximum disk size largely exceeding that of the FAT system and when the disk size increases, it is not accompanied by a degradation of performance as with the systems FAT.

Some software that can convert to partition and format:
Partition Magic convert NTFS partitions systems as FAT (16 or 32) and FAT (16 or 32) to NTFS
System Commander - Partition Commander.

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