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Old 03-03-2008, 05:26 PM   #1
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Lightbulb to convert to ntfs or not to convert... that is the question :)

i have an old pentium 3 hp rig with 512 mb ram. it came with windows me but i'm now running windows xp pro sp2. my 55.8 gb capacity hard drive is formatted to fat32. i've heard that ntfs is loads better. should i convert? are there any likely risks? also, why exactly is ntfs better? thanks in adance
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Old 03-03-2008, 05:51 PM   #2
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Default Re: to convert to ntfs or not to convert... that is the question :)

ntfs all the way. theres no need at all for fat32. heres a quick comparison
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Old 03-03-2008, 06:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: to convert to ntfs or not to convert... that is the question :)

max file fize on fat 32
4GB minus 2 Bytes

wow never knew that, so you cant store like a dvd image on fat32 file system
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Old 03-03-2008, 06:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: to convert to ntfs or not to convert... that is the question :)

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Originally Posted by ssc456 View Post
max file fize on fat 32
4GB minus 2 Bytes

wow never knew that, so you cant store like a dvd image on fat32 file system
You could split the dvd on another computer. And yes that is true.

I personally would do it. NTFS has file permissions and greater security in general. However I guess it depends if you want the features ntfs provides and it is worth the trouble to get them. I broke down some common benefits of ntfs i can remember:

- The maximum volume size on fat32 is 32gb's, go figure. So you could have one
- NTFS is more secure and reliable
- Your computer will boot faster since your drive is bigger than 32 gb's
- You get file permissions with ntfs
- You get file-by-file compression
- You get encryption if you so choose
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:34 PM   #5
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Default Re: to convert to ntfs or not to convert... that is the question :)

thanks so much for the replies but is there a large risk of data loss in converting? and is there anything i should do (check boxes, change settings, etc.) before or after to make sure everything goes smoothly? i have cold feet because my friend told me that converting is an extremely risky process and that i should have formatted the whole drive to ntfs when i installed windows xp like he did, as opposed to converting later on. t or f?
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Old 03-03-2008, 08:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: to convert to ntfs or not to convert... that is the question :)

There is a small element of risk though not as bad as you have been lead to believe.

As always, back up any important data "just in case"

Here's a link to the Microsoft instructions (you've probably read it but someone else may need to read it in the future so I'll link anyway)

How to Convert FAT Disks to NTFS
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Old 03-04-2008, 06:04 AM   #7
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Default Re: to convert to ntfs or not to convert... that is the question :)

a good backup wouldn't go amiss anyway...


like I said to a collegue of mine the other day,

"a backup is something you tell other people to do whilst never believing that disaster will strike you."
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Old 03-04-2008, 08:08 AM   #8
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Default Re: to convert to ntfs or not to convert... that is the question :)

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Originally Posted by lostcause1087 View Post
to convert to ntfs or not to convert... that is the question -
This is the answer....yes. NTFS is just better. Although instead of converting a fat32 file system to ntfs, I would reformat the drive to ntfs and reinstall windows.
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Old 03-05-2008, 08:20 PM   #9
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Default Re: to convert to ntfs or not to convert... that is the question :)

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This is the answer....yes. NTFS is just better. Although instead of converting a fat32 file system to ntfs, I would reformat the drive to ntfs and reinstall windows.
i would, but i'm afraid i'll lose all my stuff that way (i've already backed everything up but it's a hassle putting everything back on so i'm trying to avoid having to do that).

is it okay if i just right click on my c:\ drive and select format from there or do i have to use the dos prompt? also, what options should i choose? should i keep the default allocation unit size and/or select 'quick format' or 'enable compression' (what do these do anyways?). i generally use my computer for large mp3 and video files. i don't have much space left on it (<20 gigs) but i heard compression sacrifices performance and that the formatting process already takes up a bunch of space... is all of this really worth it even?

p.s. thanks for all your advice guys i appreciate it very much.
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Old 03-05-2008, 08:48 PM   #10
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Default Re: to convert to ntfs or not to convert... that is the question :)

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Originally Posted by lostcause1087 View Post
i would, but i'm afraid i'll lose all my stuff that way (i've already backed everything up but it's a hassle putting everything back on so i'm trying to avoid having to do that).
The chances of it failing are minimal, you'd need a power outage to make that happen.

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Originally Posted by lostcause1087 View Post
is it okay if i just right click on my c:\ drive and select format from there or do i have to use the dos prompt?
You can't do that, the drive is being used by Windows so access will be denied. Did you read the page I linked at all?????
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also, what options should i choose? should i keep the default allocation unit size
Yes
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Originally Posted by lostcause1087 View Post
and/or select 'quick format'
nope do a full format if you decide to format instead of convert.
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Originally Posted by lostcause1087 View Post
or 'enable compression' (what do these do anyways?).
This compresses files on your hard drive, in this day and age of large HDD it is hardly necessary.
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Originally Posted by lostcause1087 View Post
i generally use my computer for large mp3 and video files. i don't have much space left on it (<20 gigs) but i heard compression sacrifices performance and that the formatting process already takes up a bunch of space... is all of this really worth it even?
Probably not, why not just buy a larger drive??

EDIT: If you do buy a larger drive and format it to NTFS then you will have to convert your os disk anyway because FAT can not read NTFS without third party software, NTFS however can read FAT
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