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Any danger converting FAT32 to NTFS


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Hi all,


I am a long-time EZ CD Creator 4 user (came bundled with my Plextor 1210 burner) who lost my digital music life when I upgraded from Win98SE to XP.


A big, big thanks to this forum. I'm now successfully using EZ CD Creator 5 with XP.


(It's not been all smooth sailing. Before I discovered y'all, I loaded the whole CD-ROM of EZ CD Creator 5 and got 2 bluescreens and lost use of my P3/733 PC until I repaired XP. Sheesh. By that time, I knew from this forum about RoxioZap and the version 5 patch/update and NOT to load DirectCD.)


Now I'm learning more PC minutiae: converting FAT32 files to NTFS.


Are there any dangers that I need to know about such a conversion? Will a FAT32 to NTFS conversion of my PC's hard drive affect my beloved EZ CD Creator 5 or Jewel Case Creator?


N.B. I've seen a Micro$oft white paper that warns of software operating fine with FAT32 but which becomes kaput with NTFS. . . .


Thanks, all,


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Hello Chaz,


I don't know of any specific dangers converting a FAT32 file system to NTFS, However I prefer my system drive to be in FAT32 since I can get in and fix any errors which prevent Windows from booting. (It's very hard to do that if it's in NTFS)


I haven't seen any practical advantages to me having NTFS over FAT32. My system drive wasted more space in NTFS when I converted it once, and it gets more fragmented than FAT32 does. The only good point is that it can handle bigger single files than FAT32 can.




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Comparing NTFS and FAT file systems

A file system is the underlying structure a computer uses to organize data on a hard disk. If you are installing a new hard disk, you need to partition and format it using a file system before you can begin storing data or programs. In Windows, the three file system options you have to choose from are NTFS, FAT32, and the older and rarely-used FAT (also known as FAT16).

NTFS is the preferred file system for newer versions of Windows. It has many benefits over the earlier FAT32 file system, including:

• The capability to recover from some disk-related errors automatically, which FAT32 cannot.

• Improved support for larger hard disks.

• Better security because you can use permissions and encryption to restrict access to specific files to approved users.

FAT32, and the lesser-used FAT, were used in earlier versions of Windows operating systems, including Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows Millennium Edition. FAT32 does not have the security that NTFS provides, so if you have a FAT32 partition or volume on your computer, any user who has access to your computer can read any file on it. FAT32 also has size limitations. You cannot create a FAT32 partition greater than 32GB in earlier versions of Windows, and you cannot store a file larger than 4GB on a FAT32 partition.

The main reason to use FAT32 is because you have a computer that will sometimes run Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Millennium Edition and at other times run this version of Windows, known as a multiboot configuration. If that is the case, you will need to install the earlier operating system on a FAT32 or FAT partition and ensure that it is a primary partition (one that can host an operating system). Any additional partitions you will need to access when using these earlier versions of Windows must also be formatted with FAT32. These earlier versions of Windows can access NTFS partitions or volumes over a network, but not on your computer.


There should be a conversion aid on your system to convert from FAT32 to NTFS. Just in case, take back ups before you convert.


You may also want to change cluster size at some point depending on drive geometry. Too big of a cluster size will waste space and too small will be a performance degradation for large files and programs.

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Dave, there is a lesser known problem with NTFS.


If you install Linux on a separate partition, Linux can read NTFS but can't write to the newer form (it can write to NT4 or earlier versions, but MS altered the file system with Win 2K onwards)


However, Linux can write to FAT16 and FAT32 (as well as a lot of other file systems - Sun, Mac, etc)

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