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Change or not to change FAT?

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  • Johny
    to be or not to be?:-) Sorry, this is not about PM but since there are Hard drive specialists reading this forrum, I d like to ask a question. I ve read in
    Message 1 of 9 , Jun 18, 2007
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      to be or not to be?:-)

      Sorry, this is not about PM but since there are "Hard drive
      specialists" reading this forrum, I'd like to ask a question.
      I've read in PC World in some article, that there is a command in
      Wind XP which will convert Drive FAT32 into NTFS even when the drive
      is full of data.
      Now - does anyone have an experience with that? (=is it safe to do
      it, or is there a big risk of losing data?)
      And - another thing - I know, why NTFS is beeter - it suppose to be
      safer way and it should not have limitations of 4GB per file (I'm
      doing videoconversions and max 4GB/file IS limitation for me) and so
      on.
      But, is there a reason why I SHOULD NOT abandon FAT32 in favor of
      NTFS? Reason why I should keep FAT32 because.... I don't know.
      I realized only recently, that my laptop has NTFS (some utility told
      me that just "by the way" - surprise, I thought it has FAT32 too....
      and I have no troubles with laptop not having FAT32. But before I
      convert drive full of data (and I have no place to put 200something
      GB to backup) I'd like to hear an expert opinion why I
      should/shouldn't do it.

      Thanks a million

      john
    • Hiran Watson
      I wouldn t consider myself a hard drive specialist but I have played around with file systems when dual booting, etc. From what I can tell, FAT32 is a better
      Message 2 of 9 , Jun 19, 2007
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        I wouldn't consider myself a "hard drive specialist" but I have played
        around with file systems when dual booting, etc. From what I can tell, FAT32
        is a better choice over NTFS if you are going to have a *nix-based OS put on
        as a dual-boot, because Linux is able to read and especially write to FAT32
        much better than NTFS. However, if all you are using is Windows (either XP
        or Vista later on), I'd recommend going to NTFS. It was created by MS to be
        the better choice for Windows OSes (at least for NT, 2k and up). I know you
        said that you don't really have a way to backup your 200G drive, but I would
        recommend that you do so, or at least backup really important data you have.
        I haven't had experience with the utility you're mentioning, although I've
        heard of it, but I know that any work with the underlying file system always
        has the potential to mess up your data. Unlike defragmenting a fs, where you
        are just moving data around, converting one fs type to another on the fly is
        changing the underlying containers as it were that stores the data. That
        said, both FAT32 and NTFS are MS file systems, and the utility was created
        by MS, meaning it should have a better success rate than a 3rd party
        utility. I would still recommend you try and backup really important data
        and any program settings you have just in case.

        God bless
        Hiran

        On 18/06/07, Johny <jr_sono@...> wrote:
        >
        > to be or not to be?:-)
        >
        > Sorry, this is not about PM but since there are "Hard drive
        > specialists" reading this forrum, I'd like to ask a question.
        > I've read in PC World in some article, that there is a command in
        > Wind XP which will convert Drive FAT32 into NTFS even when the drive
        > is full of data.
        > Now - does anyone have an experience with that? (=is it safe to do
        > it, or is there a big risk of losing data?)
        > And - another thing - I know, why NTFS is beeter - it suppose to be
        > safer way and it should not have limitations of 4GB per file (I'm
        > doing videoconversions and max 4GB/file IS limitation for me) and so
        > on.
        > But, is there a reason why I SHOULD NOT abandon FAT32 in favor of
        > NTFS? Reason why I should keep FAT32 because.... I don't know.
        > I realized only recently, that my laptop has NTFS (some utility told
        > me that just "by the way" - surprise, I thought it has FAT32 too....
        > and I have no troubles with laptop not having FAT32. But before I
        > convert drive full of data (and I have no place to put 200something
        > GB to backup) I'd like to hear an expert opinion why I
        > should/shouldn't do it.
        >
        > Thanks a million
        >
        > john
        >
        >
        >
        > --
        > To unsubscribe, please, email to: partman-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >


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      • JESSE LAROCQUE
        Hi John, Number one rule : If it is not broken , don t fix it Defrag your Laptop . religiously reason why I SHOULD NOT abandon FAT32 : I have seen
        Message 3 of 9 , Jun 19, 2007
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          Hi John,

          Number one rule : "If it is not broken , don't fix it "

          Defrag your Laptop . religiously

          "reason why I SHOULD NOT abandon FAT32" :

          I have seen people "Convert" to NTFS .. and then , one sad day they needed to run the Restore to factory default.

          Guess what happened??

          The Restore would not work .. because they NUKED the Fat 32 partition .


          Get an external Hard drive my friend .. spend the cash .. get it over with .. your data is worth more than the computer.

          Jesse



          Johny <jr_sono@...> wrote: to be or not to be?:-)

          Sorry, this is not about PM but since there are "Hard drive
          specialists" reading this forrum, I'd like to ask a question.
          I've read in PC World in some article, that there is a command in
          Wind XP which will convert Drive FAT32 into NTFS even when the drive
          is full of data.
          Now - does anyone have an experience with that? (=is it safe to do
          it, or is there a big risk of losing data?)
          And - another thing - I know, why NTFS is beeter - it suppose to be
          safer way and it should not have limitations of 4GB per file (I'm
          doing videoconversions and max 4GB/file IS limitation for me) and so
          on.
          But, is there a reason why I SHOULD NOT abandon FAT32 in favor of
          NTFS? Reason why I should keep FAT32 because.... I don't know.
          I realized only recently, that my laptop has NTFS (some utility told
          me that just "by the way" - surprise, I thought it has FAT32 too....
          and I have no troubles with laptop not having FAT32. But before I
          convert drive full of data (and I have no place to put 200something
          GB to backup) I'd like to hear an expert opinion why I
          should/shouldn't do it.

          Thanks a million

          john






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          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Jernej Simonèiè
          ... There s absolutely no reason to keep with FAT32, unless you need to access your data from Windows 9x/ME (Linux recently gained a fairly good NTFS driver
          Message 4 of 9 , Jun 19, 2007
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            On Tuesday, June 19, 2007, 1:18:59, Johny wrote:

            > But, is there a reason why I SHOULD NOT abandon FAT32 in favor of
            > NTFS? Reason why I should keep FAT32 because.... I don't know.
            > I realized only recently, that my laptop has NTFS (some utility told
            > me that just "by the way" - surprise, I thought it has FAT32 too....
            > and I have no troubles with laptop not having FAT32. But before I
            > convert drive full of data (and I have no place to put 200something
            > GB to backup) I'd like to hear an expert opinion why I
            > should/shouldn't do it.

            There's absolutely no reason to keep with FAT32, unless you need to
            access your data from Windows 9x/ME (Linux recently gained a fairly
            good NTFS driver [ntfs-3g]).

            --
            < Jernej Simonèiè ><><><><>< http://deepthought.ena.si/ >

            A bird in the hand is safer than one overhead.
            -- Newton's Little-known Seventh Law
          • helge.wieder@rz-online.de
            I have recently converted NTFS - FAT32 on a new notebook using Paragon Partition Manager 7.0 without problems. It offers the other direction too and I think
            Message 5 of 9 , Jun 19, 2007
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              I have recently converted NTFS -> FAT32 on a new notebook using 'Paragon
              Partition Manager 7.0' without problems. It offers the other direction
              too and I think the risk of losing data is acceptable.

              Helge
            • John Rozehnal
              Thank you very much for your inputs... Just for the if not broken, don t fix it - yes, I usually go with this rule. The drive in question (on my DESKTOP
              Message 6 of 9 , Jun 20, 2007
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                Thank you very much for your inputs...

                Just for the "if not broken, don't fix it" - yes, I
                usually go with this rule.
                The drive in question (on my DESKTOP comp.) is only
                one yr old and when I installed it and put new XP from
                scratch on it (I've had ME on that computer before) I
                chose FAT32 because (mistakingly) I wanted to have all
                drives at home the same FS. Only very recently I
                accidentally discovered that my laptop has NTFS, so I
                do not have all drives the same FS anyway.
                I think I will go for it and change it because - I am
                very limited with max. size 4G per file. When I want
                to convert one miniDV tape into DVD, my Ulead Video
                creates temporary file as SINGLE MPEG before breaking
                it into VOBs. And 4GB is about 56 minutes. If I have
                WHOLE tape (=60-62 mins) - it fits on single DVD, but
                that temp file is >4GB and the program crashes with
                "conversion error" (after 6 hours of work haha). So,
                if I'm correct and NTFS does not have 4GB limit (is
                that correct?), it will help me a lot.

                I have 2 more questions - I have the drive split into
                two virtual drives = two partitions "programs/working
                space" and "final videos storage". Could I convert
                only the one with programs + working space? (if that
                crashes during conversion - I can easily re-intall the
                software) and keep the "storage" as FAT32, since that
                would be the problem, if that crashes.
                Or do I ahve to convert both partitions since they are
                on the same physical drive (two virtual drives)?
                (well, I would have to burn some 30 DVDs as a
                backup:-))

                And last question - I have inside the comp, for some
                old backups the old 30gb drive (with ME still
                intalled) and FAT32 of course. I can't change that one
                - would XP be able to access both (one NTFS and one
                FAT32) drives on same computer?
                I do not use multiOS boot. Only rarely I needed the
                old ME, so in that case I switched boot drive sequence
                in CMOS - I can do that again after conversion, just
                wouldn't be able to access the new NTFS drive from ME,
                which is not a problem, right?

                Thanks a lot


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              • Dave Howe
                ... The question doesn t need a hard drive specialist :) ... yup. its convert ... Its safe enough. the xp installer certainly used to install to fat, then
                Message 7 of 9 , Jun 20, 2007
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                  Johny wrote:
                  > Sorry, this is not about PM but since there are "Hard drive
                  > specialists" reading this forrum, I'd like to ask a question.
                  The question doesn't need a hard drive specialist :)

                  > I've read in PC World in some article, that there is a command in
                  > Wind XP which will convert Drive FAT32 into NTFS even when the drive
                  > is full of data.
                  yup. its "convert"

                  > Now - does anyone have an experience with that? (=is it safe to do
                  > it, or is there a big risk of losing data?)
                  Its safe enough. the xp installer certainly used to install to fat, then run
                  convert to turn itself into an ntfs os.

                  > And - another thing - I know, why NTFS is beeter - it suppose to be
                  > safer way and it should not have limitations of 4GB per file (I'm
                  > doing videoconversions and max 4GB/file IS limitation for me) and so
                  > on.
                  its journalled, it has no filesize limit (although often software does) and
                  small files are stored in the directory to give more optimized space usage. oh,
                  and permissions are a lot better (user-based assignments don't work on fat32)

                  > But, is there a reason why I SHOULD NOT abandon FAT32 in favor of
                  > NTFS? Reason why I should keep FAT32 because.... I don't know.
                  Only if you want to be able to read that data using any other os - linux say, or
                  a dos boot floppy.

                  > I realized only recently, that my laptop has NTFS (some utility told
                  > me that just "by the way" - surprise, I thought it has FAT32 too....
                  right click on drive, look at properties, it should tell you.

                  > and I have no troubles with laptop not having FAT32. But before I
                  > convert drive full of data (and I have no place to put 200something
                  > GB to backup) I'd like to hear an expert opinion why I
                  > should/shouldn't do it.
                  there is no good reason to, and no good reason not to - but if you *want* to do
                  this, go for it :)
                • Antoine Leca
                  In addition to all what have been said (to which I generally agree, particularly Jesse and Dave; and if they seem to contradict, in fact they do not in my
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jun 25, 2007
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                    In addition to all what have been said (to which I generally agree,
                    particularly Jesse and Dave; and if they seem to contradict, in fact
                    they do not in my eyes: both are right on their points.)

                    > I've read in PC World in some article, that there is a command in
                    > Wind XP which will convert Drive FAT32 into NTFS even when the drive
                    > is full of data.

                    If it is really "full of data" (0 bytes free), you won't: NTFS needs
                    usually more space for the "metadatas" i.e. the housekeeping
                    informations than FAT32 does, so it would not be an option.
                    Now if you have a few percent of free space, it *might* be done, but I
                    feel that is not a good idea, since a volume with no free space is a
                    call for avenues of problems, whichever the file system used, whichever
                    the operating system used.
                    So first, try to empty a bit your volume; going below (or above, as you
                    see it fit) 15% is a good waypoint, that's the value xp tools considers
                    minimal to try a defrag (which is a similarly dangerous operation.)

                    > Now - does anyone have an experience with that? (=is it safe to do
                    > it, or is there a big risk of losing data?)

                    Done it; it works OK if you are on "normal" conditions (i.e. disk
                    without defects, either soft or hard, with provision of free space;
                    preferably do not try it in a place of frequent power outages: while it
                    is supposed to perform OK, power failure in the middle of a critical FS
                    operation may lead directly to the quest for the mighty "disk
                    specialist" or the local "data recovery leader"...)


                    > But, is there a reason why I SHOULD NOT abandon FAT32 in favor of
                    > NTFS?

                    Since you are posting here, dual booting or anything related, for
                    example using Ranish Partition Manager for "advanced" tasks,
                    definitively prefers using FAT16/32 than NTFS, which enjoyed much less
                    support for the "disk hacker tools", particularly the older ones (say,
                    those from the last century!)
                    Personnaly I have not seen any other reason to force keeping FAT32 in
                    the last 3 years... yet the above is good enough for me and probably the
                    majority of the people involved with RPM :-)


                    > (and I have no place to put 200something GB to backup)

                    You probably should think a bit more about that rather than playing with
                    convert: in my experience, harddisks are the most often cause of
                    disruption of service for a PC; furthermore, 320/500 GB USB backups are
                    not _that_ expensive, and certainly not the value of the datas stored on
                    my disks (cannot say for you, though.)


                    Antoine
                  • JESSE LAROCQUE
                    Hi John, 2 Partitions in Fat 32 on your Home computer , are they both Primary Partitions .. or Extended Partition scenario? Any Fat 32 Partition that is
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jun 25, 2007
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                      Hi John,

                      2 Partitions in Fat 32 on your Home computer , are they both "Primary Partitions" .. or Extended Partition scenario?

                      Any Fat 32 Partition that is Larger than 32 Gigs .. stands a chance of data corruption ,, even though theoretically it should be good to the 2 Terabyte mark .. it isn't . It does corrupt .. been there done that .. bad idea.

                      NTFS is for large volume storage drives .. Good Idea.

                      Default cluster size for an NTFS drive under Windows 2000 Pro and XP is 4 KB on a Fresh Install .. not an upgrade.

                      On a converted drive from fat 32 to NTFS . the cluster size you end up with is 512 bytes .. or HALF a KB.

                      Converting from the command line under windows yields a drive that is subject to fragmentation in a shorter amount of time than a 4KB cluster size would.

                      What this means is .. you will be defraging much more frequently with a 512 byte cluster size.

                      anything over 12% fragmentation on an NTFS drive spells trouble for the continued smooth operations of a windows file system.



                      The convert command will work .. even with data on the drive .. however .. if you have a Extended Partition scenario, you may want to look into whether it is feasible.

                      The best advice I can give :

                      If it was ME .. and it was was MY Data .. and MY BOX .. I would suck of all the Data onto an external drive (Borrow one if need be) .. blow away the OS .. and the partitions .. and reload .. choose NTFS and get it over with ..

                      You will be a lot happier with NTFS in 4 KB Cluster on a primary partition... and a second Primary Partition as a "Data Back up Partition on the same physical Hard Drive

                      Jesse




                      John Rozehnal <jr_sono@...> wrote: Thank you very much for your inputs...

                      Just for the "if not broken, don't fix it" - yes, I
                      usually go with this rule.
                      The drive in question (on my DESKTOP comp.) is only
                      one yr old and when I installed it and put new XP from
                      scratch on it (I've had ME on that computer before) I
                      chose FAT32 because (mistakingly) I wanted to have all
                      drives at home the same FS. Only very recently I
                      accidentally discovered that my laptop has NTFS, so I
                      do not have all drives the same FS anyway.
                      I think I will go for it and change it because - I am
                      very limited with max. size 4G per file. When I want
                      to convert one miniDV tape into DVD, my Ulead Video
                      creates temporary file as SINGLE MPEG before breaking
                      it into VOBs. And 4GB is about 56 minutes. If I have
                      WHOLE tape (=60-62 mins) - it fits on single DVD, but
                      that temp file is >4GB and the program crashes with
                      "conversion error" (after 6 hours of work haha). So,
                      if I'm correct and NTFS does not have 4GB limit (is
                      that correct?), it will help me a lot.

                      I have 2 more questions - I have the drive split into
                      two virtual drives = two partitions "programs/working
                      space" and "final videos storage". Could I convert
                      only the one with programs + working space? (if that
                      crashes during conversion - I can easily re-intall the
                      software) and keep the "storage" as FAT32, since that
                      would be the problem, if that crashes.
                      Or do I ahve to convert both partitions since they are
                      on the same physical drive (two virtual drives)?
                      (well, I would have to burn some 30 DVDs as a
                      backup:-))

                      And last question - I have inside the comp, for some
                      old backups the old 30gb drive (with ME still
                      intalled) and FAT32 of course. I can't change that one
                      - would XP be able to access both (one NTFS and one
                      FAT32) drives on same computer?
                      I do not use multiOS boot. Only rarely I needed the
                      old ME, so in that case I switched boot drive sequence
                      in CMOS - I can do that again after conversion, just
                      wouldn't be able to access the new NTFS drive from ME,
                      which is not a problem, right?

                      Thanks a lot

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