Converting a hard disk or partition to NTFS format


The NTFS file system provides better performance and security for data on hard disks and partitions or volumes than the FAT file system used in some earlier versions of Windows. If you have a partition that uses the earlier FAT16 or FAT32 file system, you can convert it to NTFS by using the convert command. Converting to NTFS does not affect the data on the partition.

Notes

  • After you convert a partition to NTFS, you cannot convert it back. If you want to use the FAT file system on the partition again, you will need to reformat the partition, which erases all data on it.

  • Some earlier versions of Windows cannot read data on local NTFS partitions. If you need to use an earlier version of Windows to access a partition on the computer, do not convert it to NTFS.

  • Although the chance of corruption or data loss during a conversion is minimal, you should back up all data on the partition before you begin.

To convert a hard disk or partition to NTFS format

  1. Close any open programs running on the partition or logical drive to be converted.

  2. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click All Programs, click Accessories, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  3. At the command prompt, type convert drive_letter: /fs:ntfs, where drive_letter is the letter of the drive you want to convert, and then press Enter. For example, convert E: /fs:ntfs would convert drive E to the NTFS format.

  4. Type the name of the volume you want to convert, and then press Enter. You must use the existing name of the volume or the conversion will be canceled. You can view all available volumes in the Computer folder under Hard Disk Drives.

    Open Computer by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Computer.

If the partition you are converting contains system files—which would be the case if you are converting the hard disk that the operating system was installed on—you will need to restart your computer for the conversion to take place. If your disk is almost full, the conversion process might not succeed. If you receive an error, try deleting unnecessary files, or back up files to another location, to free up disk space.



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