Windows Legacy OS forum

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Converting from FAT 32 to NTFS

by rhahne2 / April 8, 2007 9:44 AM PDT

I have a 1.3GHz Gateway Intel Pentium 4 w/ 384MB RDRAM PC800(I added memory)w/20GB IDE hard drive. I bought it 6 yrs ago with WINDOWS ME and upgraded to XP last fall, possibly Oct. 29 but I'm not sure. (How can I find this out?)

Yesterday I started the process of conversion to NTFS from FAT32 and I got a response that included: This conversion will also remove your previous operating system backup. Then: Convert may run if this volume is dismounted first. ALL OPENED HANDLES TO THIS VOLUME WOULD THEN BE INVALID (their caps). Would you like to force a dismount on this volume?
What are opened handles? What happens when they are invalid?

And how do I find my backup(s)? I have a folder on my desktop Created Oct.29, 2006 that is faded and labeled _RESTORE. Properties shows that it is 1.21GB and has 951 files that are marked Read-only and Hidden but when I open the folder it shows only 4 files of 64KB dated 2002 and 2004. Is that folder related to backups?

I want to create a current backup or restore point but I have only 5.15GB left free. Help, please.

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I have a link (url) that I had saved but don't remeber what
by darclew1 / April 8, 2007 11:09 AM PDT
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Converting from FAT32 to NTFS
by rhahne2 / April 8, 2007 12:46 PM PDT

Thanks. That site describes both systems but doesn't seem to tell about the conversion process.

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Are you prepared...?
by trublubush / April 8, 2007 2:11 PM PDT

The pre-conversion message you read is quite valid and is stating the reality of the consequences. In order to re-format FAT32 with NTFS, your disk's entire logical structure including the data used by your computer's bios geometry tables must be overwritten. In order to accomplish this, the existing operating system vector pointers to all disk locations must be nullified. This requires forced closure of any and all open handles which XP is currently maintaining in conventional and upper memory. The term "handle" refers to an actual filename entry as it exists on a FAT32 logical structure. The term "open handle" simply means that XP is storing a vector pointer to a particular file. In other words, as soon as you give the conversion process the "go-ahead," you will no longer have Windows XP, ...bye, bye! The volume(file allocation data as per the disk) will now "dismount"(detach from computer reckognition). The conversion process will be running in memory without support from any operating system files; it will interface with you allowing various choices. As soon as your "new" NTFS disk is partitioned the way you like(at least one partition[the Primary] must be bootable!), you must format ALL partitions, not just the Primary(new boot drive C:\). It's important that when you install XP anew, it will be able to reckognize and register all partitions on the primary harddrive. Furthermore, your computer disk options in BIOS "Setup" must be set to "auto-detect"(if your OEM computer doesn't already have this feature as the default) so that new geometry tables can be set up.

WARNING: This procedure will totally erase the disk's file system; there will be NO backup whatsoever and NO restore points, but most importantly, NO operating system!!!

You should first backup whatever files you want to save on an external harddrive. There are sometimes problems backing up to "flash" sticks and cards, etc.


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Fat32 to NTFS
by rhahne2 / April 8, 2007 11:37 PM PDT
In reply to: Are you prepared...?

Thanks so much for that explanation. It helps me when I can understand what is what.

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by linkit / April 8, 2007 3:02 PM PDT

Your questions appear in RED TEXT and answers are provided in the following link from Microsoft:

How to convert a FAT16 volume or a FAT32 volume to an NTFS file system in Windows XP

To be safe, I'd copy my precious backup files to other media before performing the file system conversion.

Furthermore, I prefer to avoid the potential problems of the file system conversion by performing a clean install of XP onto an NTFS partition. It is possible to perform a clean installation using the XP upgrade disc without preinstalling 98/ME. You go through the XP installation and insert the qualifying 98/ME disc when prompted. In doing so, no conversion from FAT32 to NTFS is necessary.

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by rhahne2 / April 8, 2007 11:40 PM PDT
In reply to: convert.exe

Thanks for that link! I will do this in a few days when I have the time; it seems like a long process where I will need patience.

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I just want to be sure
by rhahne2 / April 9, 2007 2:20 PM PDT
In reply to: convert.exe

that I understand what you are saying. I will need to buy an external hard drive (80 or 160GB) and plug it into my computer, and copy everything(18.6GB) onto that drive.

Then I uninstall Windows XP (using the disc?) and then uninstall ME(using the Gateway Restoration disc?). Next I re-install XP and follow a prompt to choose NTFS as my file system. Then I follow a prompt to insert the ME disc. When that is done, I can somehow re-install my documents and some of the programs I want to return to my computer.

Is that what you mean by a clean install?

Thanks so much.

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I just want to be sure
by Stan Chambers / April 9, 2007 3:06 PM PDT
In reply to: I just want to be sure

You won't need to copy everything on the drive. The OS and other programs will have to be installed from their respective cds or downloaded from some source. There's no need to copy the Windows and other program files. Copy only the files that you have created, such as photos, music, video, and documents. The bulk of these should be in your My Documents folder. You can also save you email files, favorites, and address book.
Burn to cds or dvds for safe keeping.
After you format the drive, you install the operating software.
Then all the drivers for your hardware. Next you install any other programs that you may own. Last you copy your files back to the appropriate folders.

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