NTFS can read FAT32 files.
What I would do is move all these important documents to the new hard drive or some other removable drive. Then format the drive with Vista to NTFS. Now copy, not move these files back to the external. Voila.
How to reformat it? In Vista's excuse for Explorer, find the drive and right click it. The option should be there.
A word of caution here. What are your plans when that external drive crashes? Get my meaning? Never have one copy of any important file. All my "stuff" that I do not want to loose is in at least two places and in some cases three. My web site for example is on my server here. A copy resides on optical media and another copy on an external drive. I'll never see a failure of all three locations.
I had purchased a Western Digital Elements drive (model WD7500E035, serial WCAU50125497) about a year ago as a backup for my desktop. My desktop died and I purchased a notebook to replace it. Here is the scenario. My desktop was a 10 year old Pentium III that started as a Windows 95, then upgraded to 98SE, then to 2000 professional. All file were saved in FAT32 and that is what my WD Elements drive is. My notebook is a Celeron running Vista home basic.
What I am asking is;
-what is the best way to save what is on the drive?
-can I reformat the drive to NTFS?
-how do I reformat it?
-can I just re-save the old FAT32 files to the NTFS or do I need to do something with them first?
These file are documents, spreadsheets, pictures, video, music, and others. Most are done with MS Office programs. I have missed placed the manual for the disk and I email WD for help, but they have not responded.
Any help is appreciated.