NTFS or FAT 32 on External Drive?

  wee eddie 16:33 22 May 2005

I run a Maxtor XT5000 (250Mg) for backing up, which is currently configured as FAT 32.

My PC is NTFS (connects via USB2) and my Laptop (connects via Firewire, as it's USB1.1) is FAT 32, both are Windows XP.

As I wish to use the Maxtor as a central file depository for both machines, I am canvassing your opinions.

Which would be the better file system to use?

I am able to change at any time now, but will shortly start filling up and therefor become difficult.

I also plan to divide it into 3 or 4 Partitions, although I haven't decided on their sizes yet.

  bremner 16:58 22 May 2005
  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 17:44 22 May 2005

Both machines run XP so use NTFS, wastes less space and you can save files over 4G in size.

  wee eddie 07:11 23 May 2005

A subsidiary question, if you'll be so kind.

Can I change to NTFS while there are files on the system, and what danger is there to those files?

  Monument 07:15 23 May 2005

Yes you can and I have done this on many systems with no problem

In the command prompt window, type:

convert drive_letter: /fs:ntfs

For example, typing convert D: /fs:ntfs would format drive D: with the ntfs format.

  SEASHANTY 12:11 23 May 2005


  wee eddie 13:32 23 May 2005

I have been told that reformatting a drive from FAT32 to NTFS will destroy all files.

Is this correct?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 14:35 23 May 2005

If you format YES

If you use Disk management to convert then NO

  dan11 14:40 23 May 2005

Reformatting will destroy the files.

Changing the file system from the run command is not reformatting and will not destroy the files.

Follow Monument's instructions and your files will be safe. Also click here

Just be aware that it is easy to convert to NTFS, you cannot convert back to fat32 without a format, though it may be possible with partition magic. This is worth bearing in mind if you think you may need to use the external hard drive on a standalone windows 98se/ME system.

  dan11 14:42 23 May 2005

I should of refreshed before posting. :-)

  wee eddie 15:17 23 May 2005

I did not fully understand the different ways of doing the job.

I may Partition the drive and leave 1 Partition as FAT32.

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