FAT32 or NTFS ? Also Primary or Logical?


With Partition magic 7.0, i split my C:\ Drive which had 28GB into 2 drives.

1. C:\ with 7 GB
2. J:\ with 21 GB.

while re-sizing it selected 'primary' drive by default for both C:\ and J:\ (the option to 'logical' was diabled) and so now both the drives are 'primary'. Will it affect the system speed ? If so, how can i change it to 'logical' ?

Also, my J:\ is now FAT32 type. I have the option to change it to NTFS. Which one is best ?
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Lee W, MVPConnect With a Mentor Technology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
In the old days of DOS, you could only have 1 Primary Partition.  With NT/2K/XP and most other operating systems (including Linux) you can have up to 4 primary partitions.  OR 3 Primary and an extended.  In the extended you can setup multiple logical drives (I think up to 60ish).  So as long as you only want 2-4 partitions, you can make them all primary - it shouldn't affect speed or anything else.  If you wanted to cut up your hard drive into more than 4 partitions, then you need to setup one (to 3) Primary partitions and an Extended one so you can create multiple logical drives.

Go with NTFS - from a command prompt, type CONVERT J: /FS:NTFS  this will convert your J drive to NTFS and keep all your files (as opposed to reformatting and selecting NTFS then).

FAT32 has some limitations - you may never run in to them, but with NTFS, you DEFINITELY won't - see this comparison chart:  http://www.ntfs.com/ntfs_vs_fat.htm
Pete LongConnect With a Mentor Technical ConsultantCommented:
You can only create a logical drive in an EXTENDED partition see my website

ldbkuttyAuthor Commented:
I am sorry, i couldnt follow you. does it mean that my J:\ Drive is 'logical' and not 'primary'?

In my 40GB HD, i had around 28GB for Windows XP (in one drive C:\) and around 10GB for linux.(in one drive D:\) . Since all my installations, movies, songs are in one drive, i thought it would be better to partition my C:\ Drive so the system will be faster(isn't it?)

Sorry, am a web-developer and this is my first time i am doing such things.
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Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
what did you format the partitions with? FDISK or windows setup?
harleyjdConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Logical drives are a throwback to DOS - I can't think of a use for them anymore. AFAIK it cos DOS and older OS's could only cope with one primary partition. You can't create a logical drive until you have an extended partition to contain it. It's like saying this other bit of my hard drive will have data drives on it, then you can create the data drives - in this case one logical drive, but it's possible to have multiple logicals under one extended.

Nowadays, have a few primarys - it doesn't really matter.

As for format - unless you need access to it via DOS or Win9x go NTFS. I don't know Linux - you'd need to tell me if it can read/write NTFS or not, but that's another consideration. It is more tolerant of sudden shutdowns, manages system files a bit better (diskkeeper is still needed though) and most of all, allows you to set security, so your kids (or mum) can't get into your por^H^H^H treasured documents. It also supports encryption, which may be an issue if you store intellectual property on it.


ldbkuttyAuthor Commented:
>> Go with NTFS - from a command prompt, type CONVERT J: /FS:NTFS  this will convert your J drive to NTFS and keep all your files (as opposed to reformatting and selecting NTFS then).


If i enter CONVERT J: /FS:NTFS  from command, it says:

Der Typ des Dateisystems ist FAT32.
Geben Sie die aktuelle Volumebezeichnung für Laufwerk J: ein:  (german)

which approximatly means:

The type of the file system is FAT32.
Give the current volume designation for drive assembly to J:  on:

I gave the total space of J: drive but the command window just closed and still my J: drive is FAT32.

What should i exactly give there?
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Thanks for the rough translation - but that didn't sound familiar to me - This may help though:

For the english version of the above link, try:
Lee W, MVPConnect With a Mentor Technology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
What it's asking for - if I'm reading the english version correctly, is the volume label - Open "My Computer" and right click the J drive - on the General tab is a text box.  If it has nothing in it, don't type anything when prompted by CONVERT ..., if there is text in it, when prompted by CONVERT... enter the exact text listed.  This is apparently to help prevent against accidental conversions.

NOTE: FAT32 to NTFS is a ONE WAY conversion.  There is no built-in Windows way of converting from NTFS to FAT.  I ALWAYS use NTFS and generally don't have any reason to stay with FAT, but if for some reason you later wanted to go back to FAT32, you'd need to use Partition Magic or another third party program to do so.  (Also, I believe FAT32 has a 32GB partition limit.  NTFS has no such limit - (4TB, I believe).  But  on individual disks, you MAY have to edit the registry to ensure Windows sees drives OVER 127 GB.
ldbkuttyAuthor Commented:
that worked perfectly.
Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
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