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Converting External USB FAT32 drive to NTFS under XP SP3

Posted on 2009-12-27
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Last Modified: 2012-05-08
I did try :

convert F: /FS:NTFS /NoSecurity

which says the drive is dirty !


fsutil dirty query f:

says it is NOT dirty...


CHKDSK f: /F

finds no problem


How do I convert to NTFS ?
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Question by:PhL
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houssam_ballout earned 450 total points
ID: 26128457
did you try to format it before you try to convert it?
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by:PhL
ID: 26128464
As I read CONVERT is able to do the conversion without losing the data...

Is it false ?
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 26128467
Do you need to store files > 4GB on here?  Otherwise remember that NTFS was never designed for removable drives and there is a risk of data loss if the drive is disconnected before the system has completely stopped using it.  FAT32 is a much safer system but less secure.
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by:houssam_ballout
ID: 26128469
try to backup the data, format it and try to convert it again
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by:PhL
ID: 26128474
The point is to be able to store > 4GB files there...

Is there a utility to split big files without XP knowing it ?

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by:☠ MASQ ☠
☠ MASQ ☠ earned 450 total points
ID: 26128490
Not really - did you format the drive origianlly using XP or the disk manfacturer's tools?
Western Digital's partitioning/formatting tools particularly can mess with the FAT32 file structure that CONVERT detects making it impossible to run the command.
You may have to copy the files elsewhere and reformat.
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Author Comment

by:PhL
ID: 26128527
I think it was formated !?
The brand is TO...BA

I made a back-up in case CONVERT would fail...
It is not the same as to erase all myself !

The files are MPEG made from VHS tapes...
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by:dbrunton
ID: 26128554
>> NTFS was never designed for removable drives and there is a risk of data loss if the drive is disconnected before the system has completely stopped using it.  FAT32 is a much safer system but less secure. <<

Extremely interesting statement.

I've found FAT32 external disks have problems under XP if you have connected while booting.  Messes directory names.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 26128579
>>Extremely interesting statement

Fair comment - this is personal bias on my part
Being objective NTFS is more robust and more space efficient than FAT - but it relies on journaling so needs to be formally disconnected/ejected before removal to avoid data loss
It's not a great idea to use with encryption between machines!
I guess I've had more problems with loss on NTFS through misuse that with FAT & that's colored my opinon :)
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by:jazzIIIlove
ID: 26128586
>>Converting External USB FAT32 drive to NTFS under XP SP3
Well, in fact there is a tool, partition magic, doing this but for the health of the file system, I really don't recommend doing so.

Regarding:
>> NTFS was never designed for removable drives and there is a risk of data loss if the drive is >>disconnected before the system has completely stopped using it.  FAT32 is a much safer system but >>less secure.

In early days, maybe your statement can be acceptable but r_ght now, even, Linux and OSX can read/write to NTFS using ntfs-3g so OS compatability wont be a problem for NTFS. So, I prefer NTFS in all my removable stuff.

Best regards.
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Author Comment

by:PhL
ID: 26128593
The option now is Quick removal (no write caching ?)...

Is /NoSecurity not used to allow between machine operation ?
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by:noxcho
ID: 26130020
Why not to run first CHKDSK f:/f first on this drive? I think this would clear up the dirty flags if any.
I have converted toshiba portable drive from FAT32 to NTFS the day before yesterday and it went without any problem.
Also when you get to drive settings via My Computer - right click on drive - Properties - Hardware - select your drive - policies - you can see there removal policies. The default settings allow quick removal without using Safely Remove.
I am curious to know the opinions of MASQUERAID and jazzIIIlove concerning this feature.
According to MS this will prevent dataloss on both NTFS and FAT drives. Will it?
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by:jazzIIIlove
ID: 26130218
>>Also when you get to drive settings via My Computer - right click on drive - Properties - Hardware - >>select your drive - policies - you can see there removal policies. The default settings allow quick >>removal without using Safely Remove.

What if the drive is not USB 2.0? I guess, Unchecking this may slow down the transfer but honestly speaking, I haven't tried that option before, nevertheless, I hesitate changing the original value, I mean if there is a problem regarding transfer, the first to blame would be this (but this is my opinion, not a factual stuff).

I really don't prefer direct conversion even with my original suggestion of Partition Magic, which was in fact very successful in converting that I have applied before to show my students regarding installation of dual boot OS in 50 minutes 4 times on one machine, and since you have your backup, I think, first simply format it to NTFS, then move the files into the drive.

Best regards.
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Author Comment

by:PhL
ID: 26130345
Policy is already on "Quick removal" !

Here is my log :

C:\>fsutil dirty query f:
Volume - f: is NOT Dirty

C:\>chkdsk f: /f
The type of the file system is FAT32.
Volume PHL created 12/28/2009 11:11 AM
Volume Serial Number is 1E0F-11E4
Windows is verifying files and folders...
File and folder verification is complete.
Windows has checked the file system and found no problems.
  195'310'688 KB total disk space.
       44'352 KB in 346 hidden files.
       77'184 KB in 2'396 folders.
   62'471'136 KB in 47'914 files.
  132'717'984 KB are available.

       32'768 bytes in each allocation unit.
    6'103'459 total allocation units on disk.
    4'147'437 allocation units available on disk.

C:\>fsutil dirty query f:
Volume - f: is NOT Dirty

C:\>convert f: /FS:NTFS /NoSecurity
The type of the file system is FAT32.
Enter current volume label for drive F: PHL
Volume PHL created 12/28/2009 11:11 AM
Volume Serial Number is 1E0F-11E4
Windows is verifying files and folders...
File and folder verification is complete.
Windows has checked the file system and found no problems.
  195'310'688 KB total disk space.
       44'352 KB in 346 hidden files.
       77'184 KB in 2'396 folders.
   62'471'136 KB in 47'914 files.
  132'717'984 KB are available.

       32'768 bytes in each allocation unit.
    6'103'459 total allocation units on disk.
    4'147'437 allocation units available on disk.

This drive is dirty and cannot be converted. You will need to
clear the dirty bit on this drive by running CHKDSK /F or allowing
AUTOCHK to run on it the next time you reboot.
The conversion failed.
F: was not converted to NTFS
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 26130434
Do you have another PC you can connect this drive to?
If yes then try to run the CHKDSK on it first and after that try to convert. I think there are problems with current OS that cannot run check properly if the dirty flag remains on FS.
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Author Comment

by:PhL
ID: 26130686
chksdk /f broke the USB connection at the very beginning :-(  !
And pretended three directory entries were deleted...

I run Windiff now to compare with my Back-up !
Only identical files yet although the "damaged" directories were scan...

At least 2 hours to go !!


What about setting the dirty bit myself ?
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 26131385
Don't know how to remove it but I would read this and try the suggestions: http://www.infocellar.com/winxp/chkdsk-and-autochk.htm
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Author Closing Comment

by:PhL
ID: 31670258
A workaround but effective !
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