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Old 09-05-2007, 04:42 PM   #1
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A friend of mine bought a Lap-Top and so he brought the computer at my place to install Windows XP.
ok. And at the beginning of the instalation I was given an option:

to format the drive using NTFS file system (quickly)
to format the drive using NTFS file system
to convert the partition to NTFS (from FAT32 to NTFS)
to leave the current file system intact - which doesn`t matter because the PC is brand new, offcourse.

Now all of the PC-s I have seen before have NTFS file systems. Plus if you want to reinstall Windows later and format the drive, the options usually say "format the drive using NTFS file system". And a buddy of mine told me some time ago that that`s the way things should be (NTFS).

So, I converted the partition into NTFS. (from FAT32 to NTFS)

But I`m not sure if I did the right thing - I mean, why the file system was FAT32 in the first place? Did I made a mistake?

The Lap-Top is brand new, as I said, Celeron - M440 (whatever that means); intel processor 1.8 Ghz; 512 RAM etc.
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Old 09-05-2007, 05:21 PM   #2
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fat32 doesn't have user permissions, but can be read by dos and win9x
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Old 09-05-2007, 05:23 PM   #3
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but an ex-alektorophobic
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edit: wops, datas post wasnt there before and already wrote the stuff
that can do nothing wrong so you dont have to be afraid
but why did you just convert it, and not re-format it? was there something before?
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Old 09-05-2007, 05:25 PM   #4
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I think you're right that NTFS is the way to go, the only use of FAT32 nowadays is if you need backwards compatibility for whatever reason. I would have chosen the second option, but if you check the disc's properties and it says NTFS and everything works, it should be fine. You could scan the disc just in case.

The option to convert FAT32 to NTFS must be there to let you preserve your data in a previously used hard disc. Since the computer is brand new I don't know why could it be already formatted in FAT32, perhaps it wasn't and when you selected that option and the installation program didn't find a FAT32 format it just ignored you and formatted the disc normally. Also I don't know if hard discs are sold already formatted, and in which format. But even if the disc came formatted in FAT32 you could (and should) have chosen to format anew, the only purpose of the conversion would be preserving already existing data which your disc didn't contain.

Also the difference between the first and second option is that you can format a disc in quick mode if it's already formatted --in the same format. Again I don't know if you bought your disc already formatted but with the second option (slow NTFS format) you can't go wrong, whether the disc is formatted or not, and whatever the previous format if any.

If you want to be really sure you can simply repeat the procedure, choosing slow NTFS formatting, that will erase the disc completely, then you'd install Win again.

EDIT: Me late too. :P Just noting that DOS v6 and lower cannot read even FAT32, only FAT16.
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Old 09-05-2007, 09:23 PM   #5
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why did you just convert it, and not re-format it? was there something before?[/b]
Whell I think that there can`t be anything there before, it was a brand new PC, it was the first time an opperative system was installed on it.

I guess when I chosed that option, the convertion and instalation started automaticly, or like Japofran said, it maybe didn`t convert it if it was already in NTFS. But I think it did, because this was the first time I saw something like that so...

Anyway if you guys say that no harm is done than... what the hell


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Old 10-05-2007, 08:44 AM   #6
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I advise against using NTFS for your system partition - in case your system gets messed up, you may have problems with getting your data and whatnot out of the damn thing. Been there, done that, and believe me - it's not an experience I'd like to repeat.

FAT32 can be read by Windows 9x, some versions of DOS and pretty much every Linux version.

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Old 10-05-2007, 07:43 PM   #7
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I would personally always stick with NTFS unless you have an earlier version of windows installed on the PC and need to access the drive

If you have FAT32 partition you can convert it to NTFS using either the command line or windows but it cannot be converted back to FAT once converted to NTFS

in response to 5th's comment I would probably recomend that you pull a HDD out of the PC and just stick it in to another Windows XP/2000 PC but if you don't have one available then you can use BART PE as a last resort, I always keep a copy handy for use on problem pc's as it is probably the easiest way to boot and read a dodgy NTFS without another pc handy

(Bart PE basically takes your windows disk and creates a CD that you can boot into a cut down version of windows XP from although as it uses a virtual disk it can be pretty slow on a machine with not much RAM )
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Old 15-05-2007, 09:36 PM   #8
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There is a big limitation with FAT32 partitions: you can't have ISO images larger than 4Gb. As you can see some recent games are shipped into DL disk and it means... you will have an ISO about 8> Gb.
If you can, I suggest you to use always NTFS file system then to tweaks some unuseful features via TuneUp Utilities.
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