Saturday 27 October 2007

System Builder Tip: Windows XP converting FAT32 to NTFS

We just rebuilt an Acer 6460 that is about a year old. The laptop came with a Hitachi Travelstar HTS541616J9SA00 160GB 5400RPM SATA 2.5" drive.

This is the second Hitachi drive failure in this laptop since the unit was purchased.

We are experiencing a very high rate of failure on their laptop hard drives relative to the other manufacturer's drives we see installed in the laptops we sell. Toshiba hard drives run a somewhat close second.

After running the system restore DVD, we ended up with a single FAT32 partition on the replacement drive with no recovery partition.

So, to save a little time we ran the Windows XP built in FAT32 to NTFS converter.

From the command line, one runs: convert c: /fs:ntfs [Enter]

The OS will not be able to run the conversion since we are converting the system partition. It will balk at dismounting the system partition.

Answering yes to the request to run the conversion on the next reboot will solve it.

In this case, the system started the utility on the reboot, then rebooted the system once to continue the conversion process.

Once the conversion is complete, it is important to scan the drive with the Defragment Utility. There will be a bit of a messy organization on the drive after the conversion, so we will need to defragment the drive.

Once that is done, we went on to run all of the available updates and setup the laptop for the user.

Microsoft KB 307881: How to convert a FAT16 volume or a FAT32 volume to an NTFS file system in Windows XP.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

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