Is there a way to convert FAT32 to NTFS 5.0/5.1 with a specific cluster size?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Rick

Posts: 4,512   +66
Fortunately, it is possible to convert FAT32 to NTFS. Unfortunately, Windows 2000 and XP change the cluster size to 512 bytes by default, and only 512 bytes.

I would prefer to have a larger cluster size. Are there utilities or a hidden feature in Windows XP/2000 I'm not aware of that are capable of this?
 

DaveSylvia

Posts: 106   +0
http://www.pureperformance.com/NT/hd/hd04.htm
Note: Increasing the cluster size does not always increase disk performance. If the partition contains lots of small files a smaller cluster size might be better.
There are two ways to change the cluster size. The first is with the command line option Format <drive>:/FS:NTFS /A:<Cluster Size> the other is to use disk administrator select format and change the allocation unit size. NTFS supports 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192, 16K, 32K, 64K. FAT supports 8192, 16K, 32K, 64K, 128K, 256K. NTFS compression is not supported for allocation unit sizes above 4096.
1. Backup the partition.
2. Reformat the partition with the new cluster size.
3. Restore the partition.
4. Benchmark the partition.
5. Repeat this procedure until you find the optimal cluster size.
 

ToRN

Posts: 147   +0
PQ Partition Magic?

Ever tried Powerquest Partition Magic 7? Not sure, but you can try.
 

DaveSylvia

Posts: 106   +0
From http://thingy.apana.org.au/~fun/slrn/clusters.html
A cluster is the minimum unit of file space on a hard disk or disk partition; what Windows calls an 'allocation unit'. If the cluster size is 8 KB, then a 1 KB file and a 7 KB file will each take 8 KB of actual disk space; a 9 KB file will take 16 KB. Smaller clusters are more space-efficient; larger clusters offer somewhat faster performance.
The cluster size is dependent on the operating system and file system being used.
 

Didou

Posts: 4,182   +5
Hmm

In Win2K, you have the option to use Bigger cluster sizes but only when formating a partition :(

I'm not sure you can do it when converting from FAT32, prolly a compatibility problem...
 

Ai Hate

Posts: 293   +0
Re: Hmm

Originally posted by Didou
In Win2K, you have the option to use Bigger cluster sizes but only when formating a partition :(
really? all i saw when installing it was the option to choose whther to format it in NTFS, FAT32 or 16.
 

Didou

Posts: 4,182   +5
I meant once installed, you can create a new partition on a new drive for example, & there you can choose the cluster size...
 

duku

Posts: 41   +0
The problem resides in the conversion process from FAT32 to NTFS. The clusters needs to aligned to 4k boundaries, if they aren't, the parttion is converted with the smallest possible cluster size (which is 512). Actually, this is not such a bad thing as it seems- of course, theoretically speaking smaller cluster - greater overhead, but practical it's not very visible (of course, if you have many small files, it will become painfully visible, but this not the case of the average user).

Partition Magic 7 Pro documentation claims that the program has a feature (in conversion menu) that aligns clusters on a FAT32 partition to 4k boundaries (for the interested ones, it's available for free at PowerQuest site), which allows a conversion to NTFS without a cluster resize. Although I own this program, I couldn't find the specified feature...

I don't think there are other programs that can do the conversion, because Microsoft's licensing system (also the reason for the lack of a free NTFS driver for DOS/Win9x). In fact, Partition Magic must use MS's CONVERT.EXE to do the trick...

A workaround (which I've tried myself) is to archive all the files on the partition to be converted in one big RAR/ZIP/ACE or whatever file (like a disk image...). This way you can do the 4k alignment and bypass the cluster conversion.
 

Rick

Posts: 4,512   +66
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #10
Thanks for the info

The responses are appreciated. It saddens me to see there is no way to actually convert FAT32 to NTFS with a specific cluster size. I do a lot of frequient upgrading for people and I'd like to use NTFS if at all possible. I never feel right using such a small cluster size.

I realize it may not affect performance aside from benchmarking, but it's unnerving to me to know what is going on under the hood when I convert FAT32 over to NTFS.

I'll give Partition Magic 7 a try, if I can get my hands on it.
 

Rick

Posts: 4,512   +66
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #12
Formatting is not an option in many cases. Backing up a 60gb drive filled to the brim isn't exactly what I had in mind, for example. It also is not within my capacity, as I have not spare hard disks to do such a thing. :eek:
 

Didou

Posts: 4,182   +5
BTW what's the difference between NTFS 5.0 & 5.1 ?
Is 5.0 in Win2K & 5.1 in WinXP ?
 

Phantasm66

Posts: 4,909   +8
Come with me! It is the only way...

It's not clear what benefits the point rev of NTFS brings. The documentation with the beta code doesn't seem to refer to NTFS 5.1 specifically, although it does mention a couple of minor benefits of the file system, including read-only NTFS partitions. The notes don't refer to collateral damage to utility software either, but this sort of thing does happen regularly, so maybe the vendors are just supposed to take it as a given.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/17783.html


NTFS 5.0 an 5.1 have some pretty nifty stuff, which will only become apparent if you format a drive with it and start playing around with Disk Administator, and start to right click lots of things.

With dynamic disks you can do things like make another partition somewhere else and just add it onto the same volume (i.e. drive letter and stuff.) Its not so "to change it you have to recreate it" as with NTFS under Windows NT4. which was still cool but missed some very critical features.

New features of the NTFS 5.0/5.1 file system include:



Disk quotas. Administrators can limit the amount of disk space users can consume on a per-volume basis. The three quota levels are: Off, Tracking, and Enforced.


Encryption. The NTFS file system can automatically encrypt and decrypt file data as it is read and written to the disk.


Reparse points. Programs can trap open operations against objects in the file system and run their own code before returning file data. This feature can be used to extend file system features such as mount points, which you can use to redirect data read and written from a folder to another volume or physical disk.


Sparse files. This feature allows programs to create very large files, but to consume disk space only as needed.


USN Journal. This feature provides a persistent log of all changes made to files on the volume. This feature is one of the reasons that Windows 2000 domain controller must use an NTFS partition as the system volume.
http://www.jsiinc.com/SUBI/tip4100/rh4174.htm
 
Status
Not open for further replies.