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

By Rick ยท 14 replies
Feb 10, 2002
  1. 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?
  2. DaveSylvia

    DaveSylvia TS Rookie Posts: 107

  3. ToRN

    ToRN TS Rookie Posts: 156

    PQ Partition Magic?

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

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    I think 512k is the limit...No hard drives will support more. Or am I incorrect?:suspiciou
  5. DaveSylvia

    DaveSylvia TS Rookie Posts: 107

    The cluster size is dependent on the operating system and file system being used.
  6. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274


    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...
  7. Ai Hate

    Ai Hate TS Rookie Posts: 302

    Re: Hmm

    really? all i saw when installing it was the option to choose whther to format it in NTFS, FAT32 or 16.
  8. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    I meant once installed, you can create a new partition on a new drive for example, & there you can choose the cluster size...
  9. duku

    duku TS Rookie Posts: 41

    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.
  10. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Topic Starter Posts: 4,572   +65

    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.
  11. DaveSylvia

    DaveSylvia TS Rookie Posts: 107

    What prevents you from converting to NTFS and then after that, formating it to the desired cluster size?
  12. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Topic Starter Posts: 4,572   +65

    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:
  13. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    BTW what's the difference between NTFS 5.0 & 5.1 ?
    Is 5.0 in Win2K & 5.1 in WinXP ?
  14. Ai Hate

    Ai Hate TS Rookie Posts: 302

  15. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    Come with me! It is the only way...


    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.

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