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Thread: Ntfs / Fat32

  1. #1
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    Question Ntfs / Fat32

    Hi,

    I have just become the proud owner of a Western Digital My Book ext hard drive, which I purchased specificaly for backing up.
    I am a little confused because it is supposedly ready for use with XP Home, (NTFS) but is ready formatted for FAT32!
    Surely you can't back up NTFS files on a FAT32 hard drive?
    The instructions say it can be re-formatted to NTFS, but I would loose any pre-installed software. As the hard drive comes with EMC Retrospect Express Backup software, I certaily don't want to loose that.

    Any advice appreciated.

    Rob

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    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    Transfering between NTFS and FAT32 is no problem at all, you just lose some metadata about the file (things like when it was last accessed/disk indexing etc. - you still get the fat32 metadata though).

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    Yep using most OS fat32 to NFTS is easy

    It is like putting files from your HDD(NFTS) onto a pen drive (FAT32)

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    Is there nothing to be gained by changeing to NTFS then?
    I thought NTFS files took up less space?

    Plus I will be backing up photos & music; will I loose additional indexing information with FAT32 then?
    Last edited by Robbob; 03-04-2007 at 10:28 AM. Reason: add

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    NFTS does not become as degframented as quickly as FAT32. You would need to degframent a fat 32 drive about once a month to keep it running smothly. A file system such as EX3 does not need any defragmenting though

    I am not sure but I don't think Fat 32 takes up any more space or looses information in any way.
    Last edited by bfbf; 03-04-2007 at 10:47 AM. Reason: more info added

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    NTFS is more resistant to problems, but is less compatable with other systems. So mose removable things are put as FAT32.
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    NTFS supports files over 4GiB, FAT32 does not

    NTFS supports extended file metadata, FAT32 does not

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    You can convert from fat32 to NTFS without losing any data. Start -> Help & type in NTFS:

    "However, it is still advantageous to use NTFS, regardless of whether the partition was formatted with NTFS or converted. A partition can also be converted after Setup by using Convert.exe. For more information about Convert.exe, after completing Setup, click Start, click Run, type cmd, and then press ENTER. In the command window, type help convert, and then press ENTER."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fabula View Post
    NTFS is more resistant to problems, but is less compatable with other systems. So mose removable things are put as FAT32.
    This is true, although another reason for this (especially with Flash drives) is that NTFS causes the drive to make more writes due to the metadata structure used (which is absent with FAT filesystems). It's also the reason why we never had NTFS on a floppy disk (although I believe it's possible).
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    I've always stuck with FAT32 external drives because not everything I have can read NTFS.
    When it comes to backing up, you won't lose any information if you use a utility tha compresses data into into an archive. Some metadata is lost if you just copy files between NTFS and FAT32 and back again. Its not usually a problem. Data such as EXIF isn't lost.
    I use partition Magic to partition my drives and it's possible to changes the file system non-destructively. I'm not sure that you won't lose functionality though. The drive might actually need some files for it's own hardware, for instance, and if it can't read NTFS, it wouldn't work. I don't know, but I'd check before committing yourself.
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    Pedandic mo-fo IAmATeaf's Avatar
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    Can't you backup the software on the disk and then reformat it?

    I did this for my external WD 250gb USB drive. I know FAT32 provides for more compatibility but I'd rather have the secureness that NTFS provides, as well as the above features it all write the sector layout of the file at the tail end of the file as a backup just in case the normal data at the head is unreadable.

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