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Converting a File System to NTFS

Just as Thomas Wolfe (in Look Homeward Angel) said, "You can never go home again," the same holds true after you convert a partition from FAT to NTFS. Think about it: Why would you? The entire structure of the file system and the way data is organized changes from 16-bit to 32-bit; and opens up the use of longer file names, encryption, and better overall security. Why would anyone want to go back? Just be sure to tell anyone that gets hold of the convert command that once it's done, it's really done.

Although the Convert program that is included with Windows XP does not destroy data, but when changing something as fundamental as a file system, it's a good idea to back up all files anyway—just in case something goes wrong. Follow the steps here to convert a partition from FAT to NTFS:

  1. Close all applications on your desktop.

  2. Select the Command Prompt window from the Accessories menu.

  3. The command prompt window is actually an emulation of a Pentium-class PC running DOS. It's an emulator that Microsoft has perfected over versions of Windows NT/2000/XP.

  4. At the command prompt, type convert {drive letter}; /fs:ntfs, and press Enter.

  5. Follow the series of instructions onscreen and then reboot your system to make sure the changes made are written to the Registry.

  6. That's it! You now have a partition that is based on NTFS.

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