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NTFS Partition Conversion
One way of getting an NTFS partition on a system that supports the file system is to create one from scratch, of course. :^) This is pretty easy to do. However, there are also situations where you may wish to transform an existing partition from another file system into NTFS. To do this requires that the partition be converted. Conversion causes the operating system to change the structures of the partition to match the NTFS file system, while retaining all of the directories and files that the volume contains. Most commonly, FAT file system partitions are converted to NTFS.
Microsoft provides a tool as part of the Windows NT and Windows 2000 operating systems that allows you to convert a FAT partition into NTFS. Unsurprisingly, it is called "CONVERT.EXE". :^) You run it from the command line using an invocation such as "convert c: /fs:ntfs", which tells Windows to convert the "C:" volume into the NTFS file system. The conversion is fairly straight-forward, but there are some caveats you should keep in mind when performing a conversion:
Another option is to make use of third-party partitioning utilities such as Partition Magic. Most of these programs include the ability to convert a partition from NTFS to FAT or vice-versa, and some will also convert to other file system formats as well. Of course, the disadvantage with a third-party program is fairly obvious: you have to pay to buy the software!
Warning: As with any
extensive, low-level disk modification, conversion runs the (small) risk of data loss,
especially if the process is somehow interrupted. It is advisable that you back up the
entire contents of the partition before starting the conversion. It's also a good idea to
use a UPS during the process, and avoid
such operations during times when the electrical service is unstable (such as during a