Saturday, April 04, 2009

Cleaning up the Attic: Convert command

For logic that now seems a bit fuzzy to me, I made the decision when my XP desktop system hard-drive failed, to continue with the four-partition model.

C: = system drive - NTFS

D: = pictures – FAT32

E: = music – FAT32

F: = storage – FAT32

Long time ago we used to have dual-partitioned systems at work as the standard with the system partition being NTFS and the other being FAT32.  We did this as (at the time) there was a dearth of boot tools that could read NTFS volumes “off-line” for file recovery, but could handle FAT32 just fine.

So we would set the user’s “My Documents” folder to that partition so we could always recover them.

Then Linux allowed reading of NTFS volumes.

Then Win PE came along.

So it didn’t really matter anymore.

I think I probably kept with that model at home.

Anyway, these three volumes are the only ones left at home that remain FAT32.  All the other systems are NTFS now…all the way, baby.

So I decided to convert them to NTFS.

First I ran a defrag session on them.

Then I launched a CMD (command line) window.

Off the C: prompt I typed:


DISKPART > list volume

That 2nd command at the Diskpart prompt listed all the volumes/partitions on my system as well as the “labels” given to each one.

I then exited out of diskpart and ran the following commands, waiting until each had completed before doing the next.

convert d: /fs:ntfs

convert e: /fs:ntfs

convert f: /fs:ntfs

At each point after some checks were done, I had to enter the label of the volume.  I just referenced and used the information gathered from DISKPART.

Each volume took just under five minutes to complete.  No reboot necessary in my case.

When I was done, all my partitions are now running with NTFS formatting.

And in my case, no data was lost in translation!


More linkage

--Claus V.


Ronald said...

Check the cluster size to verify if it converted to a 512 byte cluster size:

JC said...

The main advantage of NTFS at home is its speed in retrieving files in overloaded directories. Which is generally the case for music and photos.

Note: You have to check the cluster size if FAT32 partitions were formatted with a win98 or prior system. The standard of 4kB is acceptable for general uses.

Claus said...

@ Ronald & JC - Thanks for the prompting to check.

As typical in this case, the covert command did NTFS format all the drives at the 512 byte size. My original NTFS system partition was already at the standard 4K cluster size.

(note to readers: I confirmed Ronald and JC's cluster size check by running the "chkdsk X:" command where "X" was the drive letter.)

One volume at a time, I copied the files off each volume, then reformatted each volume: format x: /fs:ntfs /v:label /q /y /x

Then I copied the files back.

The copy rate difference was amazingly (not really with the cluster size change) faster going back to the 4K cluster size partition than it was between the 512 byte cluster sized partitions.

The convert command is great for in-place NTFS upgrading, but yes, to get the cluster size at the standard 4K size and corresponding performance improvement, you will have to do a clean format instead.

Good to know either way you go.


--Claus V.