XP Home SP3 -- FAT32 vs NTFS boot disk question


J

JW Johnson

My boot disk is FAT32 (holdover from Win98). Therefore I'm limited to 32GB
(40GB physical disk). Can my boot disk 1. Be NTFS, and 2. A larger partition,
such as 80GB or larger? It's not like I'm running of space (I have 240GB on 2
other disks), but the boot drive is getting up there in age, and I'd like to
replace it before something bad happens. Ideally, I'd like to use my 80GB as
my boot disk so I can the 40GB, and replace the 80GB with a 500GB or larger
drive. Although 90% of my data is on secondary drives, I don't have enough
space on the boot disk to attempt a NTFS conversion.

Also, I use Norton Ghost. Does anyone know if I can image a FAT32 drive to
an NTFS drive? Thanks in advance. Joel
 
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S

Shenan Stanley

JW said:
My boot disk is FAT32 (holdover from Win98). Therefore I'm limited
to 32GB (40GB physical disk). Can my boot disk 1. Be NTFS, and 2. A
larger partition, such as 80GB or larger? It's not like I'm running
of space (I have 240GB on 2 other disks), but the boot drive is
getting up there in age, and I'd like to replace it before
something bad happens. Ideally, I'd like to use my 80GB as my boot
disk so I can the 40GB, and replace the 80GB with a 500GB or larger
drive. Although 90% of my data is on secondary drives, I don't have
enough space on the boot disk to attempt a NTFS conversion.

Also, I use Norton Ghost. Does anyone know if I can image a FAT32
drive to an NTFS drive? Thanks in advance.

Multi-post?!
Please look into cross-posting for the future.

- You were not limited to 32GB by anything other than the OSes formatting
utilities and your lack of knowledge on the facts surrounding FAT32. You
could have used the entire 40GB physical drive (or more if it was available)
as a FAT32 boot partition for Windows XP (or some prior OSes.)

- Your boot disk *can be* NTFS.

- There is no limit I know of (with current systems) of how large your boot
partition can be. Got a 1TB drive - make the entire thing C and bootable.

Looking at your situaion and desire (assuming this is a Windows XP only
sytstem now)... I would probably find myself doing the following:

1) Using my favorite imaging application, imaging my boot drive (your 32GB
partition.)
2) Using Windows XP command line to convert my boot driver to NTFS
(Start --> RUN --> type in: cmd /k convert /? --> Click OK to get more
information.) I would free space if needed by uninstalling software i have
CDs for, safely removing files I have stored on there elsewhere, etc. Even
with applications installed (many many applications) a Windows XP
installation usually takes up between 4.5 and 9GB - so if I had a 32GB
partition - I have PLENTY of space that I must be wasting elsewhere if it is
not showing as free. Yes - there may be a cluster size issue - but nothing
'show stopping'. In fact - I only mention it because if I don't - someone
else might.
3) When it was done successfully (my backup plan was step 1) I would make a
new image of the drive/partition for safe keeping and to transfer it to the
new hard drive.
4) I would install the new hard drive, boot with my imaging software's boot
CD/whatever, apply the image I just made to it - letting it expand to
whatever size the drive is, and then be done with it - having a huge NTFS
boot drive.

Having trouble with the free space thing?

If you are comfortable with the stability of your system, you can delete the
uninstall files for the patches that Windows XP has installed...
http://www3.telus.net/dandemar/spack.htm
( Particularly of interest here - #4 )
( Alternative: http://www.dougknox.com/xp/utils/xp_hotfix_backup.htm )

You can run Disk Cleanup - built into Windows XP - to erase all but your
latest restore point and cleanup even more "loose files"..

How to use Disk Cleanup
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310312

You can turn off hibernation if it is on and you don't use it..

When you hibernate your computer, Windows saves the contents of the system's
memory to the hiberfil.sys file. As a result, the size of the hiberfil.sys
file will always equal the amount of physical memory in your system. If you
don't use the hibernate feature and want to recapture the space that Windows
uses for the hiberfil.sys file, perform the following steps:

- Start the Control Panel Power Options applet (go to Start, Settings,
Control Panel, and click Power Options).
- Select the Hibernate tab, clear the "Enable hibernation" check box, then
click OK; although you might think otherwise, selecting Never under the
"System hibernates" option on the Power Schemes tab doesn't delete the
hiberfil.sys file.
- Windows will remove the "System hibernates" option from the Power Schemes
tab and delete the hiberfil.sys file.

You can control how much space your System Restore can use...

1. Click Start, right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
2. Click the System Restore tab.
3. Highlight one of your drives (or C: if you only have one) and click on
the "Settings" button.
4. Change the percentage of disk space you wish to allow.. I suggest moving
the slider until you have just about 1GB (1024MB or close to that...)
5. Click OK.. Then Click OK again.

You can control how much space your Temporary Internet Files can utilize...

Empty your Temporary Internet Files and shrink the size it stores to a
size between 64MB and 128MB..

- Open ONE copy of Internet Explorer.
- Select TOOLS -> Internet Options.
- Under the General tab in the "Temporary Internet Files" section, do the
following:
- Click on "Delete Cookies" (click OK)
- Click on "Settings" and change the "Amount of disk space to use:" to
something between 64MB and 128MB. (It may be MUCH larger right
now.)
- Click OK.
- Click on "Delete Files" and select to "Delete all offline contents"
(the checkbox) and click OK. (If you had a LOT, this could take 2-10
minutes or more.)
- Once it is done, click OK, close Internet Explorer, re-open Internet
Explorer.

You can use an application that scans your system for log files and
temporary files and use that to get rid of those:

Ccleaner (Free!)
http://www.ccleaner.com/

Other ways to free up space..

SequoiaView
http://www.win.tue.nl/sequoiaview/

JDiskReport
http://www.jgoodies.com/freeware/jdiskreport/index.html

Those can help you visually discover where all the space is being used.

In the end - a standard Windows XP installation with all sorts of extras
will not likely be above about 4.5GB to 9GB in size. If you have more space
than that (likely do on a modern machine) and most of it seems to be used -
likely you need to copy *your stuff* off and/or find a better way to manage
it.
 
A

Anna

JW Johnson said:
My boot disk is FAT32 (holdover from Win98). Therefore I'm limited to 32GB
(40GB physical disk). Can my boot disk 1. Be NTFS, and 2. A larger
partition,
such as 80GB or larger? It's not like I'm running of space (I have 240GB
on 2
other disks), but the boot drive is getting up there in age, and I'd like
to
replace it before something bad happens. Ideally, I'd like to use my 80GB
as
my boot disk so I can the 40GB, and replace the 80GB with a 500GB or
larger
drive. Although 90% of my data is on secondary drives, I don't have enough
space on the boot disk to attempt a NTFS conversion.

Also, I use Norton Ghost. Does anyone know if I can image a FAT32 drive to
an NTFS drive? Thanks in advance. Joel


Joel:
Supplementing the comments & suggestions you rec'd from Shenan Stanley, also
consider this approach...

(But before doing so, and just to ensure I understand your objective(s) and
current situation)...

1. Your current 40 GB HDD is your XP boot disk and is FAT32-formatted.
2. You want to (in effect) clone the contents of that 40 GB HDD to an 80 GB
HDD but with an NTFS file system.
3. You've set aside the 80 GB HDD for this purpose, i.e., there's no data on
that drive that you want to retain, or if you do, you've already copied such
to another drive.
4. Then - apparently at some later date - you want to repeat the exercise,
but this time copying (cloning) the contents of the 80 GB HDD to a 500 GB
(or larger) HDD.

Do I have all this right?

Assuming I do, why don't you simply use your Norton Ghost program's
disk-cloning capability to clone the contents of your 40 GB HDD to the 80 GB
one and following the disk-cloning operation subsequently convert the file
system to NTFS as Shenan has explained?

That way you'll still have a functional 40 GB with the OS intact, together
with all your programs & personal data just in case things go awry. Always
an important consideration.

Since your (apparently) final goal is to utilize a 500 GB (or larger) HDD in
lieu of the 80 GB drive, I suppose it would be more practical at this point
to go from the 40 GB HDD directly to the 500 GB HDD, but I take it for one
reason or another you're not ready to go that route at this time.
Anna
 
B

Bob Harris

To answer your last question, older versions of GHOST, up to about 2003, can
only write to FAT (16 or 32) formatted partitions. That was because the
original Norton GHOST was a DOS-based program. You know that you have one
of these versions, if you use a floppy disk to do the recovery.

Newer versions of GHOST are actually built upon the PowerQuest program
called DriveImage. Symantec, who owns the Norton product line, bought
PowerQuest a few years ago. At least some of these newer versions of GHOST
can write to NTFS partitions. More importantly, they can also read from
such a partition to perform a recovery.

Older versions of GHOST can not (reliably) read/write to/from external USB
and firewire drives. Newer versions can do this.

An alternative to GHOST, which works on NTFS and on external drives is
Acronis TrueImage. Further, the bootable CD it makes for you is more
universal than the one from GHOST. By that I mean it will work on a wider
range of computers, since it does not appear to contain copy protection that
limits the usage to the computer on which the program was originally
installed. For example, if the computer dies, the TrueImage CD could be
used to recover an image to a different computer's spare partition, or to an
external hard drive, from which selected files could be copied.

TrueImage could also be used to restore the operating system and programs to
a different computer, but the odds are about 100% that XP's product
activation would object to that. And, unless you have a CD for a retail
version of XP, such transfers are not permitted (i.e., Microsoft will not
allow you to re-activate). Additionally, moving an XP installation to a
different computer, even if permitted under license, often requires a
"repair installation" to get the hardware-specific HAL and assorted drivers
correct. This is how one would install SATA drivers for the controller on
the motherboard. This repair must be performed immediately after the
transfer, before XP is booted for the first time. Only retail versions of
XP support the repair option.
 
M

Mike

JW Johnson said:
My boot disk is FAT32 (holdover from Win98). Therefore I'm limited to 32GB
(40GB physical disk). Can my boot disk 1. Be NTFS, and 2. A larger
partition,
such as 80GB or larger? It's not like I'm running of space (I have 240GB
on 2
other disks), but the boot drive is getting up there in age, and I'd like
to
replace it before something bad happens. Ideally, I'd like to use my 80GB
as
my boot disk so I can the 40GB, and replace the 80GB with a 500GB or
larger
drive. Although 90% of my data is on secondary drives, I don't have enough
space on the boot disk to attempt a NTFS conversion.

Also, I use Norton Ghost. Does anyone know if I can image a FAT32 drive to
an NTFS drive? Thanks in advance. Joel

No. The cloning/imaging processes retain the original file system type. Anna
provided the best options for you. If the version of Ghost you have balks at
formatting the larger drives as FAT32 then get a copy of Acronis True Image.
It will clone your existing C: drive to any size drive your PC bios can
handle. You don't even have to install it, you can do the whole process by
booting from the Acronis CD. After that you can convert to NTFS.

mike
 
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L

Lil' Dave

JW Johnson said:
My boot disk is FAT32 (holdover from Win98). Therefore I'm limited to 32GB
(40GB physical disk). Can my boot disk 1. Be NTFS, and 2. A larger
partition,
such as 80GB or larger? It's not like I'm running of space (I have 240GB
on 2
other disks), but the boot drive is getting up there in age, and I'd like
to
replace it before something bad happens. Ideally, I'd like to use my 80GB
as
my boot disk so I can the 40GB, and replace the 80GB with a 500GB or
larger
drive. Although 90% of my data is on secondary drives, I don't have enough
space on the boot disk to attempt a NTFS conversion.

Also, I use Norton Ghost. Does anyone know if I can image a FAT32 drive to
an NTFS drive? Thanks in advance. Joel

An imaging program copies the mbr, partition, partition boot record, the
file system, directory structure, files and so forth. If the original
filesystem is FAT32, the restoration from that image will be also. Post
2003 Ghost does work with NTFS type 3 systems but won't convert FAT32 to
NTFS type 3 as an option in an image restoration. It will allow use of the
entire hard disk in restoration to a large capacity hard drive. So, is
there any reason you can't convert to NTFS in XP after the restoration?
 
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