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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J

John John - MVP

The 32GB limit only applies to the Windows XP disk Formatting utility,
Windows XP will not format partitions larger than 32GB to FAT32 but it
has no problems mounting FAT32 disks that are much larger than that.
You could prepare an 80GB FAT32 disk with Windows 98 or with other third
party disk utilities and then move the disk to your Windows XP
installation and Windows XP will have no problems mounting the disk, you
could even install Windows XP on the larger FAT32 disk prepared by other
disk tools. Whether you would really want to do this is another
question altogether, Windows XP doesn't format disks larger than 32GB to
FAT32 because for larger disks the FAT32 file system is very inefficient.

Disk cloning and disk imaging utilities will not allow you to change the
file system, these utilities will recreate an identical disk or image,
other than allowing you to restore or clone to a larger disk the cloned
or imaged disk will be identical to the original, the file system will
remain the same.

There are different ways in which you could move your FAT32 installation
to a larger NTFS drive.

1- Clone or image your installation to a larger FAT32 disk then use the
Windows XP Convert utility to convert the larger disk to NTFS. Be
warned that FAT32 disks created with third party utilities may not be
aligned to a 4K boundary and that converting such disks to NTFS may
result in a disk with 512 byte sectors, this is something that you want
to avoid. There is an easy solution to that problem, read here:
http://aumha.org/win5/a/ntfscvt.htm

2- You could mount your present Windows XP installation and your new
disk to another Windows XP installation. From this different Windows XP
installation you could prepare the new larger disk and format it NTFS
and mark it as active. Then you could use Xcopy or Robocopy to copy the
old disk to the new one. You could install Windows XP on any spare
drive to do this copy over to the new disk, this would only be a
temporary Windows installation, nothing that you need to fuss over,
there is no need to activate the Windows installation for this, once
your copy job is done you will simply discard this temporary
installation. You could also do this copy job with a Bart's PE Boot
Disk or with an Ultimate Boot CD for Windows ( http://www.ubcd4win.com/
). After the copy job is done make sure that you place the disk in the
same position in your computer (on the same controller and in the same
Master/Slave disk relationship as the old one) and it should boot.

When you boot your newly cloned or copied disk you should make sure that
it is the only disk that is connected, unplug your other hard drives for
this very first boot, this will avoid potential known drive letter
problems that can sometimes occur with cloned drives, after the first
successful boot you can then connect your other had disks. If you find
that the newly copied disk doesn't want to boot you may need to boot to
the Windows XP Recovery Console and issue the Fixboot and Fixmbr commands.

John
 
G

Gerry

Joel

Can you please clarify the information about the hard drive containing your
operating system? Are you saying you are only using 32 gb of the 40 gb
drive? What is the existing cluster size? How much free disk space do you
have? How much free disk space do you think you need to have to convert?

You have expressed concern about the age of the drive? What is your
situation regarding operating system CDs? How many CD's are you relying on
to clean install Windows XP SP3 if that became necessary or are you reliant
on Norton Ghost?

--


Gerry
~~~~
FCA
Stourport, England
Enquire, plan and execute
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
J

JS

Ghost can not restore an image backup
created from a FAT32 partition and restore
it to an NTFS partition.

Ghost Image restore:
FAT32 to FAT32 - Yes
NTFS to NTFS - Yes
FAT32 to NTFS - No
NTFS to FAT32 - No

Partition sizes on the old drive are not required
to be the same size on the new hard drive. So
you can image for example a 40GB NTFS partition
on your 80GB drive and restore it to a 100GB
NTFS partition on your new 500GB drive.
 
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P

Patrick Keenan

JW Johnson said:
My boot disk is FAT32 (holdover from Win98). Therefore I'm limited to 32GB
(40GB physical disk).


Not so. You can only*format* to 32 gig with native XP tools, you can use
other tools to format to larger sizes.
Can my boot disk 1. Be NTFS, and 2. A larger partition,
such as 80GB or larger?

Yes and yes.
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

AFAIK you can't change filesystem while cloning. Clone to the larger disk
(use a proportional method so that the entire disk is used) and then run
CONVERT.

HTH
-pk
 

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