Converting a FAT Disk to NTFS

To convert a FAT or FAT32 disk to NTFS, use the command-line Convert utility. The essential syntax is convert d: /fs:ntfs where d is the drive letter you want to convert. For information about optional parameters, type convert /? at the command prompt.

INSIDE OUT

Force Windows to shrink a volume

The process of shrinking a volume in Windows 7 can be frustrating, especially after you've used that volume for any length of time. Even though Disk Management reports ample unused space on the disk, you might find yourself able to shrink the volume by only a small amount. In one recent example, we were working with a 366-GB disk that reportedly had 287 GB of free space. Disk Management, however, reported that it could shrink the volume by only 172 GB. So how do you make use of the extra space? Carefully. Try the following steps in order, checking after each one and stopping when you find that enough space is available:

• Start by disabling System Restore on the volume. (Right-click Computer, and choose Properties. Click System Protection, select the drive on which you want to disable System Restore, and then click Configure. In the System Protection dialog box, click Turn Off System Protection.) This action deletes all existing volume shadow copies on the volume and often frees up a significant amount of space.

• Temporarily configure the volume to use no page file, using the procedure described in "Ensuring That You Have an Adequate Virtual-Memory Configuration" on page 724. Be sure to reset the page file after you complete the disk shrink operation

• Use a third-party defragmenter to reorganize data files, and choose the option to move the Master File Table (MFT) to the beginning of the volume. (You must use a third-party tool for this task; the Windows 7 Defrag tool doesn't offer this capability.) If the MFT is in the middle of the volume, you will be unable to take advantage of any shrink space between it and the end of the data area .

If none of these steps give you as much space as you were looking for, choose the most drastic option: make an image backup of the current volume (see "Creating a System Image Backup" on page 384). After verifying that the image is good, delete the volume and restore it from the image file. Immediately after completing the restore, attempt to shrink the volume again; you should find that virtually all free space is available for you to use

The Convert utility can do its work within Windows if the drive to be converted is not in use. However, if you want to convert the system volume or a volume that holds a page file, you might see an error message when you run Convert. In that case, you must schedule the conversion to occur the next time you start Windows. After you restart the computer, you'll see a prompt that warns you that the conversion is about to begin . You have 10 seconds to cancel the conversion . If you allow it to proceed, Windows will run the Chkdsk utility and perform the conversion automatically. During this process, your computer will restart twice .

caution l n

Converting your system drive to NTFS makes it impossible to restore a previously installed operating system that requires FAT32, such as Windows 9x. The Convert utility warns you about this fact in no uncertain terms . If you have set up your system using a multiboot configuration so that you can continue to run Windows 9x, do not convert the system drive to NTFS; doing so will make it impossible to start your previous Windows version

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