Convert File System in XP

Before you start

Objectives: learn how to convert from FAT to NTFS and from NTFS to FAT in Windows XP.

Prerequisites: you should know about different types of files systems that can be utilized in Windows.

Key terms: convert, fat, ntfs, file, partition, drive, command, conversion, format

Example Configuration

In this demonstration we will see how to change from one file system to another. In first example we have an NTFS partition that we want to convert back to FAT32. The only way to do that is to format the partition. To format a partition we have to right-click it, and then select ‘Format’.

 Format Volume

Image 252.1 – Format Volume

In our example, we have a partition that is 4.9 GB in size. We will convert it to FAT32, leave the default allocation size and enable ‘Quick Format’. When we are ready, we will click on the ‘Start’ button. Remember, we have to backup all our files because formatting will destroy them. When we click ‘Start’, the warning message appears. We will click OK.


Image 252.2 – Warning

If everything went fine, the ‘Formating Complete’ message appears.

 Format Complete

Image 252.3 – Format Complete

To check the File System of our partition, right-click it and select its Properties.

 Partition Properties

Image 252.4 – Partition Properties

In our second example we want to convert from FAT32 to NTFS. We can do this by using the ‘format’ utility, however, we can also make the conversion without erasing any data from our partition. To do that we can use the ‘convert’ utility. To open ‘convert’, we have to go to the Command Prompt. Let’s go to the Start Menu, Run, enter CMD, and click OK.


Image 252.5 – Run Menu


Image 252.6 – CMD

Here we have to enter the command ‘convert’, then the drive that we want to convert (E in our example), then ‘/fs:’, and then file system that we want to convert to. In our example the command will look like this: convert e: /fs:ntfs.

 Convert Utility

Image 252.7 – Convert Utility

When we hit ‘Enter’, it will ask us to enter volume label for drive E:. In our example we will enter ‘Volume’ as our volume label.

 Volume Label

Image 252.8 – Volume Label

When we hit ‘Enter’ again, the conversion process will start. In our example everything went fine.

 Conversion Complete

Image 252.9 – Conversion Complete

Let’s go to ‘My Computer’ and check the file system on E partition. As we can see, the file system is now NTFS.


Image 252.10 – NTFS File System


To convert from NTFS to FAT we have to format our partition. Formating will erase all data on the partition. To convert from FAT to NTFS we can use the ‘convert’ command line utility. When using ‘convert’ utility, no data is being erased.

Commands that are mentioned in this article
  • convert e: /fs:ntfs – CMD command which will convert E partition to the NTFS file system