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Fat32 and NTFS


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#1 v6nce

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 04:15 PM

I have just backed up my laptop to an external HDD using windows backup but my system runs Fat32 and the external HDD had to be formatted to NTFS to allow 18Gb backup. My concern is if I should need to restore a Fat 32 backup stored on an NTFS drive back to a fat 32 drive will it work or have I caused a problem for myself.
I should point out that last week I contracted a version of Windows Essential Security Suite Virus which has totally naffed my OS with my help but thats for another thread Just wanted to express the high likleyhood of needing my backup

If this is a problem can anyone tell me how to workaround it please before I mess with my OS any more. Win XP MCE SP3

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#2 Platypus

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 04:32 PM

If I'm understanding your backup procedure correctly, you shouldn't have any problem. The contents of the backup will be the same regardless of the file system used on the storage device. Co-incidentally, I've just in the last couple of days restored an image of a FAT32 XP installation that was stored on an NTFS drive, as part of a repair process.

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#3 hamluis

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 04:43 PM

The file system...only applies to the hard drive. The hard drive can be considered the storage cabinet, able to accommodate many articles.

The file system employed on the hard drive...if FAT is used...has limitations which are not there if NTFS is used. The key thing to remember is that a file is just a file, being placed in storage on the file system used by the hard drive.

Soooo...there is no such thing as a FAT32 file or an NTFS file. There are only files...and the file system used on the partition/drive. The only variable is the file system used by the hard drive.

One of the limitations of the FAT file system...has to do with the size of the file. You cannot store an 18GB file on a FAT32 file system in one piece, while it's easily done in NTFS.

Essentially...there is no reason to use FAT32 file system, while there is compelling reason to change the file system from FAT32 to NTFS.

Your file doesn't care which file system is used...but, as I said, the FAT32 file system has file size limitations....that don't exist if you use the NTFS file system.

You can easily change your file system from FAT32 to NTFS, Converting FAT32 to NTFS in Windows XP - http://www.aumha.org/win5/a/ntfscvt.php.

Dated but useful, http://www.theeldergeek.com/ntfs_or_fat32_file_system.htm.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307881

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#4 v6nce

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 05:44 AM

Sorry for the delay. Just wanted to say thanks for the advice to you both that puts my mind at rest on that problem.

#5 Platypus

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 06:15 AM

Glad to help. Thanks for posting back.

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#6 cryptodan

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 08:33 AM

One of the limitations of the FAT file system...has to do with the size of the file. You cannot store an 18GB file on a FAT32 file system in one piece, while it's easily done in NTFS.



You would have to break that 18Gig File into 6 Equal Parts as FAT32 doesn't support file sizes over 4Gigs.




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