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External Hard Drive Format Question?.


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#1 bluesjunior

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 03:17 AM

I recently installed a Buffalo HD-EU2 Just Store Desktop 1TB external hard drive to my Windows 7 Home Premium OS to use as a back up system. It was very easy to install and I immediately set about transferring my files. Yesterday I came across a few reviews of said drive and one mentioned it being formatted as FAT32 rather than NTFS, while another said it was just plug and play with no need to format. When I highlight the internal "C drive" in Computer at the bottom it tells me it is NTFS but when I highlight the HD-EU2 icon it tells me it is FAT32. As the files are all playing on my PC I am not sure what this means and how it affects me?. If it is formatted FAT32 then can I format the drive and transferred files to NTFS with the files in or should I transfer them back to the C drive, format the external drive and the re transfer the files again. Excuse my ignorance but I just don't know what this means!!!. Thanks in advance for any advice offered.
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3, CPU: AMD Athlon II X3 450 Processor, Memory: OCZ 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1333MHz,Graphics: PowerColor HD 5750 1GB GDDR5,
PSU: Corsair 430W CX PSU 4x SATA 1x PCI-E, Hard Drive:Samsung SpinPoint F3 500GB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 16MB Cache.

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#2 Andrew

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 03:58 AM

FAT32 is an older filesystem from Microsoft which was used in versions of Windows like Windows 98 and Windows ME. NTFS is Microsoft's "new" filesystem which was invented in the early 1990's.

NTFS has a number of features and improvements over FAT32 such as reslience to damage, performance, and support for files larger than 4GB. One of the advantages that FAT32 has over NTFS is that pretty much every computer made since 1995, and every operating system too, knows how to read and write to it. It's worth pointing out that the manufacturer of this drive markets it as being compatible with devices like televisions as well as PCs which is possible because it uses FAT32 instead of NTFS.

The practical upshot of all this is that if you're happy with the way it works now and you're not planning to try to store files larger than 4GB such as movies or other large files, then you can just leave it be. You will be taking a bit of a speed penalty but considering that the drive connects over USB 2.0 you probably won't notice it.

Should you decide that NTFS is the way to go, you ought to be able to convert the drive with Windows' built-in convert.exe command line tool, see this Microsoft How-To for information. Bear in mind that while you can convert FAT32 to NTFS you can't go back without reformatting.

#3 Allan

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 06:03 AM

Bottom line, FAT and NTFS are simply file systems. As suggested above, if everything is working don't worry about it.

#4 bluesjunior

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 08:56 AM

Thanks for the reply guys.I will just leave it as is then.
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3, CPU: AMD Athlon II X3 450 Processor, Memory: OCZ 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1333MHz,Graphics: PowerColor HD 5750 1GB GDDR5,
PSU: Corsair 430W CX PSU 4x SATA 1x PCI-E, Hard Drive:Samsung SpinPoint F3 500GB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 16MB Cache.




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