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Converting a drive from exFAT to NTFS: drawbacks?

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River Horse

River Horse


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I want to convert my WD 8TB My Book - https://www.wdc.com/...BGB0080HBK-NESN - from exFAT to NTFS. I do not use Mac.And NFTS is supposed to have a better performance, to be the better file system (but why)?


Might there be any drawbacks of converting the drive?


How much space on the drive do I need to convert it? There are 665 GB free space on it, is it enoug? The data on the drive will not be deleted?


Does converting take as long as it does to copy the same data being on to the drive? That would mean it lasts about 2, 3 days, 24/7.

Edited by River Horse, 28 September 2017 - 12:52 AM.

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Hi River Horse,


The "better performance" that you mention, will hardly be noticeable in the normal day to day work, however the 4GB "limit" on copying individual files on FAT32 will not apply to NTFS...... You mention that you do not use Mac operating systems, but NTFS also has difficulty writing to Linux using native tools. This greater degree of compatibility is one of the main reasons for  many External drives being formatted (as shipped) in Fat32


Fat32 can be converted to NTFS using an elevated command prompt from within Windows..... BUT this is a one way process it cannot be reversed without reformatting.( reformatting deletes the data)


If converting using an elevated command prompt then I would still recommend that you check  you have a complete and accurate back up of all the data on your external drive kept safely elsewhere.... check it and then check it again....... Using convert.exe from an elevated command prompt "should not" result in  data loss, however it can and does from time to time so a full backup is highly recommended.


Sometimes it's more reliable to delete the FAT32 partition by reformatting in NTFS (this will DELETE your data)  and starting afresh with NTFS. however the importance of a 100% effective backup strategy is paramount)


Before embarking on the conversion think carefully about the expected benefits that you hope to achieve.... this procedure operates at a fundamental level...so is not to be undertaken lightly, however it can provide folks with the facilities required for their individual needs.


If the advantages to you outweigh the disadvantages then "go for it!"




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River Horse

River Horse


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Hello paws,


Thank you very much!


however the 4GB "limit" on copying individual files on FAT32 will not apply to NTFS

Oops, what?! It cannot be true what I understand. I understand one cannot copy / move files bigger than 4 GB to a drive formated in exFAT. So if I try to copy a 5 GB movie to that drive formated in exFAT it would not be copied? It would not work? Ah, no, you say FAT32, not exFAT...I see, you refer to FAT32 only? Not exFAT, I assume? Sorry.


Alright, actually I did not want to use FAT32 but exFAT. It appears there are less (useful) information about exFAT on the Net, cannot find many. But now I found some saying exFAT cannot be converted to NTFS.


Yes, a back up in any case.


Yes, and anyway, may be better reformat, not converting at all.


Many thanks again

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