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Chapter 4. Windows XP Applications and Tools > FAT to NTFS Conversion Utility

FAT to NTFS Conversion Utility \windows\system32\convert.exe

Convert a drive using the File Allocation Table (FAT) filesystem to the more robust NT File System (NTFS).

To Open

Command Prompt convert


convert volume /fs:ntfs [/v] [/cvtarea:fn] [/nosecurity] [/x]


The filesystem is the invisible mechanism on any drive that is responsible for keeping track of all the data stored on the drive. Think of the filesystem as a massive table of contents, matching up each filename with its corresponding data stored somewhere on the disk surface. The File Allocation Table (FAT) file system first appeared in DOS, and has been the basis for each successive version of Windows, including Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows Me. A slightly improved version of FAT, called FAT32, was introduced in Windows 95 OSR2 and included support for larger drives and smaller cluster sizes.

Meanwhile, the Windows NT/2000 line of operating systems also supported the newer and more robust NTFS filesystem. Among other things, NTFS provides much more sophisticated security than FAT or FAT32 does, as well as encryption and compression. However, NTFS and FAT/FAT32 are not compatible with each other, and since Windows 9x/Me doesn’t support NTFS, you’ll need to stick with FAT or FAT32 if you intend to have a dual-boot system. Furthermore, if you’ve upgraded from Windows 9x/Me, your drive probably still uses the FAT or FAT32 filesystem. This tool is used to convert a FAT or FAT32 drive to an NTFS drive without damaging the data stored on it. To convert drive c:, for example, type the following:

convert c: /fs:ntfs

The following options are also available:


Run the Conversion Utility in verbose mode (provide more information).

/cvtarea :filename

Specify a contiguous file in the root directory as the placeholder for NTFS system files.


Include this parameter if you want the initial security privileges for all files and folders on the newly converted volume to be set so the files and folders are accessible by everyone.


Force the volume to dismount first—if necessary, closing any opened files on the volume. Use this option if you’re on a network and concerned that other users may disrupt the conversion by accessing your drive during the process.


To determine the filesystem currently used on any drive, right-click the drive icon in My Computer or Explorer, and select Properties.

See Also

“Chkntfs”, “DiskPart”

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