FAT32 (File Allocation Table, 32-bit) is an old file format, and has pretty limited functionality. The file storage is not much efficient, for one thing. Considerable space is wasted due to the large size of file clusters. Besides, you can only create partitions that are less than or equal to 32 GB in capacity using this file system. So, if you are still using this primitive file system, you can forget about using large partitions for storing your files efficiently.

That’s not all. NTFS will also allow you to optimize file sharing, to ensure you do not have to compromise on security when sharing files with your friends or co-workers.

Here is how to convert your FAT32 partition to NTFS in Windows® XP:

  1. Log on as Administrator, or using an account that has administrative privileges.
  2. Open My Computer.
  3. Right click on the drive, which you wish to convert.
  4. In the window that pops up, click on the tab named “Tools”.
  5. Click on the button Defragment Now.
  6. The disk defragmenter of Windows® XP will launch.
  7. Click on Defragment.
  8. Wait for the process to be over. This utility will make sure that all data in the drive is stored in contiguous sectors. This will facilitate the conversion.
  9. Click on “Start” button and choose “Run”.
  10. In the box named “Open”, type “Command”, or “cmd”.
  11. Hit Enter.
  12. The command prompt will open.
  13. In the prompt, type K: /fs:ntfs (where K is the name of your drive, which you defragmented earlier).
  14. You will be asked to enter the drive letter and then two more questions. Answer the questions with Y.
  15. When you are done, the file system in the drive will be converted to NTFS, and the command prompt will close.
  16. It is normal for the system to be busy with constant hard disk activity for several minutes after the command prompt closes. Do not attempt to do anything during this time.
  17. If you are converting the drive where you have the Windows® XP installed, then the system will ask you to reboot the PC. On restarting, the drive will be converted while booting.

Be warned when you perform this procedure. The process is irreversible, and you cannot revert to FAT32 file system without formatting the drive using FAT32 file system. Even if you format the drive again, all data will be unrecoverable, since the file system is being changed completely.

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