Convert NTFS to FAT32 without losing data

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QUESTION :

I understand that you can convert a FAT32 drive to NTFS without formatting or backing up the data and later restoring – is the same thing possible in the other direction?

I want to convert my NTFS portable hard drive to FAT32 so that my PS3 will recognise it.

If it’s not possible from within Windows, are there any free programs which will allow me to do it?

ANSWER :

The Live CD of GParted will do what you want.

http://gparted.sourceforge.net/livecd.php

Partition Magic used to be great for this but is no longer available.

I am not aware of any free or built in tool that allows you to do this without first formatting the drive – which, I personally think is the quickest method.

If you can, backup all your data, format the drive as FAT32 then move it back.

Only attempt this on data only drives, not system drives – I am assuming by the fact you want to use it in a PS3, it is just a non system disk.

I alway used Acronis disk manager quite happily.
But converting NTFS to FAT seems a little risky, as there are multiple restrictions (after all there’s a reason NTFS is primarily used for larger drives and FAT remains for use for smaller flash drives etc)

  • There’s the file size limit of around 4GB
  • The file-per-folder limit to many subfolders per folder or files per folder will cause in writing errors)
  • The name-length restriction (remember that pretty long-named filename in that pretty long-named directory? that probably won’t be accessible)

The problems you may run into:

FAT32 only supports up to 4Gig files. If you have files larger than that, you can’t do this.

FAT32 max drive size support differs based on your Windows OS.

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