Langmeier Backup FAQ

FAT32 or NTFS? Which format is better for backup?

The FAT file system has the advantage over NTFS of being compatible with many operating systems. Furthermore, many other devices such as digital cameras and MP3 players also use FAT32. In contrast, NTFS is only supported by Windows operating systems. A major disadvantage of the FAT file system, however, is its limited file size. The maximum file size for FAT32 is only 4 GB. This circumstance makes the FAT file system practically unusable for image backups.

If you perform an image backup to an external hard disk and then after a few minutes you get the error message "Disk full" appears, although there is still enough space on the external hard disk, then it is because the external hard disk is formatted to the format "Fat32" is formatted.

How to change my backup volume from FAT32 to NTFS

1. connect the external hard drive to the computer

2. format the disk: Right-click the external hard drive icon and select "Format...":

3. Here you can select a file system, select here "NTFS" if this should not be in by default. To do this, select as a method best also the "Quick Format" from, because the formatting without the hook on this option, takes much longer.

4. Format FAT32: Once you click on "Start", Windows will once again warn you that formatting will erase all data, confirm this process by clicking OK.

After this process, the external hard drive will be in "NTFS" format and the data backups will now work properly.

Change the file system from FAT32 to NTFS without deleting files

There is also a method to change the format on the fly without deleting files on it. This method is done via command line. Proceed as follows:

1. Go to „Start/All Programs/Accessories“ and right-click „Command Prompt“. Select the command „Run as administrator“.

2. At the command prompt, type the command „convert“ – followed by the appropriate drive letter and the parameters „/fs:ntfs“. To convert the file format of the external USB hard drive with drive letter G: from FAT32 to NTFS, enter the following command: "convert G: /fs:ntfs".

3. Confirm the entry of this command by pressing "Enter" now.

This option reformats the format, but does not guarantee 100% success. In general, there is no risk of data loss, but use it at your own risk. Microsoft writes the following about this:

„While the possibility of corruption or data loss is minimal, it is still recommended that you back up the data on the disk you plan to convert before you convert it.“

We therefore recommend that you back up the data away again before formatting so that no data is lost in any case.

Save data automatically

Protect all your files.

  Buy Now   Try it for free Langmeier Backup for Windows

About the Author Sebastian Müller, partner support
Sebastian Müller Sebastian Müller is partner and top customer support at Langmeier Software, making him the best person to talk to about Langmeier backup backup solutions.

Phone: +41 44 861 15 70

Further lookup: Langmeier Backup, Data backup, NTFS, FAT32

Articles relevant to the topic
Langmeier Backup Version 10 is here
How to back up your hard drive properly and not forget anything
Expert Tips: What is backup? Good Data Backup

Post a comment here...

This article covers:
backup NTFS FAT32
for backup FAT32
NTFS Which format