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 decisive disadvantage of the FAT file system, however, is its limited file size. The maximum file size for FAT32 is only 4 GB. This fact makes the FAT file system practically unusable for image backups.

If you make an image backup to an external hard disk and then after a few minutes you get the error message "Disk full" appears after a few minutes, even though there is still enough space on the external hard disk, the reason is that the external hard disk is set to the format "Fat32" format.

How to change my backup disk format from FAT32 to NTFS

1. Connect the external hard drive to the computer

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


3. Here you can select a file system, select "NTFS" here if it is not in by default. To do this, it is also best to select "Quick Format" as a method, as formatting without the check mark on this option, will take much longer.

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

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

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Changing 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 on "Command Prompt". Select the command "Run as administrator".

2. In the command prompt type the command "convert" - followed by the corresponding drive letter and the parameters "/fs:ntfs". To convert the file format of the external USB hard disk with the 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 damage or data loss is minimal, it is still recommended that you make a backup of the data on the disk you are converting prior to conversion."

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

About the Author Sebastian Müller
partner support


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
Email: sebastian@langmeier-software.com
 

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

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