Few months ago I bought an external hard disk for an emergency back up. Therefore, I did not notice that I formatted it with FAT32 until a week ago when I tried to install ORCAS Beta 2 on this same disk. Actually, I got stuck as the files of the virtual machine were too big to be hold on a FAT32 file system (over 4 Go) and I was wondering whether I could convert my disk to NTFS without having to format it and loose its content.
I finally got a solution that eventually worked fine and did not require me to back up all my files, format the disk and copy them back.
The solution lies in the CONVERT.EXE utility. To get a list of all parameters, type “CONVERT /?” in a command shell window (Start –> Run –> type “CMD” then type “CONVERT /?”)
For instance, to convert a hard disk, type “CONVERT F: /FS:NTFS” (i.e. convert the hard disk F from FAT(32) to NTFS file system).
Note that you can add the parameter /NoSecurity so that the new created NTFS partitions will allow anyone to access the content of the disk (it is the same as giving access to All Users to your disk). This particulary usefull when converting an external HD that might be used on another system.
I also suggest you to run a CHKDSK /F in order to check the disk and correct any error on it. This will save you time because CONVERT will run CHKDSK prior to convert the disk and if any error is found, the operation is aborted and you will have to run CHKDSK manually to correct the errors.