Convert: Converts a Volume from FAT to NTFS

You can use Convert to convert a volume from FAT to NTFS. This utility performs the conversion within the existing volume. You do not need to back up and restore the files when you use this program.

You cannot convert the Windows 2000 boot partition while you are running Windows 2000, so Convert allows you to convert the partition the next time you start Windows 2000. When you convert the partition this way, Windows 2000 restarts twice to complete the conversion process. The syntax of the command is:

convert drive : /FS:NTFS [ /v ]

To use this utility, at the command line type:


with the appropriate options. Table 3.17 describes the options available with Convert.

Table   3.17 Convert Options




Logical drive that you want to convert.


Specifies that you want to convert to NTFS.


Runs the tool in verbose mode.



Volumes that are converted from FAT to NTFS, (rather than initially formatted with NTFS) lack some performance benefits. Fragmentation of the MFT might occur and on boot partitions, NTFS permissions are not applied after the partition is converted.

Free Space Required to Convert FAT to NTFS

The conversion of a disk partition from FAT to NTFS requires a sufficient amount of available free disk space in order to build the NTFS disk structures. For information about the process Convert uses to convert FAT to NTFS and the space required for conversion, see the Knowledge Base link on the Web Resources page at .

Converting NTFS and FAT Volumes

FAT and NTFS use very different on-disk structures to represent the allocation of space for files. These structures are often referred to as metadata or file system overhead. Another kind of overhead associated with FAT and NTFS is related to the fact that both file systems allocate disk space in clusters of a fixed size. The exact size of these allocation units or clusters is determined at format time, and the defaults are dependent on the size of the volume.

Like FAT, NTFS has a certain amount of fixed-size overhead and a certain amount of per-file overhead. To support the advanced features of NTFS, such as recoverability, security, and support for very large volumes, the NTFS metadata overhead is somewhat larger than the FAT metadata overhead. However, because NTFS cluster overhead is smaller than FAT cluster overhead, it is often possible to store as much if not more data on an NTFS volume as on a FAT volume, even without using NTFS file compression.

Convert builds the NTFS metadata using space that is considered free space by FAT. Thus, if the conversion fails to complete, the FAT representation of the user files is still valid.