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Old 03-17-2007, 03:45 AM   #1
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NTFS to FAT32 - External HDD

So ... I can't even view my external HDD in read-only as I assumed I could as it's NTFS (the lovely little error states 'Could not enter folder /mnt/Patch.'). The best thing (I think) is to change it to FAT32 so I can actually use it with Mandriva instead of hauling out the laptop everytime I need to put something on or off it, and I still will need to use it on a windows machine on the odd occasion.

My issue comes in here - I don't really want to format it, because the laptops hdd is only 40gig, and the external hdd exceeds that capacity so I really don't have a solid means of backup. Of course I will backup as much as possible, but I would like to keep all of it.

Is there a (fairly simple) means of switching to FAT32 without a format? I've looked into QTParted, but can't tell if it will do it or not?

Any help would be greatly sppreciated.

Old 03-17-2007, 04:16 AM   #2
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Nope, you won't be able to change from NTFS to FAT without formatting.
Old 03-17-2007, 04:23 AM   #3
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One option is to install fuse and fuse_ntfs to be able to write to an ntfs drive. You should still be able to read from it anyway. You may need to change the mount options. For example use "uid=<yourusername>" to make yourself the user of the partition.

How full is the drive? You could move some of the contents to your laptop, shrink NTFS partition. Create a fat32 partition in the remaining space, Then move files from the NTFS partition to the fat32 partition. Hopefully, you will be able to move the rest of the files from the NTFS partition to your new fat32 partition. Otherwise, try shrinking the NTFS partition again, and grow the fat32 partition. ( If you can't move the start of the fat32 partition, then create a new one in the free space. I think you got the idea.

Last edited by jschiwal; 03-21-2007 at 06:41 AM. Reason: fixed typo
Old 03-17-2007, 07:07 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by okmyx
Nope, you won't be able to change from NTFS to FAT without formatting.
It's possible to change from NTFS to FAT32 without formatting. Partition Magic 8.0(Windows program) can do this, but operation is dangerous. FAT32 partitions use only 8bit characters, NTFS uses unicode, and during conversion all symbols that doesn't exist in FAT32 charset will be converted to '?'s, and '?' is an invalid symbol in FAT32 filname. To avoid this problem, you'll need a correct language version of PMagic...
Old 03-17-2007, 02:39 PM   #5
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I would just install fuse and ntfs3g... It's stable, and should not be confused with the very experimental kernel ntfs write support.
I read and write regularly to my ntfs drives without problems so far.


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