Solved File system problem. Accidentally converted NTFS to FAT16

January 29, 2013 at 21:37:53
Specs: Windows XP

I recently was doing some digital forensics homework that involved acquiring data from an image file of a FAT16 drive. I was going through the assignment and when selecting the target drive to copy to, I accidentally clicked my external back up drive instead of the USB that it was meant for. I cancelled the transfer but the file system had already changed from NTFS to FAT16 and cleared out the drive. I have tried to convert back with convert *drive*/fs:ntfs in cmd, which now says there is not enough disk space to complete the conversion. (even though the drive is a 1TB drive.) The drive shows that its current capacity is 100MB. Chkdsk comes back with no errors in the drive. Does anyone have any idea of how I could fix this problem? I was hoping that maybe it was a new partition to the drive but it does not seem to be the case. The software used when this accident happened was ProDiscover Basic.

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January 29, 2013 at 23:05:53
✔ Best Answer

Try partition recovery software:

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January 29, 2013 at 23:15:10

"cleared out the drive"

Open My Computer, right click on the 1TB drive & select > Format.

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January 30, 2013 at 01:50:16

If you have really converted the format of your drive from NTFS to FAT16 then I don't think that any partition/file recovery software is going to help you as the structures of the two file systems are so different. But I very much doubt that you have done that - it's not easy. I suspect that you have messed up the partition table (the difference in size would seem to indicate that too) in which case the partition recovery software recommended by phil22 should be able to help.

If not, then hopefully you have a backup of any important data on the drive; your only option in that case is to repartition and then reformat the drive (not just a format on its own!). The moral is that you need to be very careful when copying partitions from one disk to another; ideally you would use a computer with nothing important on it for forensic work.

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January 30, 2013 at 15:27:10

If Easeus doesn't help then look at testdisk from the link below. Little harder to use but has more options.

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January 30, 2013 at 22:34:20

I am currently running easeus partition recovery. I will post again when it is finished to update the info. Thank you for the help so far.

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February 2, 2013 at 08:42:19

Easeus worked to recover all the files. Thank you for your quick responses.

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