can windows XP Home SP3 NTFS read FAT32

November 15, 2010 at 10:24:30
Specs: Windows XP
I have xp with ntfs and i have bought external hard disk which is foramtted fat 32 with backup software. the following are my questions.
1 Can xp ntfs read fat 32 ?
2.Will i be able to back up fat 32 software on my pc
3. If able to backup the software then do i format the external hd to ntfs and how then do i copy the fat 32 back up software to the ntfs formated hd.
i hope i have explained what i am trying to achieve as i am not expert!
thanking all in advance.

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November 15, 2010 at 11:06:42
"1 Can xp ntfs read fat 32 ?"

XP can read data on FAT32 partitions fine.
It doesn't matter that software partitioning type e.g. NTFS - is used on other partitions, as long as Windows recognizes the software partitioning type .

XP won't let you use the FAT32 software partitioning for partitions larger than 32gb because of Microsoft defaults - they think FAT32 partitioning wastes too much drive space for partitions larger than that - but you can use third party software to make a FAT32 partition of any size you like (above 2gb) , XP will recognize the FAT32 partition fine, and FAT32 partitions are not more wasteful of drive space than NTFS ones if most of the files on the partition are huge.
(FAT32 partitions have a 32kb allocation unit size for all partitions exactly 32gb (32,768mb) or larger; the NTFS (versions in 2000 and up) partitions have 4kb allocation units for any size of partition. A file uses a minimum of one allocation unit of drive space per file.You can't use the leftover drive space in the allocation unit, or in the last allocation unit for a larger file, that is not used for data, for any other data. That's wasted drive space, often called slack space.)

"2.Will i be able to back up fat 32 software on my pc"

The data isn't FAT32 - it's data on a FAT32 partition.
It usually doesn't matter at all what type of software partitioning type is used on the partition the data is on, as long as the operating system can recognize the software partitioning type (has to be FAT or FAT32 or NTFS for Windows) .

In rare cases, a program may be optimized for use on NTFS partitions, but that would not apply to the backup software on the FAT32 software partitioned drive.
E.g. The recording feature in Media Center in XP MCE, and in Vista and Windows 7 versions that have Media Center built in, is optimized to be used on a NTFS software partitioned drive, and will display whiny messages if it finds or you specify that video or TV recordings are to be stored on a FAT32 software partitioned drive.

"3. If able to backup the software then do i format the external hd to ntfs and how then do i copy the fat 32 back up software to the ntfs formated hd."

The back up software data is just data on a FAT32 partition.

You probably don't need to change the software partitioning type on the external drive, especially if most of the files you are backing up are huge, in which case FAT32 software partitioning doesn't waste any more drive space than NTFS software partitioning does.

If you insist on using the NTFS on the external drive, if the drive came with the backup software on it, go to the external drive manufacturer's web site - they may have instructions there for how you go about using the NTFS and still using the backup software.

There is only one thing I can think of that might cause you a problem. No one file on a FAT32 partition can be larger than 4gb. E.g. If you download illegally gotten software, some huge movie files may be larger than that.

When you delete a partition on a drive then make a new one, or if the drive has no partitions and you make one, with the operating system, the partition is software partitioned by the operating system one way or another using one type or another of file system organization - e.g. FAT, FAT32, or NTFS for Windows 2000 and up - and then the software partition type is formatted. In 2000 and above, those two things are done concurrently, the software partitioning starting only a little before the formatting, so people often think they're just formatting when they make a new partition.
You can choose to just format an existing partition, but that doesn't change it's software partitioning type.

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November 15, 2010 at 11:36:58
If there is no real reason why your external hard disk should not be formatted as NTFS, then I suggest that before you copy any data to it you delete and reformat it as NTFS.

There is no real reason for large hard drives to be formatted as FAT32 unless there is a real external reason which forces you to use FAT 32 partitions.

Hope that helps.

Other than that I endorse everything that has been said by Tubesandwires including the 4GB file size limit on FAT32 partitions.

When everything else fails, read the instructions.

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November 15, 2010 at 12:52:31
The problem with fat32 is the file size limit to just under 4G. That makes many backup software unable to split files to be used on fat32.

Unless you have some reason to keep it fat32 like using on dos or Windows 95/98 then I'd agree with changing it to ntfs.

If MS didn't bork exfat on xp you could use that instead but it still is limited in xp to 4 G file sizes.

Why did it take me over a year to phone in a problem to ATT?

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November 15, 2010 at 18:17:01
You need to understand that FAT32 & NTFS are file systems. Software is just software, it is NOT FAT32 or NTFS. The same software can be installed to either FAT32 or NTFS formatted drives.

Many external drives are shipped with the FAT32 file system to make them more universally useable. Older M$ operating systems cannot read NTFS, but CAN read/write FAT32. XP can read/write to FAT32 or NTFS. MAC can read NTFS but can't write to it, but can read/write to FAT32. It's up to you whether you feel the drive should be reformatted or not.

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December 5, 2010 at 08:31:10
I've been having a similar problem like the one described here.
I have a HD from an old WIN98 system that I have several photos I want to retrieve.
I plug this HD to the PC running WIN XP and i does not see the HD connected. If I change the hard disk to another one I got for spare, i does "see" that HD.
What do you guys think this could be?

Thanks for any help!!

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December 5, 2010 at 08:44:25
T361 start your own thread in the hardware forum.

Answers are only as good as the information you provide.
How to properly post a question:

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December 5, 2010 at 11:01:48

Assuming the hard drive from the Win 98 system is okay, if it's an IDE drive, you probably DO NOT have the jumper on the back of the drive set correctly for the way you're connecting it to XP computer, or some other simple problem.
XP can't recognize the drive if the bios isn't recognizing it.
If the bios isn't recognizing it, and if the bios is set to detect any drive detected, then there is probably something wrong with the jumper setting, or something wrong with the way you have it connected to the data cable, or something wrong with the data cable.

Most bioses are set by default to detect a drive connected to any connection - make sure it's set that way in your bios - e.g. Auto detect by the method Auto or LBA.

- if both drives connected to the same IDE data cable are set to master, neither drive will be recognized.
- if one drive is set to cable select, the other to master or slave, the second drive may not be recognized.

How to jumper an IDE drive and how to connect it to your data cable is probably in your model's Owner's or User's manual if you have a brand name system, or in your
mboard manual if you have a generic desktop system.

If your brand name system still has it's brand name software installation, your model's Owner's or User's manual is usually already in your Programs or All Programs list somewhere

It is common to un-intentionally damage IDE data cables, especially while removing them - the 80 wire ones are more likely to be damaged. What usually happens is the cable is ripped at either edge and the wires there are either damaged or severed, often right at a connector or under it's cable clamp there, where it's hard to see - if a wire is severed but it's ends are touching, the connection is intermittent, rather than being reliable.
Another common thing is for the data cable to be separated from the connector contacts a bit after you have removed a cable - there should be no gap between the data cable and the connector - if there is press the cable against the connector to eliminate the gap.
80 wire data cables are also easily damaged at either edge if the cable is sharply creased at a fold in the cable.

Try another data cable if in doubt.

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December 5, 2010 at 12:04:49
We really need to enforce the discipline of not hijacking somebody elses thread by not replying to those that do or at least point them in the right direction as wanderer has done.

Otherwise we set a bad precedent.

When everything else fails, read the instructions.

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