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How to Convert a Drive from FAT32 to NTFS without Data Loss

Need to change a drive from FAT32 to NTFS? Follow these steps to convert a drive from FAT32 to NTFS without data loss and reformatting.

NTFS is the default file format for Windows. Nowadays, if you try to format a drive in Windows 10 or Windows 11 or if you have just installed the operating system on a brand-new hard drive, it is in the NTFS format. Compared to older file formats like FAT32, NTFS is pretty feature-rich and supports large hard drives, bigger files, lets you set file permissions, and has better data security. That is one reason why Windows often recommends and defaults to formatting a drive in NTFS format.

As good as the NTFS format is, most external hard drives and thumb drives are by default formatted in FAT32. Even Windows allows you to format any drive in FAT32 format. One of the main reasons for this being compatibility. For example, if you want to use your thumb drive on Android, you cannot use the NTFS format. Most users fill up the drive without ever noticing the file format. Once a FAT32 drive has some data in it, it can be hard to convert it to another format without first moving data from the drive. But it is relatively quick if you know how to do it.

If the FAT32 drive is limiting you from adding large files or setting permissions, you can convert FAT32 to NTFS in Windows without data loss.

This quick and straightforward guide lets me show you how to convert a FAT32 drive to NTFS without data loss.

Convert FAT32 to NTFS in Command Prompt

Important note: Even though the process doesn’t cause any data loss, I still recommend you back up the data if it is crucial. Also, you have to make sure that there is no power loss while the conversion is happening. Sudden power loss while converting might cause total data loss in the target drive.

To convert FAT32 to NTFS, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Search for “Command Prompt.”
  3. Right-click on the Command Prompt result and select “Run as administrator.”
  4. Type “convert <DriveLetter>: /fs:ntfs”. Replace “<DriveLetter>” with the actual drive letter which you want to convert.
  5. Press “Enter” to execute the command.
  6. Command Prompt will start the conversion process.
  7. Once completed, you will see the “Conversion complete” message.
  8. You can close the Command Prompt window.
  9. With that, you have converted FAT32 to NTFS.

First, if it is a USB drive you want to convert, plug it in and proceed. Next, we have to open the Command Prompt as admin. You can search for it in the Start menu and then select the “Run as administrator” option.

open cmd as admin

After opening the cmd window as admin, type the below command and press Enter to execute it. Replace “<DriveLetter>” with the actual drive letter of the drive. For example, the drive I want to convert has the drive letter “G.” So, I replaced “<DriveLetter>” with “G.”

convert <DriveLetter>: /fs:ntfs

command to convert fat32 to ntfs

As soon as you execute the command, the conversion process will start. Depending on the drive size and the amount of data it has, the entire conversion process will take some time. In that time, do not close the Command Prompt window or turn off the machine in any way.

Once the conversion is complete, you will see the “Conversion Complete” message. At this point, the job is done, and you can safely close the Command Prompt window.

That is all. It is that simple to convert FAT32 to NTFS in Windows.

I hope that helps.

If you are stuck or need some help, comment below, and I will try to help as much as possible.

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