What is the maximum file size FAT, FAT32 & NTFS file systems supports? Any methods of switching from FAT & FAT32 to NTFS file system without formating appreciated.

What is the maximum file size FAT, FAT32 & NTFS file systems supports? Any methods of switching from FAT & FAT32 to NTFS file system without formating appreciated. (i.e without removing the files from a particular drive).


Difference between FAT & FAT32?

 

I have a drive full of files and this is in FAT32 file system. As I cannot copy large files (5GB + ) into this drive, I intend to solve this issue by switching file systems. Apparently it is not possible to do this without formatting. I am curious about a way to do this without wiping the drive out.

 

Thanks in advance.

éGuy

 

Question Info


Last updated October 21, 2018 Views 414,883 Applies to:
Answer

On Tue, 9 Oct 2012 16:55:51 +0000, éGuy wrote:

What is the maximum file size FAT, FAT32 & NTFS file systems supports? Any methods of switching from FAT & FAT32 to NTFS file system without formating appreciated. (i.e without removing the files from a particular drive).


Difference between FAT & FAT32?

First, note that there are three varieties of FAT: FAT12, FAT16, and
FAT32. Many people call FAT16 just FAT, because before FAT32 came out,
FAT16 was the only variety used for hard drives, so just calling it
FAT was sufficient.

FAT12 (hardly used at all anymore) had a maximum volume size of 12mb.
It was used almost exclusively for floppy disks.

FAT16 was used on hard drives (or partitions) up to 4GB, and had a
cluster size that varied from 2kb to 64kb, depending on the size of
the partition. It is almost never used anymore, because almost nobody
has partitions as small as 4GB.

FAT32 took over from FAT16 and has a maximum drive size of 2TB. Its
maximum file size is 4GB, which is why you can't copy a 5GB file to
it. Its cluster size is 4KB up to a partition of 8GB. Above 8GB the
cluster size grows up to 32kb.
NTFS is what almost everyone should be using on their hard drives
today. Its maximum volume size is 2^^64-1, and its maximum file size
is 16 × 1024^^6 bytes (way more than the biggest hard drive available
today). Its cluster size stays at 4kb, regardless of the volume size.

I have a drive full of files and this is in FAT32 file system. As I cannot copy large files (5GB + ) into this drive, I intend to solve this issue by switching file systems.

Good! You should.

Apparently it is not possible to do this without formatting.

That is not correct. To convert to NTFS, you use the CONVERT
command. But first read http://www.aumha.org/a/ntfscvt.htm because
there's an important issue regarding cluster size that isn't obvious.

Also note that conversion is a big step, affecting everything on your
drive. When you take such a big step, no matter how unlikely, it is
always possible that something could go wrong. For that reason, it's
prudent to make sure you have a backup of anything you can't afford to
lose before beginning.

Ken Blake, Microsoft MVP

Ken Blake - Microsoft MVP since October 2003

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