How To Convert a Windows Drive From FAT32 To NTFS

There isn’t a graphical option to convert FAT32 drives to NTFS on Windows. However, you can convert a Windows drive from FAT32 to NTFS using the Windows PowerShell, although this won’t work for the drive containing your Windows installation.

  • To open a PowerShell window, right-click the Start menu and press Windows PowerShell (Admin).
  • In the open PowerShell window, type convert E: /fs:ntfs, replacing E: with the correct drive letter for your drive.
  • The process will take a bit of time to complete. Once the process has completed, and assuming no errors have occurred, the file system on your drive should have converted to NTFS with no additional steps required.

If an error does occur, it may indicate a problem with your drive, so be sure to check your hard drive for errors before trying the process again.

Convert FAT32 Drives To NTFS Using Windows File Explorer

While converting your drive from FAT32 to NTFS without formatting it is the preferred option, you may not be able to do this. If your file system has errors, or you simply want to clear the drive and repurpose it, you may find formatting it is the better option.

This means that your current FAT32 file system will be erased, along with all existing files, and replaced with an empty NTFS drive. You can do this in a few ways, but the quickest method is to use Windows File Explorer.

  1. In Windows File Explorer, open the This PC section using the navigation pane on the left. Your drives will be listed under the Devices and drives section.
  2. To format a FAT32 drive, right-click the drive you wish to convert. From the context menu, click Format.
  3. In the Format window, you can set the name, file type, and type of formatting. Make sure to select NTFS from the File system drop-down menu. If you want to name your drive, set a new label in the Volume label box. You can also quickly wipe your drive by enabling the Quick format checkbox.
  4. Once you’re ready to begin formatting, press the Start button.
  5. Windows will ask for confirmation that you actually want to format the drive, warning you of the data loss risk. Press OK to confirm.

The formatting speed will vary, depending on the size of the drive and whether you selected to use the quick format option. Once the NTFS formatting process has completed, you’ll be free to use the drive immediately.

Convert FAT32 Drives To NTFS Using Disk Management

You can also use the Windows Disk Management tool to format a FAT32 drive, converting it to NTFS. Like the method above, this will also wipe your data, so be sure to backup your files first.

  • To open Disk Management, right-click the Start menu and click the Disk Management option.
  • In the Disk Management window, a list of your drives and partitions will be listed. To format a drive partition, right-click on an entry in either the disk list (at the top) or volume list (at the bottom) and select the Format option.
  • In the Format window, you can select a volume label and file system. For the file system, select NTFS. You may also wish to press the Perform a quick format checkbox to quickly format your drive, but if you want to securely wipe it, make sure that this checkbox is left unchecked instead. Once you’re ready, press OK to confirm.
  • You’ll be asked for confirmation that you do want to format the disk, losing any saved files in the process. Click Yes to proceed.

The drive will be formatted at this point. Once the process is complete, your newly formatted drive will appear in Windows File Explorer for you to use.

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