How to convert NTFS to FAT32

How do you revert an NTFS partition to a FAT32 partition in windows XP (SP2)… Can you only use WinXP or do you need an external software?

Yes you can convert NTFS to FAT32. But before I tell you how I need to ask: Why?

NTFS is the much better file system. Here are some superior features it has over FAT32:

  • FAT32 can only support file sizes up to 4GB while NTFS can go above and beyond.
  • NTFS drives are far less likely to develop errors then FAT32 drives.
  • NTFS supports cluster remapping for bad sectors allowing the Operating System to “mark” bad sectors off limits. This increases the usable lifespan of a Hard Drive.

But if you’re sure you want to convert back to FAT32 read on.

Unfortunately there are really only two ways. You cannot just use Windows XP to convert back to FAT32 like you could to convert to NTFS. Here’s how:

  1. Reformat your computer (saving your data) and reinstall Windows XP using a FAT32 file system.
  2. Or use a product such as Partition Magic from Symantec to convert your existing NTFS installation to FAT32.

Whichever option you choose you’ll want to backup your data. Option 1 will erase your data for sure while Option 2 is a dangerous process so backing everything up is a wise move.

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7 thoughts on “How to convert NTFS to FAT32

  1. Why? Are you kidding? Fat32 is needed if you plan on using an external hard drive with another OS, such as linux, mac, or PS3.
  2. Right you are Rob. FAT32 is very useful when using the drive with other operating systems (btw Linux now includes full read/write support for NTFS). However with an external drive it’s much simpler to copy your data onto a computer, reformat the drive in FAT32, and then put the data back.

    And most people format external drives in FAT32 in the first place anyways. ;)

  3. Hi there, here’s my problem & would really appreciate if you could give me some pointers! I’m running on windows XP home edition with a NTFS file system. It seems that whenever i download the service pack 3 from microsoft, i’m left with a message that says i do not have enough disc space! I have about 100Gigs of free space in my c: hard drive. Also when i download Itunes 9, the message i’m left with is “it’s not a win32 system”. What should I do? please advice! thank you


  4. Hi There, I followed the link & it worked fine! Juz wanna say “thanks a million”. Cheers!

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