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I have recently upgraded to win xp and my file system is FAT32. When the xp setup wizard asked me whether I wanted NTFS or FAT32 I opted for FAT32 because I didn't know what the difference between them was. Since then I understand that NTFS is better and the windows xp help files indicate that I can convert to NTFS while keeping the files on my system intact. I know it's better to format the drive with NTFS but I don't want to lose my system configuration and would prefer to convert rather than reformat.
My questions are:
What file size should I choose for NTFS? Appearantly I could chose any size from 10 megabytes to, in theory, 2 terabytes! Is a small file size preferable or does it not matter?
Secondly, microsoft say that some older programs may not run on an NTFS volume. Does this mean older games etc or some other software?
Any help appreciated
"What file size should I choose for NTFS?"
I think you mean cluster size, not file size.
If you are fresh formatting a partition in NTFS, you can choose the cluster size. Otherwise, default cluster size is 4KB for partitions over 2GB, which seems to work well.
Don't think you have a choice when you are converting FAT to NTFS. The information from MS is conflicting, but users' reports seem to suggest it's always 512 byte (half a KB).
Users have also reported that the 512 byte cluster size from a conversion can degrade hard disk performance.
The 2 terabytes limit is the practical maximum limit of an NTFS partition. As VoG says, you can definitely ignore it.
Second question: Not sure, but I've read the claim that some older programs may not do very well on a converted NTFS volume, but OK on a clean-formatted NTFS volume. I don't know why. But they will have to be pretty old.
There are of course programs which are not too compatible with XP, but that's not to do with file system.
Unless you have any specific program in mind, I don't think you need worry too much about it.
Should you convert? If you must use the NTFS features such as security and compression, convert. If not, I wouldn't convert, but wait for the next format and reinstall, but you're likely to hear different views.
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