FAT to NTFS - Disk Director or Microsoft?

Discussion in 'Acronis Disk Director Suite' started by StephenX, Apr 15, 2008.

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  1. StephenX

    StephenX Registered Member

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    Hi,

    I've been asked to convert a Windows 2000 computer that currently uses the FAT filing system to NTFS.

    There are at least two ways of doing this, besides formating the drive.
    1) Use Convert C: /fs:ntfs at the DOS prompt.
    2) Use Acronis Disk Director Suite v10.

    I am a registered user of Acronis Disk Director Suite v10. Does using this software offer advantages over using the Windows 2000 Convert command? If so, can I convert the partition that the software is installed on?

    I've never converted a drive from FAT to NTFS, before. I'm a little concerned that things might go wrong, although I'm taking the precaution of backing up all the data before hand.

    Any advice would be very gratefully received.

    Many thanks.
     
  2. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    StephenX:

    There is an advantage to using Disk Director in that you can convert to NTFS and then make sure that the cluster size is 4 kB after the conversion. If you use Windows to convert FAT to NTFS then you will end up with a non-optimum cluster size of 512 bytes, although there is a way to work around this.

    If the Windows conversion ends up with 512 byte clusters then you can use Disk Director to do a cluster size conversion. If done on your Windows 2000 system partition then you must do the conversion from the boot CD while Windows is not running. After converting and booting back into Windows you should then schedule a chkdsk /f to run on the converted partition to make sure that there are no file system discrepancies. Also, be sure to defragment after conversion.

    *Edit - see corrections in post 4 below.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2008
  3. OzRon

    OzRon Registered Member

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    Hello again k0lo.

    At the risk of once more giving you the opportunity to prove me wrong, I have to ask a dumb question...

    How do you use Disk Director to convert FAT to NTFS?

    Whenever I select a FAT32 partition, then click on "Convert" in the "Advanced" section, I'm only given the option to convert to FAT16. (Same if right-clicking on the partition, then selecting Advanced -> Convert.)

    I checked DD's Help. Then I went to the manual. Can't claim to have read every word in the 128 pages, nor have I looked at Disk Editor, but the only references I've found to file system conversions deal with converting between FAT16 and FAT32.

    I had assumed that the facility wasn't there, and have been using XP's convert command instead.
     
  4. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    OzRon:

    On the contrary, you have proven me wrong. I thought that you could do this with DD, but you are correct -- you can't.

    What you could do is to use Windows to convert a FAT file system to NTFS. You will end up with a 512 byte cluster size. Then use Disk Director to change the cluster size to 4 kB.

    My apologies for the incorrect information.
     
  5. OzRon

    OzRon Registered Member

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    Phew! I don't feel so silly. :)

    Thanks k0lo. You might be too busy to get caught up in it, but down here all eyes will be on your home state next week for the primary.

    StephenX: I don't blame you for believing that DD could do it. I too thought so after reading the marketing stuff. (Partition Magic used to let me do it. I wonder if this is on the DD Wish List yet.) But in case it helps, aside from the cluster size issue I've had no trouble with using Windows' convert.exe in the past. Note however that it has been under XP - I can't speak for Win2K.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2008
  6. StephenX

    StephenX Registered Member

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    Hi k0lo and OzRon,

    Many thanks, to both of you for taking the time to reply.

    My apprehension about converting FAT to NTFS was justified, it would seem.

    All appeared to go well. I backed up the data, defragged the hard drive and typed in Convert c: /fs:ntfs at the command prompt. On reboot the conversion started and took around 45 minutes. When complete the computer rebooted but produced a Stop error before the logon window appeared, then it automatically rebooted but stopped again with the same error, over and over again.

    It will boot into Safe Mode, so I scheduled chkdsk /f which ran on the next reboot without showing any errors.

    One of the problems with this type of conversion is that there is no way back.
    So what to do? Beforehand, I made an Acronis DD boot CD with the intention of changing the cluster size once the conversion was complete. Is there any point in doing that now in the hope that DD might fix things? Ok, I'm clutching at straws; perhaps it would make matters worse, if that’s possible.

    What's the error message? Well I'm at home now so I don't have the exact Stop error. Something like '0x0000007F UNEXPECTED_KERNEL_TRAP' Will post back with the exact message.

    I did everything right, or at least I don't know what I would change if there was the chance to do it over again.

    Can anyone help?
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2008
  7. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    StephenX:

    If the PC will boot into safe mode then all is not lost yet. It's probably a 32-bit driver issue (video, hard disk, etc).

    I would type the error message into Google and see what comes up. If it's something like a video driver or disk driver then chances are that someone has posted tips on how to repair.

    For a video driver, for example, you could uninstall the adapter while in safe mode, letting Windows revert to the generic VGA video driver. Then reboot normally and reinstall the correct video driver.

    I would not use DD to change the cluster size until you get the machine to work normally.
     
  8. OzRon

    OzRon Registered Member

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    Sorry to hear about the problem, StephenX. Now I regret having mentioned that I've had no trouble with convert.exe.

    Trouble with a STOP error like that (yours is probably a "7F") is that it could be caused by any number of things. As k0lo suggested, I would Google "kernel_trap_error" (or "stop 7F" if that is indeed the stop code).

    Does the PC have a GeForce graphics card? I've noticed several reports of 7F stops with some of those, though I don't know why it would only happen after a convert.

    Your symptom suggests that Windows is set to reboot on a fatal error, which is usually a pain and is pointless in most situations. (Also makes it difficult to read the error messages.) I skipped Windows 2000, but here's how to avoid that in XP. Win2K may be similar, though in your case you will have to use Safe Mode...

    Right-click My Computer and select Properties. On the "Advanced" tab under "Startup and Recovery" select "Settings". Then under "System failure" deselect "Automatically restart".

    The crash may or may not be logged in the system event log, which may or may not give you further information. But it's worth looking. Right-click My Computer, select Manage, open Event Viewer and look under System. (Again, that's the sequence in XP.)

    You could also try...

    http://www.microsoft.com/communitie...189-a408-4423-8e95-f2050920b5e5&lang=en&cr=us

    Good luck!
     
  9. StephenX

    StephenX Registered Member

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    Hi,

    The Stop error is:

    Stop: 0x0000007F (0x00000008,0x00000000,0x00000000,0x00000000)
    Unexpected_kernel_mode_error

    Couldn't get the computer to stop rebooting on error, perhaps as it stops before the boot into Windows is complete the setting that you mentioned had no effect, I don't know.

    But I was able to get the error from the event log. Neither googling the error code nor the event log have been of much use, all too vague.

    It's beginning to look like a format and start again job. Did uninstall the Intel on-board graphics driver, but it made no difference. I'm about to discover if I backed up all the data or just some of it.

    It just goes to underline what everyone on this board already knows, BACKUP YOUR DATA BEFORE YOU START!

    What I would be interested to know is, what could have been done differently? Perhaps more checks on the drive before starting? It should have been relatively straight forward.

    I don't think DD will ever have the facility to convert from FAT to NTFS as there must be a diminishing number of people wanting to make the switch. If it can't do it now, it never will.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2008
  10. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    StephenX:

    From reading your description of how you made the conversion, I can't find anything that you did wrong. The conversion should have been successful.

    For operations like this your PC's hardware probably gets a good workout, so if you had any bad sectors on the disk or marginal RAM then that might explain what happened. So to answer your question about what could have been done differently, two things come to mind:

    1. Run chkdsk /r on the disk to make certain that there are no bad sectors
    2. Run memtest for an extended period of time to rule out any marginal memory

    But isn't hindsight wonderful? I only mention these two items because the True Image forum is filled with stories about archives that won't verify or restore properly, and at the end of the day it came down to a PC with marginal hardware; sometimes bad memory, intermittent or faulty IDE cables, or bad sectors on the disk. That's not to say that one of these events occurred in your case but they are possibilities that you may want to rule out before rebuilding the OS.
     
  11. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Perhaps you've already reformatted. If not, did you try doing the cluster resize?
     
  12. OzRon

    OzRon Registered Member

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    StephenX:

    I guess this is now water under the bridge, but do I take it from your comment that you did get in (via Safe Mode), found and disabled the "Automatically Restart" setting, and yet it still reboots rather than stops when you try to boot normally?

    If so, I don't think that it's because of failing before the boot is complete because (a) it's Windows that triggers the reboot (presumably unless that setting is off), and (b) I've never seen that happen (which doesn't mean much). But what I have seen is that changes to some settings that are done in Safe Mode don't "hold".

    For what it's worth, there's another way to disable that automatic reboot - at least in XP. If you hit F8 at start of Windows load (as you would to get into Safe Mode), one of the options is "Disable Automatic Restart on System Failure". However I don't know if that's permanent or just for next boot (though that's easily tested).

    As for your remedy, I'm reluctant to suggest an alternative as I may have already contributed to what got you into trouble in the first place. (Though a DD convert wasn't an option.) But to me, a "format and start again" is a very last resort. If it's not a cluster size issue (which MudCrab thinks may be possible, k0lo seems not to, and I have no idea), here's what I would be trying first, in this order...

    1) Scheduling a boot-time "chkdsk /r" from Safe Mode.

    2) "Chkdsk /r" from Repair Console.

    3) Memtest from bootable CD.

    4) Repair Install.

    The first 3 are basically the same as what k0lo has suggested. I do note that you did do a chkdsk from Safe Mode, with no errors. However you say it was a "/f", not a "/r". Only the latter checks all disk sectors for readability.

    A "chkdsk /r" should give you a similar degree of confidence to a format but without destroying data. A Repair Install has the big advantage of usually retaining most or all of your programs, data and settings. (Though you may have to re-apply Windows updates.)

    And a last thing to think about. Why does it boot in Safe Mode but not normally? Safe Mode doesn't load a number of components/drivers, and the culprit could be within what Safe Mode doesn't load. That in itself doesn't absolve your hardware, since it still could be something like a bad disk sector occupied by one of those components, or bad memory that doesn't get used by the "smaller" Safe Mode OS. But I find that keeping the processes in mind while troubleshooting can sometimes make the difference between finding or not finding the problem.

    Good Luck.
     
  13. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Another troubleshooting idea - in safe mode, edit boot.ini to add the /sos switch, per the following reference. While booting, Windows will then display driver names as they load. Maybe you will get to see which one causes the stop error.
     
  14. OzRon

    OzRon Registered Member

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    And /bootlog ?
     
  15. StephenX

    StephenX Registered Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    Many thanks to all who took the time to reply.

    I’m afraid pressure of time, and the user breathing down my neck, forced me to cut my losses and start again. Had a look through my (very) small selection of used hard drives and to my great surprise found one that was the same size, make and model as the original.

    I did however take Mark’s advice and ran memtest-86 for 8 hours, no errors were found.

    As you know formatting and re-installing everything takes such a long time. But I tell myself that as the computer is >5 years old it probably benefited from the experience.

    Also, a word to the wise when backing up data. When a user says to you 'oh, yes I store all my files in the My Documents folder' don't always take their word for it, have a look around on the drive. This user told me that all data was in My Documents or the Desktop, but as it turned out later - it wasn't. If I hadn't had the original drive to go back to, alot of the users data would have been erased - and guess who would have got the blame?

    Thanks again,
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2008
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