Cleaning And Tuning Tips

Issues on converting to Fat32

Before you convert to FAT32, make sure it's the right choice for you. FAT32's strong point is that it uses hard disk space more efficiently. The minimum file size for FAT16 on a 1GB disk, for example, is 32K. For FAT32, it's 4K. Another benefit is that unlike FAT16, FAT32 isn't limited to a 2GB-per-disk partition.

On the other hand, you can't use DriveSpace to compress a FAT32 disk. And if you like to use your notebook's suspend-to-disk feature, it won't work with FAT32. Nor can you dual-boot your system to run most earlier versions of Windows or DOS. Additionally, some older disk utilities work only with FAT16, so you may have to upgrade your third-party utility programs. And once you've converted to FAT32, the only way to return the disk to FAT16 and reclaim these capabilities is through repartitioning and reformatting.

If you choose to convert, the Drive Converter Wizard does a good job of warning you about possible problems. Be sure to read each screen carefully as you work your way through the choices, and don't hesitate to cancel the conversion if you have any doubts.

Note: Some drives you have may have bad sectors, if they do then you will have to format before running the Fat32 Converter.

Backup before converting to Fat32

If you're ready to convert your hard disk to FAT32, be sure to back up your data files beforehand, preferably your entire disk--a good idea any time you're about to make significant changes to your hard disk. If you decide you want to revert to FAT16--because you can't live without your notebook's suspend-to-disk capability after all, for example--you'll have to reformat the disk and reinstall everything from scratch, including Windows 98. If you have a backup, you can repartition, reformat, and then restore the disk instead of reinstalling individual programs. Ideally, you should use a backup program that includes a disaster-recovery feature, so you don't have to reinstall Windows before you run the restore.

Anti Virus software and Fat32

Converting a disk to FAT32 changes its partition table and boot record. If you're using antivirus software, it may intercept any attempt to update either or both and ask whether it's okay. Be sure to answer Yes. When you reboot your system after converting the disk, the antivirus software may notice the change and offer to fix it for you. Do not let it. If the software restores the partition table, the boot record, or both, you won't be able to access your hard disk or any data on it.

Stopping the conversion

After you run the FAT32 converter and reboot, Windows will automatically run Disk Defragmenter as part of the conversion procedure. This can take hours, so it's best to start the conversion when you know you won't be needing your computer for a while. If you need to use the computer, you can stop the defrag program in midstream and run it later. However, system performance may suffer until you restart the program and let it fully defrag the disk. To run Disk Defragmenter, choose Start|Programs|Accessories|System Tools|Disk Defragmenter, select the appropriate disk drive from the drop-down menu, and choose OK. Alternatively, you can go to My Computer, right-click the disk, and choose Properties|Tools|Defragment Now.

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