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Which one of these filesystem format conversions will keep the data on disk, and which will require backup, reformat, and restore?

  1. FAT32 to NTFS
  2. FAT32 to FAT16
  3. NTFS to FAT32
  4. NTFS to FAT16

Note: I want to convert my disk with Command Prompt.

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as far as i known, you can't convert from NTFS to FAT32/FAT16 via convert command. FAT32 to NTFS is safe. – LiuYan 刘研 Mar 4 '13 at 3:06
@LiuYan刘研: Thanks. Can I convert NTFS to FAT32/16 by other programs without losing data? – kikio Mar 4 '13 at 3:12
Is converting NTFS to FAT32/16 an actual requirement for you? As for data loss, that's always a possibility when you perform an operation like this. It's always advisable to take a backup before attempting to convert the file system in place without reformatting. – Karan Mar 4 '13 at 3:35
@kikio, not sure, but i think there're reasons that convert does not support convert NTFS to FAT. Two basic reasons: Max file size and Max volume size of FAT are less than NTFS, see Comparison of file systems#Limits. and NTFS contains metadata like ACL, while FAT does not. – LiuYan 刘研 Mar 4 '13 at 4:02
up vote 3 down vote accepted

You can convert from FAT16, FAT32 to NTFS as detailed here. Doing this, like any partition operation, always carries the risk of data loss.

You CANNOT convert from NTFS back to FAT32, FAT16 without removing the partition and starting fresh.

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