How to convert FAT32 to NTFS bootcamp

Written by michael ryan
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How to convert FAT32 to NTFS bootcamp
Changing from FAT32 to NTFS improves overall hard drive performance. (hard drive image by BigDog from

Converting a Microsoft Windows XP File Allocation Table (FAT32) partition to New Technology File System (NTFS) in the Boot Camp utility for Apple Macintosh Computers lets you change your Windows XP partition to the faster and more secure NTFS file system. The NTFS system also lets you store larger files, with the size limit for an individual file limited only to the amount of free space on the disk. Conversely, files are limited to 4 GB in size with the FAT32 file system. The faster NTFS file system also lets utilities like DISKPART and FORMAT run faster in the event you further partition your hard drive in the future.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Boot into the Windows partition on your Mac using Boot Camp. Press the power button on your Mac and press and hold the "Option" button after you hear the Mac chime. Use the arrow keys to select your "Windows" boot drive, and press "Return."

  2. 2

    Create a backup of any information you want to preserve in case of a problem with the FAT32 to NTFS conversion. You can save files to an external drive, burn them to disc using an optical drive or store them on another partition on your internal hard drive. Simply drag and drop the files to make a backup.

  3. 3

    Sign in to your Windows XP installation using an administrator account and password.

  4. 4

    Open the "Start" menu and click "Run." Type "cmd" into the Run window and press "Return."

  5. 5

    Type the following command in the Command Prompt window:


    Select the option to have the conversion run the next time the computer is restarted.

  6. 6

    Restart the computer and press the "Option" key to select your "Windows" partition as the start-up drive.

  7. 7

    Wait for the partition to convert from FAT32 to NTFS.

  8. 8

    Log in to Microsoft Windows XP. Your Boot Camp partition has been converted from FAT32 to NTFS.

Tips and warnings

  • Although losing data while converting your Boot Camp partition from FAT to NTFS is unlikely, you should make a backup of any files or folders needed in the event you must reformat the drive and reinstall Windows using the Boot Camp Assistant in Mac OS X. Also, the conversion to NTFS cannot be undone without formatting the drive and erasing all information stored on it. However, as NTFS is required for versions of Windows later than XP, reverting back to the FAT32 file system is not likely necessary.

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