Friday, June 24, 2005

FAT32... I can't believe it's still around!

Hrm, can you remember the last time you used a floppy disk? I honestly can't. I've had my SanDisk 1 gb Cruzer Mini, and that was it. Floppies were a thing of the past.

Along with that I thought FAT32 disappeared too. FAT32, for those of you who don't know, is the Win98 version of the filesystem, it's the 32 bit version of FAT16, which is probably most definately obsolete.

Anyways, I suppose it's not. FAT32 is pretty generic, and can be read by MAC OS, Linux, and Windows. As a result of it's versatility, USB disks ship pre-formatted with FAT32.

Seems reasonable right? Except if you're using it as a backup volume for your Small Business Server. What they don't seem to mention is the maximum filesize that a single file can be on a FAT32 drive.

That maximum filesize is 4 gb! So while backing up your Small Business Server 2003 to a FAT32 drive, you'll get the error: End of Media encountered while backing up to non-removable media.

Ugh, so now what?

You need to convert it (or format it). Since I'm pretty sure most people know how to right-click a drive and choose format, then change the file system to NTFS, but what if you don't want to loose the data?

There is a nifty little tool called convert which is a command prompt too. Simply type in the command convert {drive}: /fs:NTFS. Then just follow the instructions on the screen.

You could also hit this with Media Center Edition, if you're recording long movies ...


Anonymous said...

FAT32 is handy for one thing: removable drives. You can yank themout, and you don't lose (much)stuff. NTFS, you have to dismount the drive etc etc. So, maybe MS needs to come up with a removable version of NTFS.....?? :) -Nic Wise -

Anonymous said...

Thanks Sean. This solved my backup failure.