Why do I get error messages when I try to convert FAT16 partitions to FAT32 in Windows 2000/XP/2003?

Posted on January 7, 2009 by Daniel Petri in Disk Management with

In W2K, XP and Windows Server 2003, if you attempt to convert a File Allocation Table (FAT or FAT16) partition to the FAT32 file system using the “drive:’convert drive: /fs:fat32” command-line switch, where drive is the drive from which you are running the convert utility and the drive you are trying to convert to FAT32, you may receive the following error message:

The type of the file system is FAT.

Convert cannot gain exclusive access to the drive drive, so it cannot convert it now. Would you like to schedule it to be converted the next time the system restarts. (Y/N)

When you restart your computer, the conversion process seems to start, and then the following error message is displayed:

FAT32 is not supported

If you attempt use the “drive1:’convert drive2: /fs:fat32” command- line switch, where drive1 is the drive from which you are running the convert utility and drive2 is the drive you are trying to convert to FAT32, the following error message is displayed:


FAT32 is not a valid file system

This behavior occurs because Windows 2000/XP does not have a process for converting a partition from FAT16 to FAT32. The only conversion process that Windows 2000/XP supports is converting from FAT16 or FAT32 to the Windows NT file system (NTFS).

Note: If you type convert /? at a command prompt, there is not an option to convert to the FAT32 file system.

Note: Windows 2000/XP/2003 provides NO way to convert NTFS partitions to FAT16/32.

If you dual boot, you can use the Microsoft Windows 95 or Microsoft Windows 98 drive converter tool in System Tools, or the following command-line tool:

cvt drive: /cvt32

Alternatively, you can use 3rd party tools like PowerQuest PartitionMagic, PowerQuest ServerMagic and other tools to perform the conversion from FAT16 to FAT32 and backwards.


Cannot Convert a FAT16 Partition to the FAT32 File System – 197627

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