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Old Sep 17, 2012, 05:26 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2008
Mountain Lion and WinClone and FAT32, oh my!

I have been running Snow Leopard with a small FAT32 Bootcamp partition set up for Windows XP which I run under VMWare Fusion. I've been using this setup for about two years, and everything has been great. The Windows VM maps a Mac volume where all my Windows data is kept. For example, the Windows version of Quickbooks is far, far more powerful than the Mac equivalent, so I run Quickbooks under XP under Fusion, with the Quickbooks data residing in my Mac filespace so it gets backed up by Time Machine. I use WinClone to make periodic backups of my XP Bootcamp configuration. It's been a great setup. Best of all worlds, really.

Last week I upgraded to Mountain Lion, and generally I am happy with ML. I like Messages, and finally I can sync my iPad and iPhone over iCloud. Today I hit my first roadblock. I discovered that the old version of WinClone doesn't work under ML. So I paid the $20 to upgrade to the current version, and then discovered that FAT32 is no longer supported by the new WinClone. That functionality has been removed for some unknown reason. At this point I have no way to back up my existing XP partition, or restore a previous one. Which of course probably means that disaster is looming right around the corner.

Since I'm a planner, I'd like to figure out what my options are before proceeding, and would like your help in figuring out what the best one is, and if I've overlooked something. The options I'm aware of:

1) Convert the FAT32 partition to NTFS using convert.exe at the DOS prompt. Once I do that, I will no longer be able to write to the NTFS partition from the Mac side without using some third-party software such as NTFS-3G. I can live with that. Presumably WinClone can still write to this partition. Will converting to NTFS break the Fusion virtual machine? Also, when converting from FAT32 to NTFS apparently there's this weird gotcha where you might wind up with a 512 byte cluster size: http://www.pcreview.co.uk/forums/con...-t4041029.html

Gah. I'm not a big fan of this option. Among other things, if the conversion fails for some reason, I am totally screwed with no way to recover.

2) Convert the Bootcamp partition to a pure virtual machine using VMWare's import function. I will lose the ability to dual-boot, but I guess that's not that important to me anymore. I probably can only write to the XP filespace under VMWare, which I don't think is a showstopper either. On the plus side: backing up the Virtual machine should be easier (I won't need WinClone anymore), and I am pretty sure the import is non-destructive. I think I can run off the pure virtual machine for awhile to test it out before committing to this path, and when I'm done I can delete the Bootcamp partition and free up some disk space.

3) Create a new NTFS partition, then Install Windows 7 (because Boot Camp Assistant no longer supports XP). Yeah… no thanks.

Are there any other options I'm missing?
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