Nondestructive HFS+ to NTFS or FAT

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Glueeater, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. Glueeater macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    #1
    Before Snow Leopard and Bootcamp 3.0 I had an external drive partitioned into a separate HFS+ and NTFS partitions. Now that NTFS is r/w, I need my HFS+ side to be NTFS (I'm running TomatoUSB on my RT-N16 and it can't RW on HFS). Is there a nondestructive way to change this?

    Backing up to another drive isn't really an option. I have 700 gb on my HFS partition and I don't have another drive to backup to. Thoughts?
     
  2. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
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    Texas
    #2
    Why does it need to be NTFS?

    You can't boot OS X from NTFS.
     
  3. Glueeater thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 8, 2008
    #3
    Oh sorry, this is an external hard drive. Forgot to mention that important detail.
     
  4. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #4
  5. Glueeater thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 8, 2008
    #5
    Not quite what I'm looking to do. I want to take my HFS+ and go to NTFS. Also, nondestructively =/

    Thanks for trying.
     
  6. nowonder24 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    #6
    I do not think there is a painless way to do what you want.

    But there is a painful and slow way to do it:

    use a boot cd with gparted to shrink your HFS partition as much as possible. Then make a new NTFS partition in that space (or grow the existing NTFS partition). Copy as many files as possible to that NTFS partition.

    Again shrink the HFS partition as much as possible. Grow the NTFS partition. Copy as many files as possible. Lather, rinse, repeat!

    At some point of time, your HFS partition will be small and empty and you can remove it and finally grow the NTFS partition to the full size.

    If you have ca. 20% free space on the HFS partition, it should take you 5 to 6 iterations. If you have more, great. If not, enjoy :D
     
  7. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #8
    There is no way to reformat a hard drive to a completely different format type and have it non-destructive. The work needed to save/remap the data is by far more complex then its work developing.

    Backup your data, reformat the drive, and restore the data. That's the easiest and most painless approach.

    Besides, even if there was a program out there on the intarweb that advertises such abilities. Do you want to trust your data on this without a full backup. Once backed up, you're halfway there anyways, just reformat and restore :)
     
  8. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #9
    That's not true; Microsoft actually includes a FAT to NTFS converter in Windows, and has at least as far back as Win2K. Way back when HFS+ first came out there was also a commercial Mac app that could convert an HFS (not plus) volume to HFS+, which was useful back in the days that hard drives were actually expensive--I bought it, anyway, and it worked fine (back then converting to HFS+ on a decent-sized hard drive was like getting free space, due to the huge minimum block size of HFS).

    That said, I'm not aware of any utility to convert from HFS+ to NTFS or FAT in a single step (apart from the multiple repartition mentioned above, which might work but sounds like it's asking for corruption), and given the tiny number of people who would want to do such a conversion--not to mention how cheap external hard drives are now--I'm skeptical that one does or will ever exist.

    Microsoft rightly saw it as useful to be able to convert your boot drive from FAT to NTFS, because it's so hard to clone Windows; there's zero reason to convert a MacOS boot drive to NTFS, and if it's a data volume a backup and reformat to a brand new external would probably cost less than the software.

    Question: Do you not really care about any of the data on that external? Because if you don't have a backup, you're essentially saying "I don't actually care about this data, since I will eventually lose it to bad luck." Common sense and any number of threads here will tell you that it's not a matter of if, but when a hard drive fails. Now, if it's your BitTorrent drive or something, then maybe you really don't care, in which case maybe the multiple-partition-resize scheme is what you want to try.
     
  9. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #10
    Yes, but it was in MS best interest to move people off of FAT to NTFS. I also mentioned that the work effort of developing an app far exceeds the benefits.

    To be fair and honest, I completely forgot about the conversion app that MS provided with windows nt/2k (xp too?)

    I don't think there's too much call for a HFS+ to NTFS (or FAT) conversion utility so the old stand by backup/reformat/restore applies
     
  10. Redwyvern macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Location:
    Yonkers, NY
    #11
    I know it's old but....

    Paragon has a tool for this. Paragon NTFS-HFS Converter.

    It's a free single license tool.
     

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