A Safer Filing System

The first step to staying safe in a connected world, is knowing what file system your computer uses. Any computer bought in the last few years will generally be using the safer of the two main filing systems.

As a quick history, when Microsoft first released DOS, the file system was referred to as 16-bit or FAT16. When Microsoft came out with Windows, the file system changed to 32-bit or FAT32 and stayed dominant until Microsoft came out with 64-bit. Two terms that are used in the computer industry, are FAT32, and NTFS. Quick definition:

FAT32 stands for File Access Table –32 bit. NTFS stands for New Technology File System. The intricate workings of these two file systems mean nothing to the average user beyond their ability to keep your files safe and secure.

NTFS has proven to be the more stable,and more secure file system to use on today’s computers. Unfortunately, it is still possible to see Windows XP systems, and even some VISTA systems installed using the FAT32 file system.

To check which file system your computer is using, open My Computer or Computer in Windows 7,right-click on your C: drive, and click on Properties. Vista users don’t need to right-click, as clicking once on the C: drive will display the data below the main window.

In the properties, you’ll see the file type in the top third of the screen. If yours says NTFS, you’re fine. If it says FAT32, which it might on older PC’s, you want to change that. Close the properties window and open a command prompt. At the flashing cursor, type the following: convert e: /fs:ntfs

Change e: to whatever your drive letter is, typically c: before you hit enter. This is a one-time process that can NOT be undone! If c: is your primary drive, you’ll be asked to schedule the task to run after you reboot your system. When the conversion is done, you should see a message saying “Conversion Complete.”

Congratulations on changing over to a safer, more stable way of storing your files.

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