Thursday, July 30, 2009

NTFS and FAT32

Learned a few new lessons this week. I bought a 300 gig portable hard drive for my MP3 music and photo files. I spent some time tranferring files from my computer to this handy drive and was delighted when I could see the photos and hear the MP3 files on this disk simply by plugging it into the USB port of my new Philips DVD player.

One week of enjoyment. Then I tried adding some more music files and one of these was corrupted and so the inevitable Philips DVD player refused to recognise the portable drive. My computer could read the drive but not the DVD player. I removed the offending file, but the result was the same...the portable drive was not recogised by the player.

So I decided to reformat the drive and recopy all the data to it. That done, I tested it on the computer and things looked fine--the MP3 files could play and the photos were OK. I then plugged it into the Philips and, what the heck, the drive was not recognised.

I searched the internet for a solution. Simple it was. Philips DVD players do not recognise drives formated in NTFS which was the default when I reformated it on my Vista computer. I had to format the portable drive in FAT32 which was the original file system when I bought it. FAT32 is the logical choice for vendors who want their portable drives to be compatible with OSs other than Vista.

Formating in FAT32 is not easy because Vista does not have this option. It has an option called exFAT. This was the option I chose and after about 7 hours of reformating work the disk was ready. But try as I would, nothing could be written on this disk as it was now "protected" . By what? I could not find out.

Going to the internet once again, I found the solution. Use the command prompt and type FORMAT /FS:FAT32 X: (X being the drive letter). And so it began, another 6 hours of reformating.....

....then the drive stopped the procedure completely and became once again unreadable. Did I have to reformat the drive in NTFS and forgo the pleasure of listening to my MP3 files via my Philips? A search of the internet told me that Linux machines do FAT32 and so did XP. But these I did not have. Once again I searched the internet and found the solution in SwissKnife a free utility programme that does formatting and partitioning of drives easily.

After a quick download and installation, SwissKnife reformated the portable drive in the FAT32. A transfer of MP3 from the main computer to the portable drive and sweet music from my sound system via the Philips.

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