Tech Tips Home
The Best Tech Tips And Daily Deals
Newsletter On The Internet!

WorldStart Tech Tip And Store Search
Email: Password: Login Remember Me

Like what you see here? Subscribe to the Tech Tips newsletter!   Email: Subscribe

Improve Your Flash Drive: Convert A USB Drive To NTFS


USB drives and flash drives (thumb drives) are always formatted with the FAT filing system. However, there are advantages to converting them to NTFS.

The FAT filing system is ancient and it has been around since the earliest days of PCs. It is very straightforward and because of this, it has become a sort of standard that is supported by other operating systems.

No matter whether you use Windows, Linux or MacOS, you can plug in a FAT formatted USB disk drive or flash drive and it just works. This is great if you need to use a drive with different types of computers.

Windows PCs use the NTFS filing system for the boot disk, drive C: and this is because it supports, larger capacity disks, is more stable and reliable, and offers security features that aren’t in FAT.

For example, files on NTFS drives can be compressed to save space or encrypted for security. NTFS is a superior system for storing files.

Format the drive

If you only ever use a USB drive or thumb drive on Windows PCs, it is a good idea to convert the file format it uses to NTFS. The simplest method is to format it.

Formatting erases the contents, so it should not be done on a drive containing files, but if you have just purchased a new drive, it is empty anyway, so go ahead.

Open an Explorer window and select This PC (or Computer) in the sidebar on the left.

Right-click the drive to format on the right and select Format on the menu. Check that the right drive has been selected because you are about to erase the contents.

Format a drive in Windows

In the Format window, select NTFS for the file system and Default allocation size below.

Enter a short name for the volume label and tick the Quick Format box.

Format a USB drive in Windows

Click Start. It takes just a few seconds with small USB sticks and not much longer with large USB drives. You can then use the drive.

Convert the drive

What if there are already files on the drive you want to convert to NTFS? If the drive is a small capacity USB thumb drive, such as 8 or 16GB, you could copy the contents to the PC’s disk drive, format the thumb drive, and then copy the files back.

For large thumb drives and large USB drives there might not be sufficient disk space on the PC’s drive to do this.

There is an alternative to formatting and a drive can be converted. This keeps all the files and folders and just changes the file system. No files are changed or lost, which makes it convenient for large drives with lots of files.

Hold down the Windows key and press R, then type cmd into the Run box.

At the command prompt, enter:

convert e: /FS:NTFS

where e: is the drive you want to convert. Replace this drive letter with whatever letter your USB drive uses.

Press enter and the command converts the drive. When it has finished, the drive can be used as usual.

Convert filing system formats in Windows

~ Roland Waddilove


Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Like these tips? Get them for FREE in your email!

WorldStart's Tech Tips Newsletter

  • Tech Tips Daily - Become a tech pro! Get the very best tech and computer help sent directly to your email every weekday!

  • Tech Tips Weekly - If you don't want our Tech Tips newsletter every day, then sign up for this weekly newsletter to get the best information of the week. Sent on Fridays.

Other Newsletters

  • WorldStart's Daily Deals - Every week, we send out great deals in our Daily Deals newsletter. Many of these deals are exclusively for our Daily Deals newsletter subscribers and can't be found with our regular specials.

  • Just For Grins - Each issue includes a couple clean jokes, some funny quotes, and a hilarious reader's story. Newsletter is sent five days a week.

Enter Email Address:


Your e-mail address is safe with us!
We only use it to send you the newsletters you request. It is NEVER disclosed to a third party for any reason, ever! Plus, if you decided you don't like our newsletters (don't worry, you'll love them), unsubscribing is fast and easy.

Free Newsletter Signup

Tech Tips Daily

Become a tech pro! Get the very best tech and computer help sent directly to your email every weekday!

Tech Tips Weekly

The week's best in tech and computer help. Get your issue sent to your email every Friday!

WorldStart's Daily Deals

The very best deals on the Internet! Get a new set of incredible sales every day of the week!

Just For Grins

Clean jokes, funny quotes, and hilarious comics. Sent 5 times a week straight to your email.


Love Worldstart? Refer A Friend!

WorldStart's Premium Membership

Tip Archive