How to convert FAT32 USB drive to NTFS

The following steps show how to convert a USB drive that is formatted in the FAT32 format to NTFS.

Method 1: Reformat the drive

Please note: This method removes all existing data from the USB drive.

  1. Make sure the USB drive is connected to the computer
  2. Open the Start menu (Windows button) and type ‘File Explorer’ and click on it when it appears
  3. windows10-formatfatntfs1
  4. Using the navigation pane in the left of the window, open the drive and confirm it is the drive you want to reformat
  5. In the navigation pane, right-click on the drive and choose ‘Format’
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  7. The Format window will open
  8. Change ‘File system’ to ‘NTFS’ and make sure ‘Quick Format’ is ticked
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  10. Click ‘Start’
  11. The process should take under a minute to complete.

Method 2: Convert using the CONVERT tool

CONVERT is a command line tool that allows you to convert a drive from FAT32 to NTFS without removing files or folders. I do however recommend you backup the files and folders first if they are in any way important.

  1. Make sure the USB drive is connected to the computer
  2. Open the Start menu (Windows button) and type ‘File Explorer’ and click on it when it appears
  3. windows10-formatfatntfs1
  4. Using the navigation pane in the left of the window, open the drive and confirm it is the drive you want to reformat
  5. Make a mental note of the drive letter, in this case the drive letter is F
  6. Open the Start menu (Windows button) and type ‘cmd’
  7. When it appears, right-click on ‘Command Prompt’ and choose ‘Run as administrator’
  8. windows10-formatfatntfs4
  9. Enter the following command, replacing F with the drive letter noted earlier
  10. convert f: /FS:NTFS
  11. Press enter on the keyboard to run the command
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  13. The process will start running. The more files and folders on the drive the longer it will take.
  14. When finished you will see ‘Conversion complete’. You can then close the Command Prompt window and confirm your drive is working.

Windows 7 – How to generate test files of any size

The following DOS command can be used to create a test file of any length.

fsutil file createnew <filename> <filesize in bytes>

For example, to create a 10 megabyte test file:

  1. Click on the ‘Start’ button
  2. In the search box type ‘cmd’
  3. Right-click on cmd.exe and choose ‘Run as administrator’
  4. Windows7-GenerateFile1
  5. Enter the following command:
  6. fsutil file createnew C:\TestFile.txt 10485760
  7. Windows7-GenerateFile2
  8. The file will be located in the C:\ directory.

Password Storage Locations For Popular Windows Applications

You can use this information to remove unwanted saved passwords from your system.

Windows Network Passwords (XP/Vista/2003):

When you connect to the file system of another computer on your network (something like \\MyComp\MyFolder), Windows allows you to save the password. If you choose to save the password, the encrypted password is stored in a credential file.

The credential file is stored in the following locations:

  • Windows XP/2003: [Windows Profile]\Application Data\Microsoft\Credentials\[User SID]\Credentials and [Windows Profile]\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Credentials\[User SID]\Credentials
  • Windows Vista: [Windows Profile]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Credentials\[Random ID] and [Windows Profile]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Credentials\[Random ID]

Dialup/VPN Passwords (2000/XP/Vista/2003):

Dialup/VPN passwords are stored as LSA secrets under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Security\Policy\Secrets. This key contains multiple sub-keys, and the sub-keys which store the dialup passwords contains one of the following strings: RasDefaultCredentials and RasDialParams.

This key is not accessible from RegEdit and other tools by default, but you can use one of the following methods to access this key:

  • Use at command to run RegEdit.exe as SYSTEM user: (doesn’t work under Vista)
    • For Example:
    • at 16:14 /interactive regedit.exe
    • Change the permission of entire Security key. If you do that, it’s recommeneded to return the permissions back to the original after you finish.

Internet Explorer 4.00 – 6.00:

The passwords are stored in a secret location in the Registry known as the “Protected Storage”. The base key of the Protected Storage is located under the following key: “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Protected Storage System Provider”. In order to view the subkeys of this key in RegEdit, you must do the same process as explained for the LSA secrets.

Even when you browse the above key in the Registry Editor (RegEdit), you won’t be able to watch the passwords, because they are encrypted. Also, this key cannot easily moved from one computer to another, like you do with regular Registry keys.

IE PassView and Protected Storage PassView utilities allow you to recover these passwords.

Internet Explorer 7.00 – 8.00:

The new versions of Internet Explorer stores the passwords in 2 different locations. AutoComplete passwords are stored in the Registry under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\IntelliForms\Storage2. HTTP Authentication passwords are stored in the Credentials file under Documents and Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Credentials , together with login passwords of LAN computers and other passwords.

IE PassView can be used to recover these passwords.

Firefox:

The passwords are stored in one of the following filenames: signons.txt, signons2.txt, and signons3.txt (depends on Firefox version) These password files are located inside the profile folder of Firefox, in [Windows Profile]\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\[Profile Name] Also, key3.db, located in the same folder, is used for encryption/decription of the passwords.

Google Chrome Web browser:

The passwords are stored in [Windows Profile]\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Web Data (This filename is SQLite database which contains encrypted passwords and other stuff)

Opera:

The passwords are stored in wand.dat filename, located under [Windows Profile]\Application Data\Opera\Opera\profile

Outlook Express (All Versions):

The POP3/SMTP/IMAP passwords Outlook Express are also stored in the Protected Storage, like the passwords of old versions of Internet Explorer.

Outlook 98/2000:

Old versions of Outlook stored the POP3/SMTP/IMAP passwords in the Protected Storage, like the passwords of old versions of Internet Explorer.

Outlook 2002-2008:

All new versions of Outlook store the passwords in the same Registry key of the account settings. The accounts are stored in the Registry under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Profiles\[Profile Name]\9375CFF0413111d3B88A00104B2A6676\[Account Index] If you use Outlook to connect an account on Exchange server, the password is stored in the Credentials file, together with login passwords of LAN computers.

Mail PassView can be used to recover lost passwords of Outlook 2002-2008.

Windows Live Mail:

All account settings, including the encrypted passwords, are stored in [Windows Profile]\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail\[Account Name] The account filename is an xml file with .oeaccount extension.

Mail PassView can be used to recover lost passwords of Windows Live Mail.

ThunderBird:

The password file is located under [Windows Profile]\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles\[Profile Name] You should search a filename with .s extension.

Google Talk:

All account settings, including the encrypted passwords, are stored in the Registry under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Google Talk\Accounts\[Account Name]

Google Desktop:

Email passwords are stored in the Registry under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Google Desktop\Mailboxes\[Account Name]

MSN/Windows Messenger version 6.x and below:

The passwords are stored in one of the following locations:

  • Registry Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MSNMessenger
  • Registry Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MessengerService
  • In the Credentials file, with entry named as “Passport.Net\\*”. (Only when the OS is XP or more)

MSN Messenger version 7.x:

The passwords are stored under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\IdentityCRL\Creds\[Account Name]

Windows Live Messenger version 8.x/9.x:

The passwords are stored in the Credentials file, with entry name begins with “WindowsLive:name=”. These passwords can be recovered by both Network Password Recovery and MessenPass utilities.

Yahoo Messenger 6.x:

The password is stored in the Registry, under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Yahoo\Pager (“EOptions string” value)

Yahoo Messenger 7.5 or later:

The password is stored in the Registry, under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Yahoo\Pager – “ETS” value. The value stored in “ETS” value cannot be recovered back to the original password.

AIM Pro:

The passwords are stored in the Registry, under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\AIM\AIMPRO\[Account Name]

AIM 6.x:

The passwords are stored in the Registry, under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\America Online\AIM6\Passwords

ICQ Lite 4.x/5.x/2003:

The passwords are stored in the Registry, under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Mirabilis\ICQ\NewOwners\[ICQ Number] (MainLocation value)

ICQ 6.x:

The password hash is stored in [Windows Profile]\Application Data\ICQ\[User Name]\Owner.mdb (Access Database) (The password hash cannot be recovered back to the original password)

Digsby:

The main password of Digsby is stored in [Windows Profile]\Application Data\Digsby\digsby.dat All other passwords are stored in Digsby servers.

PaltalkScene:

The passwords are stored in the Registry, under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Paltalk\[Account Name].

Windows 7 – List printers from command line to text file

Using Windows XP you can use the command prompt to export a list of printers installed on a computer.

  1. Open the Windows Start menu
  2. Select ‘All Programs’
  3. Select ‘Accessories’
  4. Open the ‘Command Prompt’
  5. Enter the following command into the console

PRNMNGR -l >> C:\printers.txt

This will create a text file on your C drive called ‘printers.txt’ with a list of the printers attached to the system.

Windows XP – Setup Offline Files

You can make network files available offline by storing shared files on your computer so that they are accessible when you are not connected to the network. If you do this, you can work with the files the same way that you work with them when you are connected to the network. When you reconnect to the network, changes that you made to the files are updated to the network.

How to use Offline Files

When a file or folder is marked as ‘use offline’ a icon is placed on top
MSWINDOWSXP-OfflineFiles1
When the corporate network is unavailable the folders will go into ‘offline’ mode.
All Offline Folders will operate as usual, you will be able to access, edit and deleted files that have been marked as offline and successfully synchronised.

MSWINDOWSXP-OfflineFiles2

When the laptop is plugged back into the corporate network the files will automatically synchronise with the server during logon.
If the user does not log on, for example resumes from hibernate or sleep mode they will need to manually update the Offline folder

This can be done by clicking on the offline files icon and selecting ‘Synchronise’
This can also be done by opening ‘My Computer’ and selecting the ‘Tools’ menu, then ‘Synchronise’ and clicking on the ‘Synchronise’ button

MSWINDOWSXP-OfflineFiles3

Managing Offline Files through Group Policy

There are two ways which Offline Files can be managed:

  • Compulsory Offline Files
  • Opt-In

Compulsory Offline Files
This method will automatically configure offline files for all targeted computers, for example laptop computers.

All users will have their U drive available offline, regardless of if they use it.

Group Policy Settings:
Create a separate ‘laptop users’ Group Policy Object and link to the required ‘Laptop’ OU in Active Directory. Add the following configurations:

MSWINDOWSXP-OfflineFiles4

‘Computer Configuration -> Policies -> Administrative Templates -> Network -> Offline Files:

  • Synchronise all offline files before logging off set to Enabled
  • Synchronise all offline files when logging on set to Enabled
  • Allow or Disallow use of the Offline Files feature’ set to enabled
  • Administratively assigned offline files set to ‘Enabled’
    • Value Name set to: \\file2\%username%

Opt-In Offline Files
This method gives users the option of using Offline Files.
Users will be able to manually mark their U Drive as ‘Make Available Offline’ by right-clicking on their U drive and select ‘Make available offline’

MSWINDOWSXP-OfflineFiles6

Group Policy Settings:
Create a separate ‘laptop users’ Group Policy Object and link to the required ‘Laptop’ OU in Active Directory. Add the following configurations:

  • ‘Computer Configuration -> Policies -> Administrative Templates -> Network -> Allow or Disallow use of the Offline Files feature’ set to Enabled
  • Synchronise all offline files before logging off set to Enabled
  • Synchronise all offline files when logging on set to Enabled

How to exclude particular drives from being made Offline
The following group policy configuration can be used to exclude particular UNC paths from being used as offline folders. This is particularly important for shared drives, like the G drive as any changes made whilst the user is offline might overwrite changes which another networked user has made.

With this policy in place users will be unable to make any of the excluded folders offline

Group Policy Settings:

MSWINDOWSXP-OfflineFiles7

‘Computer Configuration -> Policies -> Administrative Templates -> Network -> Offline Files:

  • Prohibit ‘Make Available Offline’ for these file and folders set to enabled
    • Value Name: \\FILE\GROUP

Windows XP – Reset Local Security Permissions

Occasionally folder permissions for Windows XP can become corrupted, resulting in the computer acting strangely – not accepting all group policies, not allowing some folders to be written to or miscellaneous application errors.

To set the local security permissions set back to default enter the following command:

secedit /configure /cfg %windir%\repair\secsetup.inf /db secsetup.sdb /verbose

You will need to be logged on as a local administrator.

Service Pack Testing Procedures

Before rolling out a new service pack to an organisation a level of testing needs to be performed. Whilst testing might not seem like the most fun or productive task, it usually saves just as much time or more if things were to go wrong.

This article will refer to Office 2007 Service Pack 2 as the service pack, but the principles still apply to any service pack roll out.

 

Research the service pack

Delaying the service pack roll out by more than a month is generally a good idea as it allows for bugs to be discovered in the service pack or unknown compatibility issues to be highlighted.

Investigate what the service pack applies, generally it’s a combination of hotfixes, updates and enhancements.

Take careful not of the changes that will affect usability, the end users might require additional support after the roll out.

 

Define Installation Scenarios to test

Install the service pack on a range of computer configurations that are in your organisation, for example:

  • A Windows XP SP2 Installation with Office 2007 SP1
  • A Windows XP SP3 Installation with Office 2007 SP1
  • An installation of Office 2007 (without a service pack)

Monitor the time it takes to install, the hard drive space used, if the computer needs to restart, if any applications need to be closed for the installation to progress, the load on the CPU and RAM etc.

 

Define core applications and business systems to test

As service packs apply various changes to the applications, registry and DLL files you will need to test a broad coverage of your users business requirements.

  • Test template documents-
    • Do these operate macros?
  • Open additional mailboxes in Outlook
  • Make bookings for shared resources with Outlook
  • Use Access to get information from an SQL database
  • Do any other applications integrate with office that need to be tested?
    • Sharepoint integration
    • Office Communicator

 

Prepare an initial test roll out

Once satisfied with the service pack in your enviroment prepare a roll out to your IT Services group. By doing this you can minimise the impact to your clients and allow your team members to do some final testing before the service pack goes to the production enviroment.

Ask the team to note down any issues during of after the install process as well as details like how long the installation took and if the computer was still usable during the installation.

 

Decide on a deployment method

Usually this involves using WSUS, but SMS, group policy, MSI install files, log on scripts or another software package application might be considered.

 

Develop a backup plan

What will you be able to do if the installation fails? Usually for workstations it will be easier to re-image but ‘repair’ installations might be considered.

 

Do a pilot roll out

Deploy the service pack to a small sample of your users as a test, carefully monitor how sucessful the process goes.

 

Deploy to the production workstations

Depending on the size of your enviroment you might need to slowly deploy the service pack, this can minimise impact to the business stop an influx of calls to the IT support.

During the process keep all involved people informed, this includes letting clients know when to leave their computer on for the update and the helpdesk and infrastructure staff.

Disable Windows XP Printer Balloon Message

  1. Click on the Start Menu, choose Printers and Faxes
  2. Go to the File Menu, and choose Server Properties, then click on the Advanced Tab.
  3. There is a check box labelled Show informational notifications for network printers, which is on by default, uncheck this option, which will cause printer balloons to be disabled.

Fix offline folder syncronisation issues – Windows XP

Offline folder synchronization in Windows XP is a fantastic way of enabling network shares/drives (or part of) to be available for use when away from the network. When you come back to the network the changes are uploaded to the servers … but sometimes things go wrong and it needs to reinitialise. This can happen when the network name for the network share has changed, or other users have logged onto the computer (resulting in their folders also trying to synchronize).

The process is essentually the ‘turning it off and on again’ for syncronisation – it’ll force it to start from scratch, getting rid of any previous issues.

Please note, before doing this process please ensure that there are no important files which haven’t synchronized yet. They will be deleted!! However the network copy will be safe.

The reset the offline folders and force it to delete its cache:

1. Click on the Windows Start button, select Run
2. Type in mobsync and click OK
3. From here you can see what is trying to synchronize and where from
4. Open My Computer, select the tools menu then folder options
5. Open the Offline Files tab
6. Hold ctrl and shift whilst clicking on the Delete Files button
7. Click OK for the cache to be deleted
8. After the cache is deleted, force the synchronization to start again
9. Open mobsync (from steps 1-3) and verify that the correct information is now there.