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Robocopy - "the mounted file system does not support extended attributes" - 30/09/2010

I've been trying to backup an Apple Mac machine, via the local network, through my PC onto an external hard drive.  I started to get the error with some files...

 "the mounted file system does not support extended attributes"

Initially I suspected the problem was the Mac's attirbutes and file system were so different that Robocopy was getting a little confused.  However, aftera little research on good 'ole Google it seem the problem was with the FAT32 of the exteranl hard drive.  FAT32 is pretty basic, presumably with a basic set of file attributes.  When Robocopy tries to copy the files across, attributes and all, it finds there's nowhere in FAT32 to write the additional "extended" attributes.  Hence the error.

The solution?

Convert.exe.  This is a simple program that allows FAT32 drives and partions to be converted to NTFS.  It came with my copy of XP, preinstalled, I can only assume the same applies to most PC's.  I now wait to find out 2 things.
1.  Using Convert.exe will I lose all my data on the external hard drive?
2.  Wil this fix the problem of "the mounted file system does not support extended attributes"?

I shall get back to you...

Well the first thing, converting a 160gig external hard drive with about 80gig of data, from FAT32 to NTFS does take quite a while.  In this case about 2 hours.  Reading around it seems it should not take quite so long but then that was probably using internal drives with a "direct" connection rather than through a USB2 link to the drive.

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