By Yuka / Last update June 15, 2021

The Issue

When you are using Windows Server 2003/2008/2012 (R2)/SBS 2003/2008/2011 or Windows 10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista built-in backup and restore tool to backup system or other partitions, you may encounter the following error:

"One of the source volumes specified has an invalid format and cannot be protected using Windows Backup. Only volumes formatted with NTFS can be protected."


The Cause

New Technology File System (NTFS) is a file system developed by Microsoft. Only Windows can use this file system and Windows built-in Backup and Restore tool can only backup partitions or volumes formatted with NTFS. One or more of the source drives to be backed up is/are not formatted within NTFS will cause this error. When backing up system on a computer that has a FAT32, a file system often used in earlier versions of Windows and most USB flash drives, formatted system reserved partition or EFI partition, this error will occur.

The Solutions

There are three ways to fix this problem:

I. If the partition that cannot be backed up does not have valuable data on it, you can delete it and recreate a partition with NTFS format.

1. In Disk Manager, right click the partition that is not formatted with NTFS and click Delete Volume.

2. Then it displays as Unallocated. Last right-click on the unallocated space of the disk, and select “New Simple Volume”.

3. Follow the New Simple Volume Wizard to set file system to NTFS.

New Volume

II. If you do not want to delete the partition, you can directly convert the partition or volume to NTFS.

1. Close all open programs running on the partition to be converted or boot into safe mode with command prompt.

2. Click the Start button, and type ”CMD” in the searching box. Then press Enter.

3. At the command prompt, type “convert drive_letter: /fs:ntfs”, and press Enter. For example, If the drive letter of the partition to be converted is F:, then you should type “convert f: /fs:ntfs” .

Convert F

4. Type the label of the partition you want to convert, and then press Enter. You can view all the partition labels in My Computer or in Disk Management.

If you think this method complicated to follow and you want it done easily, you can use third party software, AOMEI Partition Assistant, to convert FAT32 to NTFS by a few clicks.

III. Use another program to backup. Note that you cannot convert system reserved partition or EFI partition from FAT32 to NTFS. If this is the case, you need to use third party software that can backup FAT32 partition. AOMEI Backupper, Windows backup software, is supported to backup partitions with NTFS, FAT32, FAT16, EXT2, EXT3 and other file systems. AOMEI Backupper now is available in five different editions to meet both Windows PC and Server users’ needs. Besides backup, it can also clone system/partition/disk and make bootable rescue media to secure your system and data in many ways. With Backupper, you will never have the problem that one of the source volumes specified has an invalid format and cannot be protected.

Backup Tab