[How-to FIX] The File is Too Large For The Destination File System

Nowadays Flash Sticks and External HDD are wide and cheap and the systems bigger and more complex. That is why we shouldn’t be surprised that some files reach several Gigabytes in size, letting us to some errors like: The file is too large for the destination file system

Sometimes when copying very large files from our PC to a USB flash or external hard drive, the operating system will not let us. Rather it gives us the message:

The file is too large for the destination file system

This problem occurs mostly on Windows systems when you try to copy or transfer a file to a USB Flash Drive or external hard drive of more than 4 Gigabytes. This is because external hard drives and USB drives usually use FAT32 format.

This format has a capacity of up to 32-bit which limits the size of the files to a maximum of 4 Gygabytes. That is why even if the destination drive has enough space to store the file, the format it’s not capable of handling it.

In this tutorial, we will show you how to fix the problem The file is too large for the destination file system using 2 methods: Formatting the Drive and Converting the File System

Method #1: Format File System

To format the USB flash drive or external hard drive, the first thing to do is a copy or backup of the important files that are in it.

Keep in mind that when formatting, you will lose everything that is stored. After you make your copy or backup you must open the File Explorer.

Once you are in the File Explorer, look for your USB device and make right-click on it, in the contextual menu select Format


Next you can see the Format window where you will see the current settings of the Hard drive or USB flash stick. One of the properties of the drive is the one that says File System.

By default it should say FAT32 (default) and should show a drop-down menu. Click on the drop-down menu and you will see several formatting options. Select the one that says NTFS

In the lower part of the window you can check the Quick Format box if you wish. After that, click on the Start button.

Windows will then show you a Warning. It says: “WARNING: Formatting will erase ALL data on this disk. To format the disk, click OK. To quit, click CANCEL.

Again we remind you that you must make a copy or backup if there are important files in this drive because after formatting you will not be able to recover them. Starting from the premise that you already copied the important files, then click on the OK button.

Now depending on the size of the disk it may take several minutes for the formatting to end. Once finished you will see a message that says Full Format. When you see it, click on the OK button

Now if you try again to copy the large file, you must be able to do it successfully.

Method #2: Convert File System

The alternative to formatting the disk is to convert it to another format. Basically the process makes it take all the files that are on the external hard drive or USB drive and change the format keeping the files.

Although this is the intention and most of the time it works well, we recommend that you make a copy of your files before proceeding. So presuming that you already made the copy, open the Command Prompt

Click on the Start Menu and navigate to Windows System > Command Prompt

command prompt apps

For the next step, you should know the drive letter that Windows assigned to your USB drive or hard drive. In our example, as you can see the letter E: it was the one assigned to it.

Then at the command prompt you should type the following command:

convert e: /fs:ntfs

Once you enter the command press the Enter key.

By doing so you will see various data about the conversion such as the current format, disk size etc. Depending on the size of your disk you should wait a few minutes until the file conversion ends.

Once finished you will see again the Command Prompt waiting for another command, indicating that the operation has finished.

Now you can reuse your external hard drive or your USB stick now in NTFS format which supports files larger than 4 Gigabytes.

Now you know how to solve the problem The file is too large for the destination file system. Remember to let me know in the comments is this useful tutorial work for you.

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