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How to Fix the Error “File is too large for the destination file system”

It is quite common for the Windows users to encounter with an error stating “File is too large for the destination file system” while copying a very large file to a USB drive or a hard disk with still lot of free space!

Here’s one of the real-time scenario:

“When I was transferring some of my videos and audios from my laptop to WD passport external hard drive, I encountered with an error “File is too large for the destination file system”. The biggest file is 4.7GB and the total size of them is about 20GB and the external drive still has 180GB free space.

I don’t understand why it is too big. Don’t know what to do and I’m kind of need to get this done. Please!”

If you are in the same situation, you might be wondering what could possibly cause this issue despite having tons of free space. Well, the reason for this problem is because the file is 4.7 GB in size and the external hard drive was formatted in FAT32 format. But the maximum file size for FAT32 is 4GB, and the max file size for FAT16 is only 2GB!

So how do you fix this problem? Well, there are three ways you can go about it. You can either compress a file and then copy it to your external hard drive, convert the file system to NTFS, where there is no limit on file sizes, or format the disk into exFAT or NTFS.

Solutions to fix the error “File is too large for the destination file system” 

Solution #1: Compress file

You can use compression software installed on your computer to compress the file into a smaller one. If file becomes smaller than 4 GB after compression, the problem can be fixed. Compressed files occupy less disk space and can be moved more quickly.

However, this is an easy but limited method to circumvent this 4GB file limitation!

Solution #2: Format disk into exFAT or NTFS file system

Caution: Formatting deletes all data from the partition, if it contains important data, you should back up files before trying following steps.

  • Attach the USB disk to the computer and wait for the system to recognize it and assign a drive
  • Double-click the My Computer icon to open it and locate the drive letter for the USB disk that you want to change file system format
  • Before formatting, you need to open this drive and check whether there are important files
  • Right-click the USB drive and select “Format” from the menu
  • Select NTFS or exFAT from the drop-down list of the Filesystem section. The default file system might be FAT32, thus you should set it manually. Apart from that, the “Quick Format” option should be selected to ensure the formatting can be completed in the shortest time
  • Click the Start button and you’ll get a message box telling formatting will erase all data on this disk. If you have backed up important data, click OK button and formatting will be done in seconds

Solution #3: Convert FAT32 to NTFS file system with Command Prompt

  • Insert USB drive to the computer and open Windows Explorer to see its drive letter. Let’s say G in this example
  • Click Start button and type in cmd in the searching box and hit Enter
  • In Command Prompt, type in chkdsk G: /f: and hit Enter. Here G is the drive letter of the USB drive you want to convert. It checks error for the drive
  • Enter convert G: /FS:NTFS and press Enter. Make sure you are using the correct drive letter, if not replace “G” for the letter of the drive to be converted
  • The process may take a while, just let it run and finish. When conversion completes, check whether the file system is correctly converted and file in order

This method can convert FAT to NTFS without deleting the existing file, but it is still recommended to create a backup of your files before starting the conversion.

“If you are a Windows user and have mistakenly deleted large file folder, you can make use of Remo Recover Application to recover the folder that has been deleted just in few simple steps.”

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