In this guide, we will explain how you can solve the problem that often occurs when copying a file (or folder with multiple files) on a USB flash drive or disk. We are going to cover several methods to deal with the «file is too large for destination file system» error in Windows 10, 8, and Windows 7.
First of all, you should know why this happens: the reason is about the size of the file you are copying – it is bigger than 4GB (or multiple individual files in the folder exceed that limit). Moreover, it is also about the file system used by your flash drive or another storage device – it is using the FAT32 file system, which has size limits for individual files. That is why the system shows an error indicating that the file you are about to move is too big.
What to do if my file is too big for the file system on my storage device?
It depends on the situation and task you are willing to perform with that device. We will give you different methods to choose from so you will be able to use the one that suits you the most.
If you don’t really care about the file system on your USB flash drive, the best (and the easiest as well) course of action would be just to format it and change the file system to NTFS. Remember that all files on your flash drive will be erased, so you should either copy your data somewhere else or use another method that we are going to explain further in this article.
- Open Windows Explorer, find your USB flash drive, right-click on it, and select «Format.»
- In the next window, select new file system – NTFS.
- Initiate the procedure and wait until it ends.
After changing your storage device’s file system to NTFS, you will be able to copy files of any size to it.
In case you need to convert the file system from FAT32 to NTFS without formatting the data, you can use third-party programs such as Aomei Partition Assistant. It is free to download and easy to operate. Just use the command line: convert D: /fs:ntfs (where D is a letter of the disk you need to convert). After converting, you can start copying all needed files and documents.
If you are using a flash drive or disk for a TV or another device that cannot «see» NTFS
You will also get the «file is too large for destination file system» error when you are trying to copy a movie or another bug file to a memory card used in a TV or smartphone that does not «understand» NTFS. There are two ways to solve this problem:
- If it is a movie, you can convert the original file to a smaller size using free tools, or you can find a smaller version that does not exceed the 4GB limit.
- You can format your storage device to ExFAT. It has higher chances that your device will work with that file system that does not have file size limits that strict.
How to create a bootable flash drive with UEFI support when original ISO files exceed 4GB
Usually, UEFI boot flash drives are created with the FAT32 file system, and sometimes users cannot copy all files from the original image because of install.wim and install.esd (in the case with Windows) are bigger than 4GB. The problem can be solved easily:
- Using a free tool named Rufus that allows creating UEFI flash drives with the NTFS file system (but you will have to disable Secure Boot).
- Use WinSetupFromUSB that allows dividing files bigger than 4GB in FAT32 and «restoring» them back during installation. This feature was added in the Beta 1.6 version of the program. We suppose that later versions also support this function (or you can always use the older version available on the official website).
What to do when you need the FAT32 file system and copy a bigger file at the same time?
When you know that you cannot change the file system of your storage device and must keep it as FAT32, and you still need to copy a file, which is not a convertible video, then you have one last option left. You have to use file archiver tools such as WinRAR or 7-Zip. These programs allow you to create multiple archives of smaller size and copy them one by one on your flash drive. After that, you can extract them back on another device from your flash drive and restore the original file as it was. In addition to that, 7-Zip also allows users to divide bigger files into smaller ones without archiving. In order to restore them, you will just have to use 7-Zip once again.
We hope we were able to answer all your questions and solve the problem with «file is too large for destination file system» error.