Have you ever tried to move or copy a file to your pen drive and you receive an error like “file too large for destination file system”. Today we will be uncovering the mystery behind this error.
Some months ago I tried to copy a file of 14GB to my 32GB USB flash drive but I received an error “file too large for destination file system”. I made some research and found out that I was using the wrong format all this while.
I usually use my USB flash drive on my laptop and also on my smartphone until I found this error on one of my USB flash drives.
The reason I created this article is not just to fix this error as other blogs do.
But to also break down the cause of this error so when next it comes around you would be able to explain it to other people and also fix the error.
Table of Contents
What are the different file systems available
If you are very conversant with the windows operating system, you would probably notice that there are three main file system formats, they are.
- FAT32 (Default)
These file system formats can be implemented on USB flash drives, pen drives, and also hard disks. We will take a brief one on these three file systems.
NTFS is an abbreviation of (New Technology File System). It was developed and introduced by Microsoft in July 1993. This file system format can be used on a USB flash drive and also on a hard disk.
FAT is an abbreviation of (File Allocation Table) it was introduced and created by Microsoft in 1977, 16 years before the introduction of the NTFS file system. FAT32 supports a file size of 4GB and volume size of 2TB.
This means you can’t move or copy a file of more than 4GB at once on this file system.
ExFAT is an abbreviation of (Extensible File Allocation Table) it was introduced and created by Microsoft in November 2006, 13 years before NTFS was created. The exFAT file system was mainly created for USB flash drives, pen drives, and also SD cards.
This means if you are making use of the FAT32 file system format, you won’t be able to push or move a file of more than 4GB size at once. So what do we do?
How to fix a file too large for the destination file system
A good way to fix the “file too large for destination file system” error is to change the file system format completely how do we do this? You need to completely format the USB flash drive to another file system.
Back up all your files on your USB flash drive. This is because to change file system format you need to erase all data on the USB flash drive.
Go to my PC move over to the USB flash drive, right-click on it and click format.
If you followed step 2 correctly you should be able to see the three format option which is NTFS, FAT32, and exFAT. Select either the NTFS or exFAT then click on start. Wait for the USB flash drive to format completely.
NOTE: I tried using the NTFS format on my USB flash drive and I was able to move files larger than 4GB, but anytime I put my flash drive on my phone it will ask me to format.
You can try out the exFAT file system format if you want to make use of your USB flash drive on your smartphone.
Also, check out how to boot windows with pendrive.
The FAT32 file system was created to support only the transfer of files below 4GB per transfer, and it’s the default format option on the windows operating system.
Making use of this format will limit you from moving huge files, this doesn’t mean you won’t be able to utilize your total storage completely. But it means that you cant move huge files above 4GB at once.
Changing the file system format to NTFS or exFAT will resolve the “file is too large for destination file system” error.
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