Your file is too large for the destination file system

Your file is too large for the destination file system

Did you ever try to copy some data to your USB flash drive and got an error message that says you can’t copy the data because file is too large for the destination file system, even though you have enough free space available on the device??? How is this even possible and does it make you feel weird?

No, you’re not dumb nor blind. The dialogue really says that the file is too large for the destination file system thus won’t copy your file to USB flash drive.
This message means that your USB device is formated with the FAT32 file system which has a built-in limitation on the size of the files that it may contain. The total size of the files that you can copy to a FAT32 drive could be as large as 2TB (or the physical capacity of the drive, whichever is smaller), the size of each individual file may not exceed 4GB. A reminder for younger people on this topic, which may sound silly today, is that this file system was created a long time ago (when Windows 95 was a revelation) and they didn’t predicted the file sizes that are commonly being used today.

Some time later they invented another file system which is called NTFS file system that does not have previously mentioned file size limitation (and also allows for many other functions not supported by FAT32 such as file security, encryption, compression, etc.), so here is the solution for the problem when the file is too large for the destination file system. All you need to do is format your USB device to NTFS file system and you’re good to go. You should have in mind however, that after doing so you won’t be able to use your USB device on such older Windows OS like Windows 95, 98 or ME (if you even remember those).

How to format USB device into NTFS file system format?

Very easy. Just follow the steps below.

1. Insert your USB device into the USB port on your computer and make sure it does not contain any files on it.

2. Open My Computer screen, locate the USB drive (in my case the drive letter is E:) right-click on it and select Format option.

Format step 1

3. In File system drop down menu select NTFS.

Format step 2

4. In Allocation unit size drop down menu select Default allocation size.

Format step 3

5. Check the box for Quick Format (optional but much faster).

6. Click Start button, confirm the format and you’re done!

By janoshke

Web developer and IT consultant. Freelancer with full respect for OpenCart and WordPress. Gamer, (ex)drummer and parent.

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