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Fixes for 'File Is Too Large for Destination File System' on USB/External Hard Drive

Updated by Roxanne on May 12, 2022
Written by Daisy
mins read

"Yesterday, when I tried to copy some large files including Windows 11/10 ISO files, the backup images of my operating system, movies, personal video files, and other data to my 32 GB external hard drive, I received the error message saying "The file is too large for the destination file system." I don't know why it happened as there was enough free space on the disk. Can anyone help?"

The file is too large for the destination file system

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting

1. Data loss Prevention

Step 1: Install and launch EaseUS Partition Master on your computer....Full steps
2. Windows built-in feature Step 1. Connect your USB flash drive to the computer and right-click...Full steps

What's The Reason for The 'file is too large' Error?

When facing the "The file is too large for the destination file system" issue in Windows 10/8/7, you might get confused about why you would not be able to copy the file to your USB flash drive when there is sufficient free space.

The problem occurs because one of the files you want to transfer is larger than 4 GB and your USB flash drive is using the FAT32 file system, of which the maximum file size is 4GB. For a FAT16 USB flash drive, the maximum file size is 2GB. There is a built-in limitation in the FAT32 file system: Although the total size of the files you can store on a FAT32 drive could be up to 2TB, you cannot save an individual file that exceeds 4GB on it. 

2 Efficient Solutions to Fix Your Problem

After figuring out the reason for "The file is too large for the destination file system" issue, you can fix it with ease, that is to convert the file system from FAT32/FAT16 to NTFS. Here we will introduce you to two easy solutions. We will show you how to use these two methods to fix the "The file is too large for the destination file system" error with simple steps.

Solution 1: Converting FAT32 to NTFS without data loss

If you want to finish this task in a more convenient way, here's a good solution. Converting FAT32 to NTFS without data loss using the partition tool - EaseUS Partition Master. This popular third-party partition software is an optimal choice. It allows you to fix "The file is too large for the destination file system" issue without formatting as well as data loss. The program works well in Windows 10/8/7 or any other previous versions.

Download EaseUS Partition Master now, and here is the detailed guide. 

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Step 1. Install and launch EaseUS Partition Master on your computer.

Step 2. Select a FAT32 partition, right-click on it and select "Convert to NTFS". If you need to convert a storage device such as SD card or USB flash drive to NTFS, insert it into your PC first and repeat the previous operation.

convert FAT32 to NTFS

Step 3. Click "OK" on the pop-up dialog box to continue.

convert FAT32 to NTFS

Step 4. Now the converting process will start automatically. Wait until the operation process is finished.

convert FAT32 to NTFS

After finishing all the steps, you can copy files larger than 4GB successfully. Apart from converting file system, EaseUS Partition Master also enables you to clone OS to SSD, resize partitions, and delete partitions as well.

Solution 2: Formatting FAT32 to NTFS with Windows built-in feature

Formatting is the easiest way for you to convert FAT32 to NTFS. But notice that it will erase all the existing data on the drive. So, it is recommended only when there are no files on your external hard drive or USB flash drive. If there are files existing on your storage device, you can back them up by manually copying or using free backup software in advance. Here's how to do it with Windows built-in format feature.

Step 1: Connect your USB flash drive to the computer.

Step 2: Right-click on the USB drive or external hard drive and click "Format".

Step 3: Change the type to NTFS.

Fix the file is too large for the destination file system by formatting

Done!! Now you have fixed the issue "The file is too large for the destination file system" and can successfully copy a file larger than 4GB to the external USB drive or hard drive.

The Bottom Line

Once you understand "the file is too large for the destination file system" is caused by the FAT32 file system, the solution is specific: change the file system. If you use the Windows built-in features or utilities to convert the file system, you need to back up the files on the storage device first since the operations will erase the files on your device. Thus, if you want to convert FAT32 to another file system directly without data loss, using EaseUS Partition Master is more advisable for you.

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About the Author

Updated by Roxanne

Roxanne is one of the main contributors to EaseUS and has created multiple posts on digital devices like PCs, Mobile phones, tablets, Mac, etc. She loves to share ideas with people of the same interest.

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Written by Daisy

Daisy is the Senior editor of the writing team for EaseUS. She has been working in EaseUS for over ten years, starting from a technical writer to a team leader of the content group. As a professional author for over 10 years, she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.

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Product Reviews

Product Reviews

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  • I love that the changes you make with EaseUS Partition Master Free aren't immediately applied to the disks. It makes it way easier to play out what will happen after you've made all the changes. I also think the overall look and feel of EaseUS Partition Master Free makes whatever you're doing with your computer's partitions easy.

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  • It won't hot image your drives or align them, but since it's coupled with a partition manager, it allows you do perform many tasks at once, instead of just cloning drives. You can move partitions around, resize them, defragment, and more, along with the other tools you'd expect from a cloning tool.

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