Know The Solution For The Error: “The File Is Too Large For The Destination File System”

Most external drives are shipped with a FAT32 file system, which means they can’t handle files larger than 4 GB in size, like a virtual machine. If you try and copy a file, you’ll get an error “The file is too large for the destination file system.

When you encounter such a problem issue in Windows 10/8/7 or any other previous version, you might not figure out that why you would not be able to copy the file to your external hard drive, USB drive, or some other storage devices when there is sufficient free space.

Using command prompt

In our example, the drive letter is H: so in the command type this: 

convert H: /fs:ntfs . 

The conversion might take a while, depending on how big is your Drive.

Second option:

Go to “My Computer” right-click on the drive and choose Format. Then select NTFS in the file system drop-down.

The file is too large for the destination file system

What should you do when encountering such an issue?

  • Split larger files

This might not sound like the ideal solution, but it will allow you to store your file on a FAT32 file system device. One way to circumvent this 4GB file limitation is to split your file. To split large files, you can use tools such as WinRAR.

This method is useful if you want to store a large file on a USB flash drive and transfer it to a different PC. You won’t be able to join files on your flash drive, but you should be able to join them on a different PC without any problems.

  • Format your drive

Go to My Computer, locate your drive, right-click it and choose Format from the menu.


When the Format window opens, select NTFS as the File system or exFAT and click Start.

Wait for the format process to complete.

Formatting your drive allows you to change the file system from FAT32 to NTFS or exFAT. Both exFAT and NTFS allow you to store files larger than 4GB.

So, you should always use NTFS for hard drive partitions and NTFS or exFAT for USB flash drivers. To format your drive, follow the above steps.

  • Change the file system without formatting
  1.   Press Windows Key + X to open Win + X menu
  2.   Select Command Prompt (Admin).
  3.   Optional: When Command Prompt opens, enter chkdsk F: /f. We used F: in our example because that’s the letter assigned to our USB flash drive, but you need to use the letter that matches your USB flash drive. 
  4.   After the scan is completed and no errors are found, move on to the next step. 
  5.   Enter convert F: /FS:ntfs and press Enter to run it. Once again, be sure to use the correct drive letter. 
  6.   After the conversion process is completed, check if the storage device is converted and if all your files are still present. 
  7.   If everything is in order, try to transfer the large file again.

If you want to keep all your files on the storage device, you can also change the file system without formatting. This method should preserve all your data, but a backup is strongly recommended. In case of not knowing how to perform the backup procedure, choose one of the best local data backup software tools to do the job for you.

Win+X menu is not working in Windows 10? Check this guide to solve the issue quickly!

Workable solutions

The problem occurs because one of the files you want to transfer is larger than 4 GB and your external hard drive or USB flash drive is using the FAT32 file system, of which the maximum file size is 4GB. 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.

After figuring out the reason for “The file is too large for the destination file system” issue, you can fix it in Windows 10/8/7 or any other previous Windows version with ease by converting the file system to NTFS. Here we will introduce you with two easy solutions. We will show you how to use these two solutions to fix “The file is too large for the destination file system” error with simple steps.

Formatting is the easiest way for you to convert FAT32 to NTFS. But 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 for free with Windows built-in format feature.

Step 1: Right-click on the USB drive or external hard drive.

Step 2: Click “Format”.

Step 3: Change the type to NTFS.

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.

Converting FAT32 to NTFS without data loss using third-party software

And if there are important data on your external hard drive or USB drive, you might need a better solution. Converting FAT32 to NTFS without data loss using the partition tool – EaseUS Partition Master, 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. The program can work in Windows 10/8/7 or any other previous versions. Here is the guide.

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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