4 years ago

Can’t Copy Large Files in Windows to External USB Drive

I was recently having this issue where I couldn’t copy large files to external hard drive, pen drive. It occurs […]

I was recently having this issue where I couldn’t copy large files to external hard drive, pen drive. It occurs while copying single files like movies and iso images larger than 4GB resulting in an error.

Why We Can’t Copy Large Files in Windows ?

The problem not some sort of copy protection but that the file being copied is too large for the file system to manage. The Windows File system allows to format a hard drive in two different file systems: FAT32 and NTFS. These file systems differ in the size of file they can handle. FAT32 can only handle file sizes upto 4GB in size.

Hence, if you are trying to copy a 4gb+ file onto your FAT32-formatted hard drive it won’t copy giving you an error.

So, to copy files larger than 4GB, make sure that the file system on the hard disk you are copying to is NTFS and not FAT32. Portable USB hard disk drives (by default) come formatted as FAT32 for stability with most OS.

Tip : Start USB Programs Automatically : Create USB Autorun

Converting a FAT32 Formatted External Drive to NTFS

  1. Open Command Prompt (Start > Run > cmd)
  2. Type in CONVERT d: /FS:NTFS and press enter (d: is the drive letter of the disk/volume you wish to convert).

    Converting my 8GB Usb (J:) from FAT32 to NTFS

  3. You can also do the same from the Windows GUI .. read here.

Let us know if you faced a similar issue… and how you resolved it.

Also See : Softwares to Move, Copy Files Faster in Windows