Fix File Too Large for Destination File System Error – 5 Ways

Cassie Xie
Last updated: Jan 3, 2024
Summary: This post from Dr.Buho provides 5 fixes for the “File too large for destination file system” error.

If the file is too large for the destination file system when you try to copy the file, you may try the 5 fixes below to solve the issue.

file too large for destination file system

Fix 1. Convert FAT32 to exFAT or NTFS

If you see an error message “The file is too large for the destination file system” when trying to copy a file to a USB flash drive or SD card, it may be caused by the limitation of the FAT32 file system.

A drive formatted in FAT32 only supports containing files lower than 4GB. If you intend to copy a file larger than 4GB to the drive, you may see the “File too large for destination file system” error.

To fix the issue, you can use a professional disk partition converter to convert FAT32 to exFAT or NTFS without formatting it.

On Windows, you can convert FAT32 to NTFS without data loss with CMD.

  1. Press Windows + R to open Windows Run.
  2. Type cmd and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to run Command Prompt as administrator.
  3. In Command Prompt, type the command convert drive letter: /fs:ntfs. Replace “drive letter” with the exact drive letter of the target USB drive.
tip
Using command lines to perform actions cannot be undone and wrong commands may cause data loss. Please be careful. You’d better back up important data on the drive before you change the file system.

Fix 2. Reformat the Drive to exFAT/NTFS/APFS

Another way to fix the “File too large for destination file system” error is to reformat the destination drive to exFAT, NTFS, or APFS.

Before you continue, back up all data on the drive to another device since the reformat process will erase all data on it.

On Windows, follow the steps below to reformat the FAT32 drive to exFAT or NTFS.

  1. Double-click This PC to open File Explorer.
  2. Right-click the target drive and select Format.
  3. Select exFAT or NTFS as the file system format.
  4. Tick the “Quick Format” option.
  5. Click Start to start formatting the drive to exFAT or NTFS.
format drive to exFAT

On Mac, follow the steps below to reformat the FAT32 drive to exFAT or APFS with Disk Utility.

  1. Launch Disk Utility with Spotlight Search.
  2. Select the target drive in the left panel.
  3. Click the Erase button in the toolbar.
  4. Select exFAT or APFS file system format.
  5. Click Erase to begin formatting the drive to APFS or exFAT.
format hard drive to APFS on Mac
tip
To write to NTFS drives on Mac, you need to use a professional NTFS for Mac software program - BuhoNTFS.
Download
For macOS 10.13 and above

Fix 3. Split or Compress the File to Reduce Its Size

When the file is too large for the destination file system, you can split or compress the big file to shrink its size. You can try some professional file compressors or splitters like WinRAR, 7-Zip, etc.

Fix 4. Use Another Drive to Transfer the File

You can also use another drive that supports files larger than 4GB to transfer the file.

Fix 5. Use Another Way to Transfer the File

Instead of using a USB drive to copy or transfer the file, you can also use a cloud service, Bluetooth, AirDrop (Mac), or some third-party apps to send the file.

Conclusion

This post offers 5 solutions to help you fix the “file is too large for the destination file system” error. Hope it helps.

If you need a Mac cleaner program to clean your Mac and release more free space, you can try BuhoCleaner.

Cassie has been writing about technology for her entire career life - over 5 years. She enjoys diving into how Apple products work and then breaking it down in a way anyone can understand.