This past Sunday, while transferring a couple of files from my friend’s PC to my USB flash drive, I got an error saying that The file Ubuntu.vdi is too large for the destination file system. My USB flash drive’s capacity is 16GB (actual capacity is 14.9 GB) and the size of the file in question was just 6.87GB.
When I opened up USB drive’s properties to check the available free disk space, I realized that the USB drive was formatted in FAT32 file system and this was the reason for the error.
For those who aren’t aware, you can’t transfer a file larger than 4GB to a drive formatted in FAT32 file system, even if the actual capacity of your drive is more than 4GB. When you try to a transfer a file larger than 4GB in size, Windows shows The file ‘file name’ is too large for the destination file system error.
In simple words, if you have a file named XYZ of size 5GB and want to transfer the file to a drive formatted in FAT32 file system, you need to either split the selected file into two using a file compression software, or format the drive in NTFS file system to be able to transfer the file.
If you’re not sure how to convert a drive from FAT to NTFS file system, you can do so by following the instructions mentioned in one of the two methods.
Step 1: Backup all important files from your USB drive as all data on the drive will be erased while converting the file system.
Step 2: Open up Computer (This PC in Windows 8.1), right-click on the USB drive that you wish to convert to NTFS, and then click Properties.
Step 3: In the Properties dialog box, expand the File system drop-menu, select NTFS as your file system, and then click Start button to begin formatting the drive in NTFS. Once done, you’ll see Format complete message on the screen.
Click OK button when you see the confirmation dialog box.
Method 2: Formatting the drive in NTFS via Command Prompt.
(Use this method is the above mentioned method fails to work)
Step 1: Open Command Prompt as administrator. If you’re on Windows 7, open Start menu, type CMD, and then simultaneously press Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys to run Command Prompt as administrator.
And if you’re on Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, switch to the Start screen, type Command Prompt, and then simultaneously press Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys to open elevated Command Prompt. We suggest you go through our 4 ways to open Command Prompt as administrator in Windows 8.1 guide for detailed instructions.
Step 2: Once the elevated Command Prompt is launched, type the following command and press enter key.
convert X: /fs:ntfs /nosecurity
In the above command, replace “X” with the drive letter of your USB drive.
Once done, you’ll see Conversion complete message. Close the Command Prompt. That’s it!
How to format external hard drive in FAT32 file system guide might also interest you.