Unable to copy large files to USB drive

Most USB flash drives and removable flash storage is formatted by default to either the FAT (up to 2GB devices) or FAT32 (devices with greater than 2GB storage) file system. The FAT32 file system has limitations on the file size supported. FAT32 formatted disk volumes will support files up to 1byte less than 4GB. For more information, please refer to Microsoft Support article 314463.


You will either need to break up the file into a series of smaller files using file archiving software such as WinRAR, or convert the drive volume from FAT32 to NTFS (providing that the device and the operating system both support NTFS). In general, it is best to leave USB flash disks, and other flash media formatted as FAT32 for optimal compatibility among different computers and devices. NTFS may not be supported on all devices or operating systems.

Alternatively, you can format the USB drive to exFAT.

The exFAT file system is the successor to FAT32 in the FAT family of file systems. The exFAT file system is a new file system format that addresses the growing needs of mobile personal storage on different operating systems. The exFAT file system handles large files, such as those that are used for media storage, and it enables seamless interoperability between desktop computers and devices, such as portable media devices. Because of this functionality, you can easily copy files between the desktop and external devices or between the desktop and other operating systems.

exFAT is currently supported only on Windows 7, Windows Vista SP1 or later, Windows XP SP2/SP3 with KB955704 hotfix applied, and Mac OS X 10.6.5 or later.


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