Error: File is too large for destination file system

Let’s face it, video files are huge but we need to store them somewhere. To clean up some space on my hard drive and to back up the project, I was transferring a 16 gb video project from my hard drive to my external drive that had over 200 gb free, but I encountered the error: “File is too large for the destination file system.”


So what was the problem? I didn’t format my external hard drive to the correct file system.

I’m the type of person that rips opens the package and just starts fiddling with the product without following directions. I saw the little booklet that came with my external drive with instruction on how to format it, but what’s the saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? So I just plugged in the external drive and went with it. Fast forward a few years later, and here I am with the error that my file is too large for the destination file system. Guess it’s time to fix.

It turns out that my external hard drive came packaged as a FAT32 file system, which does not support handling large files over 4 gb. So I needed to convert it to a NTFS file system. Luckily, you’re able to convert FAT32 to NTFS without data loss. But reversing the process (NTFS to FAT32) would require reformatting that wipes out all of your data.


Not sure what file system your drive has?

Click on the Start button start. Select Computer. Right click on the appropriate drive and select Properties. Under the General tab, it will list the file system.




Steps to Convert FAT32 to NTFS with Windows 7:

Step 1.

If you already have data on the drive, back up your files to another drive – just in case!


Step 2.

Click on the Start button. Select Computer. Note the name of the drive that you want to convert. In this case, I’m converting UNTITLED (J:).


Step 3.

Type cmd in the search bar.


Step 4.

In the window that pop ups type in chkdsk j: /f  where “j” is the letter of the drive you’re converting. Hit Enter on the keyboard. This will check the drive for errors.


Step 5.

Next enter Convert J: /FS:NTFS  again replace “J” for the letter of the drive to be converted.


Step 6.

Let it run and done. You can check the drive Properties to see that the file system is now NTFS.

Rest assured that now that I’m starting a videoography business, I do format my memory cards. I can gamble with my own memories being lost due to improperly formatted memory cards, but I will not do so with clients. Check back later when I create a post on how and why to format your memory cards.

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