[Tutorial] 2 Ways to Breaking 2TB File System Limit

Nowadays, it's more important to break 2TB file system limit as the large hard drive beyond 2TB has been widely used. You can refer to this post to learn about how to create a volume beyond 2TB.


By Dervish / Updated on February 11, 2024

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Why can't I have a partition bigger than 2TB?

While you connect a new disk to your computer, Windows will ask you to initialize disk, set the partition style as MBR or GPT.

The maximum size of an MBR disk is 2TB (Terabytes) and it can hold up to 4 primary partitions or 3 primary partitions + 1 extended partition. Unlike MBR disk, GPT disk doesn’t have such limitations. The maximum size for a GPT disk depends on the operating system (some previous versions of Windows like Windows XP/Vista cannot recognize GPT partition style) and file system.

The most common file systems used in Windows are NTFS and FAT32. FAT32 is the older one of the two file systems, which was created in 1977 by Microsoft. It can be used in many other operating systems (OS) besides Windows. However, it supports up to 2TB volume size and 4GB file size. If you have files bigger than 4GB or want to have a partition beyond 2 TB, you need to reformat the partition as NTFS.

 NTFS is the newer one introduced in 1993, which seems to work only with Windows. The maximum partition size of NTFS depends on the smallest cluster size. NTFS maximum size = cluster size * (2^32 -1). By default, the cluster size is 4096 bytes, so its limit is 16TB. Therefore, to break 2TB file system limit, you can convert the disk to GPT disk and format it as NTFS.

Break the volume size barrier with Disk Management

Disk management is the Windows built-in utility for managing your disks and partitions. Disk Management can only convert completely empty disk to GPT, so you’d better backup disk before conversion. To launch Disk Management, You can press "Windows + R", type in “diskmgmt.msc” and press Enter.

Disk Management

1. Delete all the partitions on the disk you want to convert.

2. Right-click the empty disk and select Convert to GPT Disk.

3. Right-click the unallocated space and select New Simple Volume. Then follow the wizard to create a volume beyond 2TB, and it will select the NTFS file system as default.

Note that if you want to reinstall Windows on a GPT disk, the motherboard has to support UEFI Boot Mode, and UEFI boot mode must be enabled after the conversion.

Breakie 2TB file system limit without deleting partitions

If you do not want to get all the data on that disk wiped out, you can use AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard, a freeware works for Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista, to convert disk to GPT without data loss.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Tip: For converting data disk from MBR to GPT, Std version is enough. To convert system disk to GPT, please turn to Pro Edition.

Step 1. Install and launch this freeware. Right click the disk and select Convert to GPT.

Convert to GPT

Step 2. Click OK to confirm your operation.


Step 3. Click Apply to execute the operation.


Step 4. Right click the existing partition and select Resize Partition to extend the partition using the unallocated space. Then follow the instruction to expand 2TB partition, and don’t forget to click Apply to submit the operations.

If the partition is formatted with FAT32, you can convert FAT32 to NTFS without affecting the data on the partition. In addition to break 2tb file system limit, you can also use it to migrate OS to SSD, copy disk, make a bootable media, clean PC junk files and more.

Dervish · Staff Editor
Dervish is an English editor of AOMEI Technology; He is delicated to offering users easy and effecitve solutions for issuses related to disks and partitoins. In his spare time, he enjoy wathcning films, playing footable, traveling and so on.