By Michael / Last Updated January 28, 2021

Recently I bought a new USB drive to save some important files on my PC. However, when I tried to transfer my files to it the notification “The File Is Too Large for the Destination file system” popped up. My USB is in 500GB while the files are only 10GB. Why did this happen? Could someone help?

- Question from Jason

Why Do You Encounter “The File Is Too Large for the Destination USB”?

Sometimes, when you try transferring a large file to your USB, a notification “The file is too large for the destination file system” may pop up. You spare no effort to reduce the size of the file but the result still fails you. Why does this bothering issue frequently come? To understand the inner secret, we must talk about file system first.

What is file system? File system usually controls the way files are stored, identified, and organized in a drive. On Windows based computer, the commonest files systems are FAT32 and NTFS. NTFS allows the maximum size of a file to be 16TB while its counterpart FAT32 only supports 4GB file size. So, now you should understand why the notification mentioned above always pops up on your screen – your USB drive’s partition is formatted in FAT32 while your transferred single file is beyond 4GB.

File Is Too Large For Destination File System

Which File System Should I Take?

There are several file systems that break the 4GB file size limit of FAT32. The commonest are NTFS and exFAT. The former one supports up to 16TB large files while the latter one supports 16EB files.

As for NTFS, it performs better in data security and has higher reading and writing speed than exFAT. In compatibility, NTFS is totally supported by Windows XP and its later versions as well as Xbox One;As for exFAT, it is renowned for its good compatibility. It can be used on almost every version of Windows, Mac OS X, Xbox One, and PS4. Formatting the USB to either of them can help avoid the “file is too large for the destination file system” issue.

Ntfs Vs Exfat Vs Fat32

4 Solutions to “File Is Too Large for Destination USB”

To deal with the issue “The file is too large for the destination USB”, I have gone through Google and ultimately, I found these 4 solutions below that I think is the easiest and most pragmatic.

Solution 1. Compress Files to Smaller Ones

Compression makes files smaller and easier to transfer. In Windows, the inbuilt way to compress files is to turn them into ZIP files, which reduces the files’ size without any data loss. Here, let’s see how to conduct it.

1. Locate the file you want to compress and right click on it.

2. Hover your cursor over “Send to” and select “Compressed Folder” to begin the compressing process.

File Compression

3. The compressed zip file will automatically appear on your desktop. The next thing you may do is to rename it.

Note: Compression is an easy way to deal with the issue “The File Is Too Large for the Destination USB”. However, the amount of file size reduction varies by file type.

Solution 2. Reformat the FAT32 USB to NTFS/exFAT via Windows’ Inbuilt Feature

If the file compression above does not satisfy you, the most effective method is to reformat the USB drive from FAT32 to NTFS or exFAT. This can be easily done using Windows Explorer.

1. First of all, right click on “This Computer”

2. Then, locate and select the destination drive in Windows Explorer.

3. Next, right click on the drive and choose “Format” from the dropdown menu.

4. Preset NTFS as the output file system.

File Explorer Format Disk

5. Lastly, click on “Start” button.

Another Windows’ inbuilt tool for reformatting USB is Disk Management with which you can manage disks and partitions via many basic features such as formatting partition, shrinking partition and reszing partitions.

Solution 3. Convert File System without reformatting Using Command Prompt

Command Prompt, logically, is a command line interpreter application provided by most Windows OS. It’s used to execute entered commands. This time, you’re going to change file system by inputting some command. If you have any questions on “the file is too large for the destination file system without formatting”, I highly recommend this method because it can finish file system (FAT32 to NTFS) conversion without formatting this drive again.

1. Press “Win+R” to launch “Run” dialog box.

2. Then, input “cmd” and press the button of “Enter”.

3. Then, in the appeared Command Prompt window, type the following line:

convert drive letter: /fs: file system

For example, if you want to convert Driver D to NTFS, you can use:

convert D: /fs: ntfs

4. Lastly, hit “Enter” button and wait for the process to be finished.

Cmd Convert Fat32 To Ntfs

Solution 4. Change File System without Reformatting with Freeware

As it appears above, Command Prompt is able to execute many kinds of commands including some file system conversion. However, by using it, you can only convert FAT32 to NTFS but can’t convert NTFS back to FAT32. So, if you need a more feature-rich tool for file system conversion, third-party disk management software – AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard – is recommended to downrightly resolve the ” The file is too large for the destination system” issue.

With this software, you can execute both FAT32 to NTFS and NTFS to FAT32 conversion with no hurdle. Besides, other features including disk clone and partition clone are also available.

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

Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard and you’ll see all disks and partitions on the interface.

Step 2. Select “All Tools” on the left and then, hit “NTFS to FAT32 Converter”.

Ntfs To Fat32 Converter

Step 3. Select “FAT32 to NTFS” and click on “Next”.

Fat32 To Ntfs

Step 4. Choose the partition you hope to convert to NTFS and click on “Next”.

Choose Fat32 Partition

Step 5. Then, confirm the operation and click on “Proceed” to start the process.

Proceed To Ntfs

Step 6. After finished, click on “Finish” to return to the main interface and now, you’ll find the FAT32 partition has been turned into NTFS.

Finish To Ntfs


The file is too large for destination USB? 4 methods have been given and each of them has its own distinctions. As for me, I prefer AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. It seems to be a combination of the other 3 but more powerful and there are still many other useful features that haven’t been talked about such as “Resize Partition”, “MBR and GPT Conversion without Deleting Partitions”, and “Format Partition”. Moreover, to discover more features like migrating OS from MBR Disk to GPT SSD or HDD, and recovering lost partitions, etc, please upgrade this software to pro version.