How Big Can a FAT32 Drive Be & How to Break Size Limit

Do you know how big can a FAT32 drive be? If you confront the error “The volume is too big for FAT32”, how can you fix? Learn more about FAT32 and how to break size limit.


By Lucas / Updated on May 12, 2023

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What is the largest drive size for FAT32?

Have you ever met or known the error “The volume is too big for FAT32”? And when you try to save a file to a FAT32 partition, you may receive an error message stating that "the file is too huge." Why does it happen? How big can a FAT32 drive be?

About FAT 32 file system

FAT is a file system that was designed for personal computers. Developed in 1977 for usage on floppy disks, it has since been extended for use on hard drives and other systems. The expansion of disk drive capacity necessitated three major variants: FAT12, FAT16, and FAT32.

FAT file system

Of these 3 types, FAT32 is the last and has the largest size limit:

▶ FAT32 partition size limit: 2TB
You couldn't format a 3TB HDD as a single FAT32 partition. To construct a huge partition, you'll need a third-party partition manager. When you use Windows Disk Management, the biggest partition size that can be created or formatted is 32GB.

▶ FAT32 file size limit: 4GB
The size of a single file you want to store can’t be over 4 GB. Otherwise, you’ll receive the warning: “The file is too large for the destination file system”, or “The parameter is incorrect”. Of course, you’re also not allowed to transfer or move the file larger than 4 GB.

The FAT32 file system is more compatible with more operating systems, including DOS, Microsoft Windows (up to and including Windows 8), Mac OS X, and several variants of UNIX-derived operating systems such as Linux and FreeBSD.

2 ways to break the FAT32 size limit

Microsoft's NTFS file system is a proprietary journaling file system that was developed in 1993. It is introduced to replace the FAT file system. It is more dependable and effective because it employs innovative data structures to increase dependability, disk space usage, and overall performance.

Unlike the limit of FAT 32, NTFS can support volumes up to 256TB in capacity, and file sizes up to 16 EiB. Larger NTFS volumes need a 64-bit operating system and appropriate hardware.

So, to break the size limit of FAT32, converting to NTFS is a nice solution. After the conversion, you can use the disk with larger storage space to store big game programs or videos.

Here we prepare 2 ways to help you successfully convert to the NTFS file system.

1. Convert to NTFS via Command Prompt

CMD has an order to help users to convert FAT32 to NTFS without formatting, so the data on the target drive is safe. But if you wish to erase all data on the target drive during the conversion, you can use Disk management to format that drive to NTFS.

Step 1. Press "Win”+ “R" to open the "Run" box, input "cmd" and click "Enter".

Step 2. In the pop-out window, type the command “convert X: /fs:ntfs”. “X:” is the letter of the target partition. This command will convert the specified partition from FAT32 to NTFS without formatting, preserving the internal data.

CMD convert to NTFS

2. Convert to NTFS via a professional converter

The first way is quite simple even for tech novices. But, CMD may fail in the conversion task and give you a message: Conversion from FAT32 to NTFS is not available.

If you resolve all of these concerns, the Command Prompt may successfully convert. But this problem can be caused by a variety of factors such as inadequate disc capacity, faulty sectors on the drive, page file occupying, and so on. It might be a little hard for many users to find the key factor and fix it.

Alternatively, you may use advanced partition software such as AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. This software's "NTFS to FAT32 Converter" tool allows you to convert FAT32 to NTFS without formatting or losing data, and vice versa. It automatically decompresses the compressed files using NTFS and decrypts the encrypted files at the same time.

Download Pro DemoWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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The operation is also easy for all users, only clicks need.

Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant. Right-click the partition you want to convert and go “Advanced” > “Convert to NTFS”.

Convert to NTFS

Step 2. In the pop-up window, NTFS is selected by default. Click “OK”.


Step 3. Now the selected drive is with the NTFS file system. Click “Apply” to execute it.


After the conversion, you can transfer or move files over 4GB.

Further reading: Transfer large folder to another drive

After you convert to NTFS and prepare to move files, you may have a new problem Windows doesn’t allow you to move large folders or application folders.

If you meet this issue, AOMEI Partition Assistant can give you a hand. The “Move Folder” feature allows you to move multiple large folders at once between NTFS partitions.

Step 1. Click "All Tools" > "Other Tools", choose "App Mover". And In the “App Mover” window, choose “Move Folders”.


Step 2. Click “Add folder” to select the folders you want to move, and select a drive as the new location.

◤ Note: You can’t move system folders. And if the selected folder has opened documents, they’ll be closed forcibly during the move.

Step 3. Choose a drive with sufficient free space as the new store location under the box of folders and click “Move”.


◤ Note: To ensure the folders can be operated normally, please do not move or delete the files in the source and target directory.

Step 5. Click "OK" in the warning and "FInish" to over the task.



Now you know how big can a FAT32 drive be? The FAT32 partition size limit can be broken by converting to an NTFS file system, so you don’t need to worry that your large disk can’t be used 100%.

AOMEI Partition Assistant has various tools for you to easily and efficiently organize your PC like transferring programs to a new location, disk cloning, and converting to GPT… And if you need, you can choose the Server Edition for your Server device.

Lucas · Staff Editor
I prefer peaceful and quiet life during vacation,but sometimes I watch football match if my favorite club performs brilliantly in that season. And I love reading, painting and calligraphy, thus I send my friends festival handwriting cards every year.