How to Copy Large Files to FAT32 without Formatting [2 Free Ways]

Sometimes, you must have encountered ''The file is too large for the destination file system.'' when you want to transfer or copy large files to FAT32 drive. This articles will tell you why it occurs and how to solve it without formatting.


By Hedy / Updated on December 26, 2023

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Unable to copy large files to FAT32?

''Who can help me! I'm trying to copy a large file volume up 8.68 GB to a FAT32 formatted drive, which has 20GB free space unallocated. But it popped out an error message saying that the file is too large for the destination file system. I'm confused. There is still 20GB free space on the drive! Are there any kind people who can tell me the reason and teach me how to copy large files to FAT32 without formatting?''


File too large means you will fail to copy files to your target drives. This always happens when your drive file system is formatted with FAT32 even there seems to be enough space to store files. To figure out why this problem emerged, it's critically essential to know something about the FAT32 file system and the maximum file size of FAT32 on different editions of Windows 11/10/8/7.

What is FAT32 file system?

File system is the way to help OS identify and organize the files on the hard drive partition. In Windows, the most common file system is FAT32 and NTFS. FAT32 is the newest version of FAT(File Allocation Table), which was adapted for use on hard disks and other devices. Compared with NTFS, FAT32 has developed to be compatible with the existing software for a long time, so it has a much better read and writing compatibility with almost all operating systems like Mac, Linux, and so on.

What is the maximum file size for FAT32?

Although FAT32 has great merits in compatibility, there is a limit for FAT32 that the maximum file size is 4GB. In other words, any single file more than 4GB is unable to be copied or saved to FAT32, which is usually the file system of USB flash drive or an SD card. Therefore, due to the FAT32 size limitation, even if there is unallocated free space on the drive, you still fail to copy files larger than 4GB to it.

How can I transfer files larger than 4GB to FAT32 without formatting?

As we mentioned above, FAT32 drives have a 4GB file limit. You may ask how about splitting the large files into the smaller one(no more than 4GB)? In theory, it's an available and workable method. You might have tried some programs like 7zip and WINRAR to split the data into two files, but the most convenient way should be using another different file system like NTFS, which can support volumes as large as 256TB.

So, how to change the FAT32 to NTFS partition? The most direct way is to format the hard drive to NTFS file system. However, this operation will erase everything on the target drive, so many users wonder if there is a way to change FAT32 file system to NTFS without formatting. Luckily, there are two methods available for realizing such a conversion without reformatting in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7: Windows built-in cmd.exe and third-party freeware. Keep reading.

▶ Method 1. Convert FAT32 file system into NTFS via CMD in Windows 11/10/8/7

Since you are worried about the loss of important data, and even don't want to format the partition, you can use cmd.exe tool to convert FAT32 file system into NTFS in Windows 11/10/8/7 safely and easily. Two simple steps are as follows:

Step 1. Open Command Prompt.

Press the Windows key and R spontaneously to open Run box, input ''cmd'' and hit on ''enter'' to open Command Prompt.

Step 2. Input the specific command.

In the pop-out window, type the command ''convert drive letter: /fs:ntfs''(n refers to the number of the partition on the drive).


This command can easily and safely convert FAT32 file system into NTFS in Windows 11/10/8/7 without damaging inside data loss. However, once you need to use FAT32 in the near future, you are unable to convert NTFS back to it via CMD due to poor disk space, inconsistent volume, or something else. The only way of converting NTFS to FAT32 in CMD is to format the drive, which will cause data loss.

▶ Method 2. Change file system from FAT32 to NTFS via a versatile tool

To avoid all the limitations described above, you can turn to a free partition manager named AOMEO Partition Assistant Standard whose ''NTFS to FAT32 Converter'' can not only change file system from FAT32 to NTFS, but also from NTFS to FAT32 in Windows 11/10/8/7 without formatting, which can keep your data safe and sound.

How can I transfer files larger than 4GB to FAT32 without formatting? Download the freeware to have a try, then, you will get the answer:

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step 1. Install and run AOMEO Partition Assistant Standard.

Click the FAT partition to which you want to copy large files, choose Convert, and then click ''Convert to NTFS/FAT32''.


Step 2. In the small pop-out window, click ''OK'' to continue.


Step 3. Then, click ''Apply'' and ''Proceed'' to commit the operation.


When you successfully change your file system from FAT32 to NTFS, you can copy large files to the FAT32 drives(now NTFS drives) at your will.


How to copy large files to FAT32 without formatting Windows 11/10/8/7? This problem may have disturbed you for a long time. But this tutorial may clear your confusion by providing you two effective methods to convert FAT32 to NTFS without formatting. You can choose one of them as your real condition, but AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is more recommended to you for its long-term advantages like converting NTFS to FAT32.

Also, if you upgrade to the professional edition, you can enjoy more functions, such as split partition to divide one large partition into multiple smaller partitions to save different kinds of files, migrate OS to SSD, allocate free space from one partition to another, etc.

Hedy · Staff Editor
Hedy is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is very good at solving problems of partition management, and she wants to share all the problems she had already solved to users who met the same questions.