How to Transfer Files Larger than 4GB to SD Card?

Why are you not allowed to transfer files larger than 4GB to SD card? This article will explain the reason and help you fix this problem.


By Lucas / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Scenario: How to move a big file over 4GB to an external SD card?

Hi, have you any idea, how to move a bigger than 4GB sqlitedb file to external SD (FAT32)? Is it possible to split, copy, and after that merge the original file? And if so, then how? Or can it be compressed and then unpacked? And I need to use this SD card in Android, what type can be read by Android if I need to format it? I have many things on the card, honestly, I don’t want to lose all data…”

About FAT32

Have you ever been not allowed to transfer files larger than 4GB to SD card or a USB? As the user said in the scenario, he needs to transfer files but the task is rejected by the system. Why does this happen?

To understand why certain big files larger than 4GB transferred between SD card/USB drive and computer failed, we must first know the FAT32 file system and the FAT32 file size restriction in Windows OS.

▶ FAT32 file system
FAT32 is a filing system that is used to organize files on a disk drive. The disk drive is labeled into accessible pieces called sectors, also named as File Allocation Table. It's constructed at the start of the drive so that the host computer can find each piece of information in the file.

The "32" in the name refers to the number of bits used by the file system to hold these addresses and was introduced primarily to distinguish it from its predecessor, FAT16.

▶ Size limit of FAT32
The problem of FAT32 that makes all users annoyed is the size limitation of a file. It is not feasible to copy, move, save, and transfer a 4GB file on any FAT32-formatted disk. The error message “The file is too large for the destination file system” will indicate that you are attempting to copy a file larger than 4GB to a FAT32 storage device.

FAT32 Info

However, although it has a size limit for files and now we have NTFS to break this limit, FAT32 is the only format that Windows PCs, Mac computers, and many mobile systems can read.

So, many SD cards and USBs are usually formatted as FAT32, and that’s the reason why users can’t transfer files larger than 4GB to SD card.

How to transfer files larger than 4GB to SD card/USB

To break the size limit of FAT32, we can format FAT32 to NTFS. But, there are some points you need to know at first:

◤ 1. Formatting will cause data loss, so, if you choose to format the target device, please backup all data.

◤ 2. If you’re going to use the SD card on Android, you may utilize the exFAT format, which removes size limitations and is far better suited for flash storage.

We also offer you solutions that can convert FAT32 without formatting, so you can choose the most suitable ways.

After you connect the SD card to the computer, we can start!

Part 1. Format FAT32 drive to transfer files larger than 4GB to SD card (data loss)

Way 1. Use File Explorer

Windows File Explorer is a convenient solution since it is incorporated into the operating system and does not require installation.

Step 1. Open “This PC” to open it.

Step 2. Right-click on the connected SD card, USB drive, or any removable disk and choose “Format”.


Step 3. From the list, choose the type you need, and click “Start”.

File system

Step 4. You’ll receive a warning, click “OK” to continue.


Way 2. Use Disk Management

Disk Management also allows users to format local and external drives, even a RAW drive.

Step 1. Right-click “This PC/My Computer” and choose “Manage” > “Disk Management”.

Step 2. Right-click on the connected USB drive or SD card and choose “Format”.

Step 3. Choose NTFS as the target file system and click OK.

Format via Disk Management

Part 2. Convert FAT32 without format to transfer files larger than 4GB (data safe)

Besides the format, you can also change the file system from FAT32 to other types directly. The operation won’t cause data loss.

Way 1. Convert to NTFS via CMD

CMD has an order to help users convert FAT32 to NTFS.

Step 1: Press “Windows” and “R” to open the Run box, input ''cmd'' and hit on ''enter'' to open Command Prompt.

Step 2: In the pop-out window, type command ''convert drive letter: /fs:ntfs''.

Convert to NTFS via CMD

Way 2. Convert FAT32 via a file system converter

Although CMD can help you convert FAT32 to NTFS, you’re not allowed to go back to FAT32. If you want to flexibly convert file systems when you need them, you can turn to AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard which is a free disk and partition management tool for Windows 11/10/8/8.1/7/XP. The function of the conversion of file system allows you to convert to NTFS.

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant. Right-click the FAT32 drive you need to convert, choose “Advanced” and then click ''Convert to NTFS''.

Convert file system

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


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


Then your drive is the NTFS file system. AOMEI Partition Assistant also allows you to format a drive to exFAT, Ext2, Ext3, and Ext4.

Further tip: Use a tool to quickly move large files to SD card/USB

After we show you how to format and convert to NTFS to break the size limit of FAT32, you can transfer files larger than 4GB to SD card or USB drive now.

If you need to move some folders but the system still does not allow you to do it, don’t worry, AOMEI Partition Assistant can also offer you help. Its “Move Folder” function can move the entire folder from one drive to another drive, and if you need, you can even move installed programs or games to the target drive without reinstalling.

Tip: Please upgrade to the Professional Edition to employ these 2 functions.

Step 1. On the main interface, click “Free up” in the top toolbar and select “APP Mover” to enter the main interface of this function.

App Mover

Step 2. In this window, select “Move Folders”.

Two Options

Step 3. Then select the folder you want to move and choose your SD card or USB as the new location. Then click “Move”.


Step 4. Click "OK" in the warning, and "Finish" to end the moving.


Ending lines

These are solutions about how to transfer files larger than 4GB to SD card and USB. If you need to copy large files to FAT32 without formatting, we suggest you choose the methods in Part 2, they are data-safe.

Besides the features we show in this post, AOMEI Partition Assistant can also delete large files to release free space, migrate OS without reinstalling, convert to GPT/MBR without data loss, disk speed test, and many helpful functions to help you manage your PC. If you need, you can go to the Server Edition to organize your Server.

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.