Help with "can't be copied because it is too large for the volumes format"

LMR80

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 1, 2016
62
3
hey,

I'm trying to copy over a 4GB file from my Mac Pro into a flash drive to use on a Windows machine.


As you'll all be aware there can be issues with format when using a flash drive in both a Mac machine and a Windows one, and for some reason I'm getting the message in the title if the file is over 4gb when copying.
I presume this to be because the current format only allows for files under a Certain size to be copied to it.
however, I'm wary about formatting the flash drive to a different format that supports larger copying capabilities, because I don't know how that's going to fair when I plug it into the Windows machine.

I'll be able to copy the file, yes, but then I don't know whether it'll work when I want to put that file on the laptop.
Any ideas?

Thanks a lot.
 

JohnDS

macrumors 65816
Oct 25, 2015
1,183
248
Your flash drive is probably formatted as FAT32 which has a 4GB file size limit. Reformat it as ExFAT which does not have such a limit and is compatible with Macs and with Win7 and newer Windows operating systems. (ExFat won't work with WinXP.)
 

T'hain Esh Kelch

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2001
5,172
4,732
Denmark
Alternatively, NTFS, which is more stable than ExFAT. This does require you to install a driver on macOS though, as it can only read from NTFS drives as standard.
 

dwig

macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2015
696
280
Key West FL
Your flash drive is probably formatted as FAT32 which has a 4GB file size limit. Reformat it as ExFAT which does not have such a limit and is compatible with Macs and with Win7 and newer Windows operating systems. (ExFat won't work with WinXP.)
exFAT is the way to go provided the Windows computer will be running Win XPsp3 with the exFAT update or newer (Vista, Win7, ...). It is also supported on MacOS starting with 10.6.5.

exFAT does have a max filesize limit, but it is much much larger than any drives currently made. NTFS is a better format, by design, but Mac support is limited (native support is read only) and many of the 3rd party addin drivers are problematic. There is no real advantage to using NTFS for the OP's purpose.
 

LMR80

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 1, 2016
62
3
Thanks for the tips everyone, what you said worked great. And I learned something new to boot!
 

iPhoneAndTechReviews

macrumors newbie
Apr 21, 2018
5
0
When I transferred the format to ExFat, my SD cards and USB sticks keep on getting corrupted and it will never work again.
 

goblin17

macrumors newbie
Dec 10, 2019
1
0
You could always use the "old fashion" method. From the command line, you can split a file into many pieces to make it easier to transport. From a command line, try something like:

$ split -b 800m FileThatIsToo.Large

When you are ready to recombine the files, use cat. E.g.

$ cat xaa xab xac xad xae > FileThatIsToo.Large
 
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