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

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by LMR80, Oct 12, 2016.

  1. LMR80 macrumors member

    Jul 1, 2016

    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.
  2. JohnDS macrumors 65816

    Oct 25, 2015
    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.)
  3. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    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.
  4. dwig macrumors 6502a

    Jan 4, 2015
    Key West FL
    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.
  5. LMR80 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 1, 2016
    Thanks for the tips everyone, what you said worked great. And I learned something new to boot!
  6. iPhoneAndTechReviews macrumors newbie


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

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5 October 12, 2016