Due to the FAT32 file size limit, you are likely to get a “file too large” warning message when transferring a large file to a FAT32 storage device. But don’t worry. This article will show you the FAT32 max file size and the workarounds to break the limit. Please read on.

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Michelle Michelle | Feb 20, 2023

What is FAT32 and the FAT32 File Size Limit?

FAT32 is the most compatible file system for organizing data on a disc drive like a USB flash drive, SD card, microSD card, etc. It is the advanced version of the FAT file system with more efficient space allocation. Yet, it’s losing its edges because of the FAT32 file size limit. While the maximum partition size for FAT32 is 2TB (32GB for Windows systems), the file size for a single file is capped at 4GB, meaning you cannot transfer files over 4GB to a FAT32 device.

Unfortunately, there is no way to increase the FAT32 4GB limit. But workarounds do exist. As there are other file systems like exFAT and NTFS with much bigger max file sizes, you can convert FAT32 into one of these file system formats to bypass the FAT32 file size limit. But if the new file system is incompatible with your device, you can choose to compress or split the large files into smaller files (less than 4GB) to store on a FAT32 drive. Let’s learn more details about the FAT32 max file size workarounds below.

How to Copy Video File Over 4GB to FAT32?

Cannot transfer a movie to your FAT32 drive because of the 4GB file size limit? No worries. WonderFox Free HD Video Converter Factory presents an easy way to reduce the file size of your video from GB to MB so you can overcome the FAT32 file size limit. Meanwhile, it can efficiently compress video files with high quality preserved. All videos are supported without size limit or watermark. Download this free video compressor to have a try now!

How to Bypass the 4GB Limitation on FAT32?

Method 1. Reformat FAT32 into NTFS or Other File Systems

NTFS is a newer file system supporting larger drives and larger files. By converting FAT32 to NTFS, you should have no problem copying large files over 4GB to your flash drive. But keep in mind that NTFS is compatible with fewer devices than FAT32. You’d better check whether your target device supports NTFS before you make the conversion.

Here are the steps to reformat FAT32 to NTFS. But before start, please back up data in advance in case of any data loss (IMPORTANT).

Step 1. On Windows, right-click your FAT32 disk drive and select Format option.

Step 2. Select NTFS in the File system drop-down box.

Step 3. Click Start.

Reformat FAT32 into NTFS

If your device does not support NTFS but FAT32, you are left with only one option which is to reduce the file size of your large file so it can be transferred to a FAT32 device. There are two ways to reduce the file size to less than the FAT32 max file size.

Method 2. Split Files using File Archivers

Some file archivers, such as WinRAR and7-zip, allow you to split the file into multi-part archive files with smaller size. Here, we will take WinRAR as an example.

Step 1. Download the latest version of WinRAR to your computer.

Step 2. Right-click on the large file you wish to split and select Add to archive.

Step 3. In the new window, set the archive format as RAR and then choose a compression method. Next, in the “Split to volumes, size” section, set the size you want to split the file into. For example, you can split the file into 2 GB chunks.

Step 4. Click OK to start the splitting process. The split files should be able to be moved to your FAT32 drive without a problem.

Split File using WinRAR

Method 3. Compress Large Videos to Less than 4 GB

If you want to copy a large movie file to FAT32 to play on a TV or other device, you are suggested to compress the video file instead of splitting the file into unplayable RAR files.

The video compression task is easy, and all we need is a free video compressor like WonderFox Free HD Video Converter Factory. The software provides customizable settings that you can use to shrink the large video file size from several GBs to be small enough to transfer to a FAT32 device. Meanwhile, it can keep a pretty decent video quality.

There is no size or length restriction and no watermark is embedded with the freeware. Without further ado, let’s free download free download the video compressor and follow the simple steps to convert a large video file to a small size.

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Step 1. Launch Free HD Video Converter Factory on your Windows. On the home interface, select the Converter program.

Step 2. In the converter, click Add Files or the center + button to import your large video file into the conversion list.

Add File

Step 3. Press the format image on the right side of the program to unfold the output format list. Then, head to the Video section and choose your preferred video format.

Tip. It is recommended that you choose H264 as it is a universal video format with high efficiency. If your device supports HEVC/H265 codec, you have better options - H265 for MP4 and H265 for MKV. These two profiles can halve the file size compared with using H264, and the video remains high quality.

When you return to the main workplace, you can see the estimated output file size on the right side of the video task.

Set Output Format

Step 4. If the file size is still larger than 4 GB, you can open the Parameter settings. Then, change the video bitrate, frame rate, and resolution to a lower value.

Tip. The original parameter settings can be seen by clicking the information button ⓘ in the video task.

Step 4. When you get your wanted output file size, click the bottom triangle button to set an output folder and press Run to start the video compression process.

Compress Large Video to be Less than 4GB

Note. If you have multiple video files, you can upgrade the program to the Pro version and use the batch compression button to batch compress files in one go.

FAQs of FAT32 Max File Size

1. Why is FAT32 Limited to 4GB Per File?

The FAT32 file system uses a 32-bit field to store file size in bytes. And 2^32 bytes is around 4 GB (4 GB minus one byte in precise). Therefore, the largest file on FAT32 cannot exceed 4 GB.

2. How to Convert FAT32 to exFAT?

Open the File Explorer on your Windows. Next, right-click on your FAT32 drive and select the Format option. In the popup window, change the file system from FAT32 to exFAT. Then click Start.

Wrap Up

We have just introduced three ways to overcome FAT32 size limit. In a word, you can convert FAT32 to NTFS or another supporting file system to bypass the FAT32 max file size limit. But the only way to put files larger than 4GB on a FAT32 storage device is to reduce the size of the large files. And this is also the only way to copy large file to FAT32 without converting to NTFS.

We hope this article has helped you to copy/transfer file larger than 4GB to FAT32. Thanks for reading. Have a wonderful day!

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