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James Serra's Blog

James is a big data and data warehousing technology specialist at Microsoft. He is a thought leader in the use and application of Big Data technologies, including MPP solutions involving hybrid technologies of relational data, Hadoop, and private and public cloud. Previously he was an independent consultant working as a Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence architect and developer. He is a prior SQL Server MVP with over 30 years of IT experience. James is a popular blogger ( and speaker, having presented at dozens of PASS events including the PASS Business Analytics conference and the PASS Summit. He is the author of the book “Reporting with Microsoft SQL Server 2012”. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

Problem copying large files to a USB flash drive?

I thought I would write a quick blog on a problem I see frequently: You try to copy a large file, such as the iso image of SQL Server, to a USB flash drive, and get the error message “There is not enough free space on the drive”.  But you know you have plenty of free space.  What is going on?

The answer is simple: your flash drive is formatted with the FAT32 file system.  This type of file system has a built-in limitation where the size of each individual file may not exceed 4GB.

The solution is simple: you need to replace the FAT32 file system on the drive with the NTFS file system, which does not have the 4GB file size limitation.  Simply format the USB flash drive with the NTFS file system.  Alternately, you can use a program like WinZip to split the large file into multiple smaller files.

More info:

Why can’t I copy large files over 4GB to my USB flash drive?

Why Can’t I Copy a Large File Despite Having Larger Free Space?

Transferring file higher than 4GB in FAT32 file system / Splitting a large file into smaller size files

Can’t copy File larger than 4GB on USB drive,Here is Solution


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