File size limit Fat32, NTFS

For some unknown reason I was caught trying to transfer a 4.2Gb file from a WInXP laptop to a WinXP desktop. I went via my trusty Mac, since I needed a machine with a DVD burner to create a backup of the file.

Creating the DVD was, naturally, a piece of cake. Getting it onto the desktop of the PC was not.

Why, oh why, oh why….

It wouldn’t go, no matter what. Every time I tried I got a ‘not enough space’ warning. Even when I opened the DVD it showed the file size as 2Gb and not the full 4+GB it was showing as on the Mac.


The XP laptop was installed on a NTFS partition. On the desktop it was on a FAT32 partition.

’nuff said.

2 thoughts on “File size limit Fat32, NTFS

  • 23 September, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    Fat32 can not do 4gig plus files.

  • 23 September, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    Thanks for that Thomass… that is exactly what the post was about – we couldn’t move the file to the desktop machine from the laptop because the desktop machine was formatted as FAT32. As you rightly point out, FAT32 doesn’t support files that size, but NTFS does, which is why the file could exist on the laptop in the first place – the laptop was formatted as NTFS.

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