Oct 14, 2015  When doing so, I get 'the item 'Install OS X El Capitan' can't be copied because it is too large for the volume's format' My target drive is a shared ReFS drive that has a few TB free. The 'fix' I've seen online is to format the target with the Mac file system, but. On OSX, I'm trying to copy a 7GB file to an external drive whose format is MS-DOS(FAT32), and am getting the Can't be copied because it is too large for the volume's format. Oct 15, 2015  File too large for volume format. WD External Drives. External Drives for Mac. October 15, 2015, 1:30am #1. I’m trying to move larger video files to my WD 4Tb and I got this message “The item “Emily 2nd bday, Nova Scotia” can’t be copied because it is too large for the volume’s format”.

Format large Fat32 volumes in Panther 18 comments Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'Format large Fat32 volumes in Panther' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.

Cannot Be Copied Because It Is Too Large For The Volume's Format Mac

I could have sworn that Disk Utility lets you format volumes as 'MS-DOS format', which is in fact FAT32. Check out the 'Volume Format' menu choices in the Erase tab.

In Apple's DISK UTILITY, if you take one extra step, it should work for most devices that need to see a FAT 32 HDD ... this works on a 500GB and 1 TB HDD ...
Select Partition with ERASE tab in Disc Utility - Select 1 Partition, then bring up ADVANCED and select the FAT 32 Choice and mounting as a DOS selection. Then Select FAT 32 as the Partition choice.
ERASE/PARTITION - should work.

It is also untrue that WinXP cannot create FAT32 volumes greater than 32 GB. Of course it can.

Too large for the volume

According to the MS support website, you cannot format a partition larger than 32 GB in XP, though it is able to support partitions larger than 32 GB.

Disk Management only lets you create FAT32 partitions up to 32GB; anything larger must/should be NTFS.
The only way to create a larger FAT32 partition within XP is to use 3rd party formatting tool.

Actually, no, by default windows XP will not let you format any drive over 32Gb on Fat32, you have to get a utility to do it. you cant even do it in dos, here's the printout if you try.
C:>format I: /fs:fat32 /q
The type of the file system is FAT32.
Enter current volume label for drive I: MyCrap
Proceed with Format (Y/N)? y
QuickFormatting 76319M
The volume is too big for FAT32.

Be very careful with fdisk! It will do EXACTLY what you ask it to do, even if you ask it to destroy your data. One typo can ruin your whole day.
Disk Utility is a much better choice unless it is completely incapable of doing what you need.

FAT32 can't store file larger then 4GB-1, which makes it pretty much useless for me because I cannot save DVD images or large backups on it. So I just bought macdrive and installed it on all my windows boxes - not that flexible, but now I can read/write HFS+ volumes right from windows and it's freaking fast with firewire drives (faster then PowerBook G4 1Ghz, to be honest) plus you get an access to mac formated iPods from windows. Apple should distribute this program as part of Mac OS X and iPods :)

Have you had any problems since installing MacDrive? A coworker of mine has it on his XP box, and ever since, his AV software has failed to download and install updates. Just wondering if you'd encountered any odd side effects of using the MacDrive software.

I don't have an XP, only windows 2000 and with this system macdrive never created a single problem for me. I'm using it with two different firewire drives (with different bridging controllers) and iPod. If you have doubts I'd suggest to download a trial version and try it.

In addition to this problem noted, also be aware that other version of OS X, namely 10.2.x, cannot mount a FAT32 formatted disc with a volume larger than 128GB; anything larger will not mount.
If drive is used on an OS 9 system, there can be data corruption on any volume larger than 32GB.

Um, why not simply format it as MS-DOS format in Disk Utility? I know in older versions of OS X, this would only format as FAT16, but in 10.3.4 at least, MS-DOS format formats as FAT32.

Do you have to use the command line to get disk utility to format MS-DOS? In the GUI version of Disk Utility for 10.3.4 there are only the options of Mac OS Extended and Mac OS Extended (Journaled) in the format menu.

I did some benchmarking of FAT32 compared with HFS+ which are available here.
There is a performance hit for FAT32 compared with HFS+. Copying about 1G of 10mb files takes 90 seconds on HFS and 167 seconds on FAT32. Writing to FAT32 partitions appears to be much slower but reading is pretty close.

It's all nice being able to format large FAT volumes but how are can I mount one? I have a 30GB drive with a USB interface which must be FAT formatted (It reads memory cards and stores them on it's disc) and my PowerBook just won't mount it. When I plug it in, an icon comes up after some time and I can look at the drive but when I try to copy anything from it, I never get a progress dialog and nothing ever happens until I pull the plug.

Hi, this was a very helpful hint for me. Also, notice that you can use disk utility to partition the disk, and only newfs the partition you want (you don't have to make the entire disk fat32, I like to have an HFS+ partition as well).
Also, I couldn't get the partition to mount following the instructions. Finally I tried
$ mkdir Desktop/pcdisk
$ mount_msdos /dev/disk1s7 Desktop/pcdisk/
you must be running as root to load modules into the kernel
mount_msdos: msdos filesystem is not available
$ sudo mount_msdos /dev/disk1s7 Desktop/pcdisk/
kextload: /System/Library/Extensions/msdosfs.kext loaded successfully
which worked, and explains why I couldn't get Disk Utility to mount the volume: the msdos filesystem kernel module was not loaded. This has the disadvantage that automounter is not taking care of the mounting and dismounting, when I'm done, I will want to remove the mount directory and such. I was hoping that after doing the above step I could unmount and then get disk utility to mount it properly, now that the kernel module was loaded, but no such luck.

the first part of my comment above doesn't work. If you partition the drive with your mac, the PC won't be able to read it. I suspect something about incompatible partition tables. I have only been able to make the PC read the drive if I format the entire drive as 1 FAT partition.

This tip didn't work for me. The 's#' suffix number was different for me, some other stuff went wrong, but anyway I didn't investigate much further.
I CAME HERE because I was a bit too slow to figure out how Disk Utility was supposed to do it and eventually concluded it couldn't do MS DOS/FAT format... I kept clicking on my volume (which was the problem) and it didn't give the option to format with MS-DOS, the FAT32 option.
If anyone else is as peculiarly challenged as me and thinks there isn't much of a difference between Disks and Volumes, know that in order to format large FAT32 disks, you have to click on the *Disk*, which is the mother node that says '##.# GB QAZWSX123 Media', not the Volume below it, with your much more euphonic volume label on it. And voila, there's the MS DOS option. And a lot of other things I was missing.
Hope this helps.

Updated on July 11th, 2017

This article discusses “The volume is too big for FAT32” error, telling why and when this volume too big error occurs and how to format large HDD to FAT32 step by step.

If you format a large partition or USB hard drive to FAT32 file system under Windows, you can only see NTFS or exFAT in the drop list for file system section. Windows can format a disk which is larger than 32GB to FAT32 with DOS command prompt. However, if the hard drive is 1TB or larger, the formatting will give error “The volume is too big for FAT32”.


Most computer users own more than one hard drives or external drives. Though it’s recommended to format disk into NTFS, some users still want to format removable disk to FAT32 in order to transfer files from Mac.

Here is a real story told by customers:

“I’ tried formatting my 500GB external hard drive to FAT32 so that I can use it on PS3. I tried on Windows 7 computer, but FAT32 is not available. I googled this issue online. All advise to format hard disk with command prompt. But that didn’t work and gave error ‘The volume is too big for FAT32’ after it hit 90 percent. Is there other solution out there that can help me?”

  • FAT32 is flexible and robust file system providing enhancements over previous FAT file system, and yet it has a couple of limitations. This part explains limitations existing in FAT32 file system with Windows operating system, which can account for the volume too big issue.
  • Clusters can’t be larger than 64KB; otherwise some application won’t be able to calcite disk space correctly.
  • A FAT32 volume must contain at least 65,527 clusters. Users can’t increase cluster size on a volume using FAT32 file system format so that clusters is less than 65,527.
  • The maximum possible cluster number on a FAT32 volume is 268,435,445. There is a maximum of 32KB per cluster with the space demanded for file allocation table. Thus the maximum disk size is about 8TB.
  • Users can’t decrease cluster size for FAT32 volume, hence FAT size is larger than 16MB less 64KB.
  • You can’t format a volume whose size is larger than 32GB using FAT32 file system in Windows. If you want to format a volume larger than 32GB, use NTFS file system. Note: if you try the formatting, the process will fail in the end with error: Logical Disk Manager: Volume size too big.
  • A file larger than 4GB can be created or stored on a FAT32 volume. If you copy a file larger than 4GB, you’ll get error “File is too large for the destination file system”.

There are several methods to format HDD or USB to FAT32 even when it is larger than 32GB. You can use either Command Prompt or third-party FAT32 format tool to change file system to FAT32. If you are not comfortable using command line, the format tool is a good choice, as it is more easy to use. In this guide, we are going to use format using both Command Prompt and FAT32 formatter.

Important: Formatting a drive will erase all data, thus please back up all data before formatting your disk.

Method 1: Format USB / HDD to FAT32 with Command Prompt

  1. Open Command Prompt. Click Start button and type cmd in searing box. Right click the item in the searching result and select Run as administrator. Windows users can open it by right-clicking Start menu and select “Command Prompt (Admin)”. If you are prompted to provide password or confirmation, then enter password or click OK.
  2. type the command format /FS:FAT32 G: and hit Enter key. In this command, the letter G is the drive letter of the disk you want to format and it may be other letters on your computer. Replace G with the correct drive letter which can be seen in Windows Explorer. Make sure correct drive letter is entered here; otherwise the process will format wrong partition.
  3. Confirm formatting by typing Y. It’ll prompt with information “All data on non-removable disk drive will be lost! Proceed with Format”.
  4. Wait for the formatting to complete. The process may take some time, which mainly depends on operating system and disk speed. However, if the process is too slow and you don’t want to wait, you can try the solution on Method 2.

Can't Be Copied Because It Is Too Large For The Volume's Format Mac

Method 2: Format disk with free FAT32 format tool

File Cannot Be Copied Because It Is Too Large For The Volume's Format Mac

PartitionGuru is powerful and free partition manger which allows you to format hard drive and USB drives to FAT32, exFAT, NTFS or Ext4 in Windows XP/vista/7/8/10. With this format tool you can perform quick or slow format, set cluster size, specify drive letter, etc. The easy-to-use UI makes formatting and easier task.

Too Large For The Volume's Format Mac Fix

  1. Connect the disk to be formatted to a Windows-based computer.
  2. Download, install and launch Eassos PartitionGuru Free. If it is run from your computer for the first time, check option “I have read and agreed the license agreements of this product” and click OK.
  3. Locate and select the volume you want to format and right-click it to select “Format Current Partition”.
  4. Select FAT32 from the drop-down list and click Format button. As to cluster size you can use the defaulted value if you do not have special requirement.
  5. Click Yes on the message box saying “Are you want to format the partition (or volume)? All files on this partition will be lost. Select Yes to continue.” Wait for a second and the formatting completes.
Coments are closed
Scroll to top