Have you come across the terms "NTFS" or "FAT32"? Even if you haven't at one point or another encountered a "File is too large for the destination filesystem" error message for every Windows user.
This error message may not be your flash drive's fault. Your flash drive may be formatted with the wrong file system.
Read on to learn more about file systems and find out which file systems are best for Windows 10.
What are file systems?
File systems represent how data is stored on a storage device. This is software that enables an operating system to organize data and use storage space more efficiently.
Imagine having a well-organized closet to better understand the file systems.
In a cabinet there are different compartments for different things. There is a specific place for shirts, a place for shoes and a place for pants. They know the organization so well that every time you bring a new shirt home, you know where to put it in your closet.
This is exactly what file systems do to your data. When you save something, be it a movie or a video game, to a storage device, the computer knows where the file is being moved thanks to the file system. File systems ensure order and minimize the loss of storage space through the logical organization of the data.
Different operating systems use different file systems. For example, Windows uses NTFS, while Macs require internal storage devices to be formatted in Mac OS Extended File System or HFS +.
In addition, external storage devices such as flash drives and SD cards are often formatted to FAT32 or exFAT.
File Allocation Table (FAT)
File Allocation Table (FAT) has been around since 1977. Originally, FAT was used for floppy disks. Windows began using FAT under DOS and several early versions of Windows.
Over the years, FAT has gone through many major revisions, such as: B. increasing the maximum supported partition and file sizes. The most popular version of FAT is FAT32, which is still used for almost all small capacity flash drives.
So if you have a 4, 16 or 32 GB flash drive or SD card, it is more than likely that the manufacturer formatted it with FAT32. This is exactly where the "The file is too large for the target filesystem" error comes into play.
FAT32 does not support files larger than 4 GB. In other words, if you want to transfer a full length 4K movie to your FAT32 flash drive, you will see the above error.
FAT32 also does not support storage capacities greater than 32 GB.
Even so, FAT32 is still the most widely used file system due to its extensive operating system compatibility. It just works with everything from Windows to Linux.
So if you have a flash drive with less than 32GB of storage, format it with FAT32.
New technology file system (NTFS)
Microsoft developed the New Technology File System (NTFS) in 1993 to overcome the limitations of FAT32. For example, if FAT32 only supports a maximum file size of 32 GB, NTFS supports a maximum file size of 16 EB (exabytes).
A typical HD movie is 1GB in size to illustrate how massive 1EB is. You can store around 1000 such movies on a 1 TB hard drive. And you can store 1,000,000 TB on a 1EB hard drive.
Hence, NTFS supports a practically unlimited maximum file size. NTFS offers a few other advantages over FAT32.
First, NTFS can track changes to a file. In the event of a sudden power failure or file corruption, NTFS prevents data loss.
Second, NTFS also supports encryption and read-only permissions on files. So you can encrypt your files with a password or make them read-only to avoid changes.
All of these features make NTFS the preferred file system for Windows. In addition, Windows can only be installed on an NTFS-formatted drive.
Unfortunately, older versions of Windows and older Linux distributions do not support NTFS. And macOS only supports NTFS as a read-only file system.
If you want to install Windows on a storage drive such as a flash drive, format it with NTFS. Otherwise use FAT32 or exFAT.
Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT)
Microsoft introduced the Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT) in 2006. It should replace FAT32 for high capacity flash drives and SD cards.
exFAT removes the file size limitations of FAT32 while maintaining excellent operating system compatibility. It supports a maximum file size of 16EB. In other words, unlike FAT32, there will be no error when transferring a file of 4GB or more.
Since it supports an unlimited maximum file capacity and is compatible with a wide variety of operating systems, exFAT is the standard file system for SDXC cards that you use in cameras.
In other words, all SDXC cards are formatted with exFAT.
So, if you have a high capacity flash drive of 32GB or more (or an SD card), format it with exFAT.
Formatting a flash drive with an exFAT file system
Before formatting your flash drive, remember that formatting will erase all data from the dive. So make a backup of your data before proceeding.
To format a flash drive with an exFAT file system, connect the drive to your computer. Right click the drive icon and select format from the drop-down list.
If the Format drive Box appears, click on File system and select exFAT from the list. Choose Quick format under Format options if it is not already selected.
Finally click on begin and then continue OK.
File systems organize data, but there are no standard systems
File systems organize data, but there are no standards in the industry. Different operating systems prefer different file systems. If you use different operating systems on a daily basis, it is better to stick to the standard operating systems recommended by the manufacturer.
On the other hand, there are times when companies do something wrong. So don't be afraid to tinker with different file systems if you think they can make a difference in your workflow.
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About the author
(5 articles published)
By Fawad Murtaza
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