How To Fix The Item Can Not Be Copied Because It Is Too Large For The Volume’s Format When Copy File From MacOS To USB Disk

When I copy an iso file from macOS to a USB disk, I meet Item Can Not Be Copied Because It Is Too Large For The Volume’s Format error message like below. This article will tell you how to fix this error.


1. Why It Is Too Large For The Volume’s Format.

The reason for this error is because the USB disk format is windows dos format, such as fat32. The dos format disk max single file size is 4 GB. So when the copied file is large than 4 GB, then the error will happen.

We can find the USB disk format use the macOS disk utility tool.

  1. Click Finder —> Applications —> Utilities —> Disk Utility to open the disk utility tool.
  2. Click the USB disk in the left panel, then you can see the disk volume format is MS-DOS(FAT32) in the right panel.

2. How To Fix It Is Too Large For The Volume’s Format Error.

To fix this error, you need to reformat the USB disk with a macOS disk format such as Mac OS Extend(Journaled). But if you want to use the USB disk to transfer a big file from macOS to Windows, you need to reformat it with ExFAT format, otherwise, Windows will not recognize the disk format and need to format it when you plug the USB disk into PC.

  1. Select the USB disk in the macOS Disk Utility tool, please note, you should select the disk carefully, do not select the main disk.
  2. Before erasing the USB disk, you need to back up the existing data to a safe place in your computer, this is very important, because the erasing will remove all the data in the USB disk.
  3. Then click Erase icon at the top menu bar, and select Mac OS Extended ( Journaled ) disk format or ExFAT disk format in the dropdown list. Click the Erase button to reformat the USB disk. The ExFAT disk format support 16EB (BILLION TB) data size and it is supported by multiple OS ( Windows, Linux, macOS ), so with this disk format, you can transfer the files between different operating system.
  4. When the reformat process complete, you can copy the big file from macOS to the USB disk.

3. Format The USB Disk With ExFAT Format On Windows.

  1. Besides format the USB disk to ExFAT disk format on macOS, you can also do it on Windows.
  2. Connect your USB disk to a PC.
  3. Open file explorer in Windows, and right-click the USB disk on the Windows explorer left side.
  4. Click Format menu item in the popup menu list.
  5. Select exFAT disk format in the File system drop-down list.
  6. Click the Start button to format it. When the format process complete, you can use it to transfer big file ( larger than 4 GB ) between macOS and Windows.
    format usb drive in windows
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And now I can’t use it for the Wii. Windows lets you put large files on FAT32, why not macOS?

Harry Pollard
Harry Pollard

My USB disk has totally 64GB size, it is a USB 3.0 drive. It can be used to copy files. But today when I copy a file which is 8GB size to the USB drive, it prompt the error message which said the item can not be copied because it is too large for the volume’s format. But my USB disk has totally about 35GB free disk space. This confused my a lot of times. I am very lucky to find this post, and it help me to fix the issue, thanks for the writer.


Hi! When doing this, will the existing data on my hard-disk will be erased?

Alicia Alvarado
Alicia Alvarado

it worked for me too

thank you


Thank you!! I was dealing with this sometime, but today, I said no more, I told my kid about to and he said about the DOS formatting and copy function limitation and told me reformat the drive, , I wasn’t sure so I googled it and I found you, and yes it worked, and he told me and you mentioned here.

Noah Broyles
Noah Broyles

Thank you! I wish I didn’t have to reformat my SD card though.

Christian Ward
Christian Ward
Reply to  Noah Broyles

me too im looking for a way to doo this without formatting

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