Cannot Copy Larger Files to External HD. Any Ideas How to Solve the Issue?

Does this situation seem similar to you? A macOS High Sierra user has a couple of files that he or she wants to add to the external HD. For instance, it is formatted in Fat32 and has 400 GB free. The first file weighs 3.8 GB while the second one is 2.2GB. Yet, none of them agrees to copy as the user obtains a message telling that the items are too big for the volume’s format. At the same time, this user may have files of up to 4GB stored on the external drive. What is a proper, sober solution to this problem?

Simplest Workaround

Arguably, the easiest workaround in such situation would be using a third-party app. This approach will suit anyone: from a newbie to the experienced Apple computer user. One of the such-like applications is Sync Folders Pro. It is special software for manual and automatic backups to external storage devices. With it, anyone can handle the described issue. You just need to fine-tune it to sync your files on the computer with the connected external hard drive.

What about the Format?

Mind that the format you select for your Mac’s hard drive depends on what you plan to use it for.

Let’s say, the main purpose is to apply it as a Time Machine backup drive. It refers to storing the entire personal data on a separate drive to retrieve it later. Thus, you have to format the drive as HFS+ (Journaled). On the other side, it will be no longer possible to use this on, for instance, Windows personal computer without setting up additional commercial applications on it.

In case a Mac owner has a desire to apply it as a hard drive that will be accessible for both Apple computers and other devices, there are two available alternatives:

  1. Format it as FAT32. It is a format, which can be viewed by basically each computer and another type of device nowadays. Still, this format can cope with items that weigh less than 4 gigabytes. In the situation when the user tries to add something of a larger size on FAT32, the clone will fail. Thus, each Mac owner should think whether he/she wishes to include really huge items on their drives (large videos, audio tracks, or camera images, for instance), it is not a good idea to come up with the FAT32 drive.
  2. You may decide to leave NTFS format. Then, install the necessary stuff here. NTFS-3G stands for the extra NTFS write capability to Mac OS X. It means a Mac owner can apply it just like a FAT32 drive. Please keep in mind a commercial edition offered by Tuxera and some other developers exist on the market. It works a bit quicker. If you are an average Apple user, the free edition should be more than enough.
  3. Try Paragon driver to read/write Microsoft NTFS files on your Mac.

Do not forget that you should watch the storage of your external hard drive. Make sure it has the sufficient amount of space before each attempt to clone some big files to it.