250gb External Drive Stating it Has a 4gb Disk Limit

I recently purchased a 250gb WD Passport to back up the hard drive on my aging system and after reading the scant instructions and then loading the backup utility on my XP disc, I attempted to back up my drive at least a half dozen times, only to get an error message about 4gb being the memory limit. This is a screen cap of my last attempt at 2:00 this morning if it helps any,

What am I doing wrong? The backup wizard is almost fully automatic, so I have no real control of the process and have no idea what the deal is.

Sounds like IIRC its running a FAT16 file system which was capped at 4GB, the file system does not know how to address a larger drive. Is this like a windows 95/98 machine? The BIOS on many older machines also have caps on how large of a drive they recognize.

Linky no worky.

The screenshot (fixed link) suggests that it’s an XP machine. And it’s not a drive size issue; it’s a file size issue.

Aesiron, you should format the new hard drive as NTFS, which will allow you to circumvent the problem of the 4Gb limit on file sizes. Did your new drive come with a formatting utility? If not, you should be able to format it by doing the following:

  • connecting the drive to your computer
  • go to My Computer
  • right-click on the icon for the new drive, and select Format from the context menu
  • from the choices available, select NTFS

Obviously, this will wipe everything you’ve already put on the drive, but you can then start your backup again and it should work.

Working link.

The maximum file size on a FAT32 disk is 4GB. If the XP backup program (which I assume you’re using) doesn’t split the file at that point, you’re going to get that error message.

The backup program may possibly be able to generate multiple files under 4GB (I don’t use it so I’m not sure).
If you don’t plan on using this disk with old Win 9x PCs, you could reformat the disk using NTFS, which effectivly has no file size limit.

4 Gig is one of the file system limits that had to be overcome as hardware grew exponentially in size. It may be the disk partition is formated in a format with size limits, the backup software was designed before the 4 Gig size was a problem, or a the bios won’t access larger drives. Is the drive mounted internally or using an external drive interface. Some Os have file size limits where the file can be no larger than 4G. XP can save files larger than 4G so it’s not the operating system.

It sounds like the backup is complaining about the file size limit rather than the drive size.

First off, your link’s a little broken:

I’d do this:

  1. Hook up the drive.
  2. Go to “My Computer” (well, ok, “Computer” based on your desktop screenshot), right-click the external drive and go to “Properties”.
  3. Check the “File System” property on the external drive. If it’s FAT32, then the largest size file that can be stored is 4 GB (although it supports drives capacity up to 2 Terabytes).

From there, I can think of two options. First, can the backup utility “span” the backup across multiple files? If you can pick a “max size”, pick around 3-4GB.

The second option is to reformat the external drive to use NTFS, which can support files up to the capacity of the drive. Make sure there’s nothing on the drive you want to keep. Then, from “My Computer”, right-click on the drive, select “Format…”, and select “NTFS” in the “File system” drop-down. You might be able to select “Quick format” to speed things up, although I’m not 100% sure if that’s going to be an option when switching the type of file system.

And on preview, what Nanoda said. And he/she remembered that NTFS won’t be able to be read by Win 9x machines, which I didn’t think to mention.

sciguy, Nanoda: FAT32 supports volumes much larger than 4GB, (32Gb or 128GB, depending on what tool you use to format it). cite

FAT16 is the one that’s limited to 4GB (and pretty much completely obsolete). Even Windows 98 could read a FAT32 volume, and I’m pretty sure even 95 can be patched to do so.

I think you’re missing the point – the problem appears to be the file size, not the volume size. As in, the OP’s backup software is attempting to create one giant monster archive containing all his files, and that one file is bigger than what the volume format allows.

Formatting the volume as NTFS is the easiest fix; alternatively, the OP can use different backup software that splits the archive into multiple files, though I don’t know of any offhand.

Oh, and Aesiron? Nice playlist. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the help, everyone. I’ve not actually had a chance to use your advice as I never went home last night but it will be one of the first things I do when I get off work today. Much appreciated.

And thanks, Sofaspud. That made me smile more than it probably should have. :slight_smile:

I didn’t get the chance to reformat until today but I did about an hour ago and am currently at 7g saved and speeding along. Thanks for the help again.