Fix Error: USB Drive Says Not Enough Free Space on the Drive But There Is Plenty


In daily life, when copying large files to the external hard drive, you are likely to encounter the following error: “Cannot copy xxx: There is not enough free disk space. Delete one or more files to free disk space, and then try again…” just like the author says in the example.

I am trying to send a movie file from my laptop to a 1 TB hard drive. An error keeps coming up “not enough free disk space” and to delete 1 or more files to free up disk space. The hard drive is empty.

–from Tomshardware

Here is a picture showing this kind of error:

However, even though you have deleted many files, this error keeps emerging. Now you must be wondering: why can’t I copy this file to my drive? There is so much more disk space than the file requires, the error message is misleading…

Just keep reading to find the answers.

In fact, this error is caused by FAT32 file system limitation. That is to say, your hard drive may be formatted as FAT32 by chance… And then the individual file is over 4GB in size. If so, you will get this error because the FAT file system cannot handle single files over 4GB in size. At this time, the best solution is to convert that drive to NTFS file system which can break the 4GB limit. (You can check the property of your hard drive and the file you want to copy to make out the reason.)

How to Fix Not Enough Disk Space Error

When it comes to converting FAT32 to NTFS, there are 2 ways in general. The first one is to format the drive to NTFS, while the second one is to convert FAT32 to NTFS without losing data. Here I would like to introduce a piece of professional yet free partition magic to all of you. And luckily, it can complete both formatting FAT32 to NTFS and convert FAT32 to NTFS.

MiniTool Partition Wizard is the best FAT32 converter that can safely and easily turn an FAT32 partition into NTFS partition. Besides, it is an all-in-one disk partition manager that can handle kinds of hard drive issues such as low disk space warning, Windows 7 stuck at loading screen, etc. Now download MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition which works on Window XP/7/8/10.

1. Format FAT32 to NTFS

To format file system from FAT32 to NTFS, you just need to do the followings:

Tip: back up the data on the FAT32 partition first, for formatting will lead to data loss.

Step 1: Launch MiniTool Partition Wizard to the main interface. Then click the FAT32 partition to be formatted and choose “Format Partition” from the action panel or “Format” from the Partition group.

Step 2: In the pop-up new window, drop down the choice box and select NTFS as the target file system. Then click “OK” to go back to the main interface. Finally, click “Apply” to save this change.

Tip: Disk Management is also able to format a partition to NTFS. Run “diskmgmt.msc” to load Disk Management, right click the FAT32 partition to be formatted, and select “Format“. In the pop-up window, choose “NTFS” as the desired file system and hit OK. You will receive a warning message saying that formatting will lead to data loss. Confirm you want to continue or not.

2. Convert Fat32 to NTFS without losing data

To convert file system from FAT32 to NTFS without data loss, you just need to do the followings:

Step 1: Launch MiniTool Partition Wizard to its main interface, then click the FAT32 partition to be converted and choose “Convert FAT to NTFS” from the action panel or from Partition group.

Step 2: On the new pop-up window, click “Start” button to begin, please wait until it finishes. After the conversion, you will find all data are kept there in good condition.

Tip: you can also convert FAT32 to NTFS using the command prompt. Run “cmd“, type “convert [drive letter] /fs:ntfs” (example: type “convert e: /fs:ntfs) in the window and press Enter key. You may encounter “data error (cyclic redundancy check)“, however, the FAT32 partition is already converted to NTFS.


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