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My external hard drive claims to be full, but it's not!
August 8, 2006 4:55 PM   Subscribe

My external hard drive claims to be full, but it's not!

When I right-click on my hard drive and click "Properties," the hard drive reports that it has 70+ gigs of free space left.

Dragging and droping files onto it works fine, except for two ISO's. When I try to drag those ISOs over, I get an error message saying that there is no more room left on the hard drive. The ISOs are each less than 10 GB. I've tried moving one at a time, then together, both without any success.

How do I get those two files onto the hard drive? Why is this happening?
posted by JPowers to Technology (16 answers total)
 
Is the drive formatted as fat32? I believe there is a filesize limit of about 4 gigs. I believe it is possible to make te drive ntfs without any data loss but I'm not a windows guru.
posted by polyhedron at 4:59 PM on August 8, 2006


You need to convert the drive to NTFS in order to handle files over 4gb I think. (See this article for more info.)
posted by reverendX at 5:00 PM on August 8, 2006


How long since you defragmented your hard drive?
posted by cerebus19 at 5:00 PM on August 8, 2006


FAT32 has a 4 gig maximum file size. You can't put those files on that disc without reformatting it.
posted by cillit bang at 5:01 PM on August 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


How long since you defragmented your hard drive?

I have never defragmented it. The hard drive was reformated about 3 months ago.

4GB single file limit.

Thanks everyone who pointed this out. I had no idea. Guess I'll have to convert the drive to NTFS.
posted by JPowers at 5:06 PM on August 8, 2006


Looks like the solution is pretty easy. As long as you're alright with NTFS, you just need to run a command line program included with Win2k/XP/NT.

Open a command line window. Under the start menu is an entry "Run..." Select that and enter "cmd" minus the quotes. A DOS style prompt should pop up.

Type "convert $DRIVE /FS:NTFS" again sans quotes. $DRIVE is the letter of the drive you're attempting to convert. For example, to convert te c:\ drive you'd type "convert c: /FS:NTFS"

And voila! Files larger than 4 gigs should work.
posted by polyhedron at 5:07 PM on August 8, 2006


It's possible that the ISO files are sparse, and copying them causes the "empty" regions in the file to be expanded.

You can use a program like tar that knows how to archive and copy these files without expanding them.

On preview: Guess that wasn't it.
posted by mbrubeck at 5:08 PM on August 8, 2006


re: polyhedron

Will this delete/alter any of the files currently on the drive?
posted by JPowers at 5:08 PM on August 8, 2006


Note that NTFS is not writable from a Mac, if you ever use one with your external drive.
posted by smackfu at 5:10 PM on August 8, 2006


Note that NTFS is not writable from a Mac, if you ever use one with your external drive.

I have both a Mac and PC in my house and use the drive to store all media (video, music, images, etc.).

If I switch to NTFS, will I still be able to pull files off the drive via my Mac? Will I be able to add files to the drive via my Mac?
posted by JPowers at 5:13 PM on August 8, 2006


Yes. No*.

(* unless it's plugged into your PC and you're accessing it over a network)
posted by cillit bang at 5:27 PM on August 8, 2006


Jpowers: re: polyhedron.

No, it will not cause any problems with files already on the drive. I performed this exact procedure with three external hard drives that I had (with files on them) and it worked perfectly.

I cannot comment on being able to work with the drive on your Mac.
posted by davey_darling at 6:45 PM on August 8, 2006


You will be unable to write new files to it from the Mac if you convert to NTFS. It's a read-only filesystem for Unix operating systems.
posted by evariste at 7:27 PM on August 8, 2006


Actually, folks, that's apparently no longer true, for some values of true.
posted by baylink at 7:35 PM on August 8, 2006


The other option is to reformat it to HFS Journaled, which is the native OS X file system. Then use MacDrive to access them from the PC. Probably not worth it, but it's a possibility.
posted by smackfu at 7:55 PM on August 8, 2006


If you're using the drive to transfer to files from place to place [like, you want to get those ISOs off that computer and over to the one with the DVD-R so you can burn them], you can use hjsplit [or something similar] to split your gihugic files into sub-4-GB chunks. I used this method to get a couple big ISOs from one machine to another for burning using a FAT32 external drive.

Of course, if the file has to be usable in its gihugic form directly from the external drive, this won't do the trick.
posted by chazlarson at 3:10 PM on August 10, 2006


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