Mid-Career Grad Student

Curtis Franklin’s Weblog for Graduate School at the University of Florida

A Quick Technology Note

Posted by Curt Franklin on 22 February, 2008

Today in the lab, I discovered a problem when I tried to copy the .AVI file of my raw video from the workstation onto my portable hard drive. While the file was a bit over 5 gigabytes, and my hard drive had 232 gigabytes of free space, when I tried the copy I got an “Insufficient Space” error message.

The problem, as it turned out, was in the way the drive was formatted. Most USB hard disks will come with a FAT32 format applied. This format is used because virtually all versions of Windows can cope with it, and Mac OS from about 9.5 until current versions can load the disk without much trouble. The problem is that there’s a file size limit in FAT32, and that maximum file size is 4 Gigabytes. Obviously, some of the files we’re going to deal with can be larger than that.

The answer is to reformat the drive to use the NTFS file system. This is the latest Microsoft file system, and it has a lot of advantages for a disk that doesn’t hold the basic operating system. Now, it will take a while — on my 250 gigabyte Toshiba drive it took almost four hours for the format to complete — but it should get rid of the file size limitations.

If you need to go back and forth between Macintosh and Windows with your drive, you can find instructions (and a link to a simple program you’ll need) here at lifehack.org.

That’s it. I’ll head back to the lab tomorrow to pick up the raw files, and the process of turning that into a video can begin.


One Response to “A Quick Technology Note”

  1. […] in tips at 1:55 pm by Mindy McAdams See this post by Curt for […]

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