Windows does not offer the NTFS format option? Here is how to bring it back.

Here is how to fix it

OK, so you've got a flash drive that you want to copy a huge file to, to move it to another computer. You've learned that in order to be able to copy files larger than 4GB to a drive, it must be formatted with the NTFS file system. So you open the My Computer folder, right-click on the flash drive icon, select Format, and... bummer, there is no NTFS option:

There is no NTFS format option. Why?...

This may happen if you have Windows XP and the flash drive is treated by Windows as a removable drive:

Windows XP may not offer the NTFS format option for the removable drives.

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Wait a minute, we hear you saying, isn't any drive I attach via the USB port removable? Well, yes, physically any such drive is removable, but some of them are treated as the local drives, even though they can be removed physically. For the local drives Windows offers the NTFS format option right from the start.

Anyway, so you've got a removable removable drive and there is not NTFS option, what to do? Turns out the solution is to change the hardware policy for the drive as follows:

In the My Computer folder, right-click on the removable drive in question, select Properties from the shortcut menu, and select the Hardware tab. There, select the drive in the list and press the Properties button:

Getting to the hardware properties of the removable drive

On the next screen, select the Policies tab, and there, select the Optimize for performance option:

Changing the policy option for the removable drive

Now press OK a few times to close the windows, and try to format the drive again, the NTFS option should now appear in the list:

Windows now offers the NTFS format option

You can format the drive with the NTFS system and use it to transfer large files, just remember to always use the Safely remove hardware icon in the taskbar notification area every time before physically unplugging the drive from the computer:

Always remove the drive safely

Just click the icon and select the drive you want to remove from the list. Only when it reports that it's safe to remove the drive, unplug it. If you unplug the drive without using the Safely remove hardware icon, there is a great risk of corrupting the data on the removable disk, so better not skip this step.

Happy file managing!

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  1. Thank you so much for this information!
    I’ve been trying to copy a 4.36 Gb file to my usb for an hour or so!

  2. First of all sorry for my bad english.THANKS!i’ve bought a 16GB USB Stick and i wasn’t able to move files larger than 4 GB.Now i can!THANKS one more time

  3. Tried it, but wasn’t able to format in NTFS. Removed the drive, plugged it into another port and gave the flash drive a name. Then it gave the NTFS option. Thanks a lot!

  4. Thanks a lot….this worked smoothly as suggested. Saved a lot of time :)

  5. Great, many thanks for the tip. I was about to throw my PC from the window before I got to this page…

  6. You’re a star, I’ve been having a nightmare returning sticks back because this, so thanks very much, more than appreciated. Dave B

  7. Thank you so much! I was almost driving crazy why NTFS format option is not available, saved me a lot of time.

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