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I am trying to transfer a 6 GB file from one computer to another - I tried doing just a normal copy onto my external hard drive, but apparently FAT32 doesn't support files that large. Both computers are running Ubuntu Linux, and they're on the same home network.

What's the best way to go about this?
Split the file into various tar/rar archives that can be recombined? (this was my first attempt but totally failed with command line tar syntax since I suck at reading man pages).
Start some kind of FTP/HTTP server and transfer over LAN?
Other Linux utility I am not aware of?
Reformat an external hard drive so that there is an ext3 or even NTFS partition available?

It's a simple problem with probably an easy answer, but I was curious if anyone had any particularly elegant or insightful solutions.

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FAT32 supports 2GB max. – Grumpy ol' bear Sep 4 '09 at 16:17
NoCanDo: No, FAT32 supports 4GB MAX. Verified numerous times. You may be thinking about FAT16: max volume size 2 GB, 4 GB with 64KB clusters, in which case again it's not filesize that's limited, but the volume. – Ivan Vučica Oct 10 '09 at 15:18
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Just use SCP, which will transfer them over SSH. SSH is on by default on Ubuntu machines I believe (unless something has changed in the last few versions)

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Thanks. This was exactly what I was looking for - something with broad application that I didn't know existed, and will probably be using a lot in the future. – Shane Sep 4 '09 at 3:21
I tend to use SFTP rather than SCP, but same basic idea. – Brian Knoblauch Sep 4 '09 at 20:04
Oh and in case anyone is wondering "how do I use SCP," this is the tutorial I used to get started, which was pretty easy: – Shane Sep 4 '09 at 20:50
WinSCP is a great GUI for using SCP on a Windows machine: – Anthony Giorgio Sep 6 '09 at 11:41

Another solution: you could use Ubuntu's semi-built in samba file sharing.

To do this, right click on a folder (I use a public folder in my home directory) and choose share. Configure the options to your liking, then pres OK. Most likely, this will trigger Ubuntu to ask if you want to install support for sharing. You do, and after ward will probably have to restart.

Do this on both computers, then from one of the computers, go to Place > Connect to a Server, choose Windows Share, fill in the Server and (if you chose to require authentication) the User Name fields. All the other fields you can leave blank for this.

This wouldn't be as fast as the external drive, but if you don't want to reformat the drive, should be a good solution.

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use 7zip to split and compress them

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7zip is for Windows only, I lined in my answer to p7zip - which is a *nix command line implementation – William Hilsum Sep 4 '09 at 2:11
.7z is not windows only though. p7zip is even in Debian/Ubuntu repositories. – u0b34a0f6ae Sep 4 '09 at 11:33
and peazip can do it to, thats got the GUI on all platforms – alpha1 Sep 8 '09 at 5:02

If you are only dealing with Linux machines, than reformatting the external drive could be an option, though possibly troublesome.

To do this, first copy everything off of the drive, since the reformat process is destructive. Then use gparted (if you don't already have it, it can be found in Synaptic) to reformat to ext3.

If you need Windows to read the drive, I suggest making any hard drives, and flash drives more than about 8-16GB NTFS anyways, and Windows and Ubuntu can read this quite easily.

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Personally, I don't always have a lot of luck with anything other than standard Linux networking. When I need to transfer large files, I always end up installing a FTP server (usually there are tons to choose from within an available respository / apt-get) then just share the folder and transfer.

It actually may not be as fast (unless GB networking) however once you have set this up, it is available to use every time and it works very well

Alternatively if you don't want to do this or reformat / partition, as alpha1 said, split it into smaller chunks using a zip program, it should work well. However 7zip is windows only, I cannot advise one zip over another on Linux but I quickly found p7zip which looks like a *nix command line version of 7zip.

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Why not just do SCP instead of setting up a FTP server? SSH should already be on – MDMarra Sep 4 '09 at 2:20
actually i think that ssh is off by default in ubuntu. but it is as simple as sudo apt-get install openssh-server – Mike Cooper Sep 4 '09 at 3:07
Mike Cooper is right. I had to install openssh-server. But the ssh client is available by default. – Shane Sep 4 '09 at 17:00

If you happen to be savvy enough you could simply remove the drive from one machine and put it in the other. This would also be the fastest way to transport the files.

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Unfortunately it's 2 laptops with only one drive bay each. But yeah, if it were available it'd be the fastest way, too. – Shane Sep 4 '09 at 3:58

You can use split and cat utilities

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