I'm writing an application running on Windows XP And Windows Vista (both are 32 bit version) which has to write a very large file on disk, on a NTSF partition.

What is the maximum allowed file size for NTFS partition? Is it the same for both Windows XP and Windows Vista?

3 Answers 3


Basically there are 3 factors that limit the maximum partition size in Windows NTFS (or any other OS):

  • operating system type 32-bit OS supports up to 2.1 Tb disks (so virtually you can create a partition of that size)
  • the block size used during partition creation (64 KB limits it to 16 TB)
  • type of "system firmware": BIOS supports up to 2Tb, while UEFI works with 3Tb HDDs and even more

So 32-bit XP or Vista are limited by 2Tb per partition size.

Some companies, such as Seagate, tried to create a workaround for this problem, try to read about it here: http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/support/beyond-2tb/

  • The question was maximum file size not partition size. Are you implying a single file may be as large as the partition?
    – linhartr22
    Jul 11, 2019 at 20:14
  • @linhartr22, yes you are right. Modern Microsoft file systems (so we are excluding FAT and FAT32) have maximum file size capped at 16 EiB (both NTFS and ExFAT), while ReFS features the stunning 262144 EiB file size limit. So since the maximum file size is so big, that we could safely tell it won't fit on today's consumer disks (the question was about consumer disks), so for the scope of this question file size => partition size.
    – Salaros
    Jul 13, 2019 at 8:52
  • So you should put that in your "answer",. At the moment your "answer" talks about all sorts of things but not what the question asks
    – barlop
    Jun 2 at 21:06

As designed, the maximum NTFS file size is 16 EB (16 × 10246 bytes) minus 1 kB or 18,446,744,073,709,550,592 bytes. As implemented, the maximum NTFS file size is 16 TB minus 64 kB or 17,592,185,978,880 bytes.

It is also mentioned in the Link, that the NTFS version hasn't changed since Windows XP.

The NTFS v3.1 on-disk format is unchanged from the introduction of Windows XP and is used in Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.



Given the limits that are inherent to NTFS, the only thing that matters is how much of the drive windows XP/Vista can see at once.

Whatever size you see, you can fill it with just one file.

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