Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

Why can't I copy this large video from my camera to my PC?


My operating system is Windows XP including all available service packs. I
regularly download pictures from our cameras to folders created in My Docs/My
Pictures with no problems. Yesterday I downloaded 83 pics plus one camera video
of 420 MB for a total of 971 MB from a Canon camera. However, one large video,
1 GB, on the camera would not download. I could access and run the video on the
camera via USB connection but I could not transfer it onto the computer – no
matter what we tried. The only reason we could think of was a limit on the
transfer size. Is this case? And if so can we override it?

In this excerpt from
Answercast #87
, I look at various reasons why the transfer of a large video
file from a camera might fail.


Copying a large video from a camera

No, there’s no limit on transfer size.

Unfortunately, you haven’t told me how it fails. Were there any error messages? That’s usually the first clue we need to understand exactly why something like this isn’t working properly.

Enough hard drive room?

The other thing that comes to mind – that is easy to overlook… a GB is a fairly large file. Do you have a GB of free space on your PC? In other words, could it be something as simple as not having enough room on the destination for that file to fit?

The fact that you can view and watch the video over the USB connection means that the USB connection is working – and in fact, that is a file transfer. It’s very much like a file copy. That’s actually transferring the entire file to your PC; it’s just not writing it to disk.

So, the first thing I would check on is making sure that you have enough room on your PC for that file.

Hard drive errors

I’d also run ChkDsk in case there were some kind of an issue on your computer’s hard drive. This can sometimes be an issue when running into a problem with the disk file system. It could be getting confused somehow.

Flash memory card

The other approach (as suggested by my assistant) was to actually remove the flash memory card from the camera and use a flash card reader to transfer the files over – rather than going through the camera’s USB interface.

I actually prefer that method. I don’t like running my camera’s battery down just to transfer the files. So I’ll usually pop the memory card out of the camera, insert it into a reader, and then copy the files over that way. That would be something else to try.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

Next from Answercast 87 – Why can’t I post a comment on your website?

Do this

Subscribe to Confident Computing! Less frustration and more confidence, solutions, answers, and tips in your inbox every week.

I'll see you there!

3 comments on “Why can't I copy this large video from my camera to my PC?”

  1. I, too, just put the memory card into my computer to copy things from the camera. (Besides not using the camera’s batteries, it’s faster than via USB.)

    However, I like using the command prompt for this, and the “robocopy” command. (Microsoft started including it in either Vista or Win7. I don’t believe it was included in XP, though it is available from Microsoft as a free download — search for “robocopy for xp” and use the link.) The advantage for me is that it shows the progress as it copies large files, and you can have it continue after errors.

    At the simplest, the command to copy an entire directory and everything in it:

      robocopy source destination /s

    For example:

      robocopy d:100videodcim c:userskennethpicturescamera /s
  2. I have SONY camera HDR-CX550CE. Large video (>2.6 GB?) is not accepted by Disk of FAT32. You need firstly copy into disk with NTFS. After divide large video into smal films you van recopy into proper disk with FAT32, or reformat your disk into NTFS.

  3. Is your card reader at least some relatively new USB2.0 reader…
    I didn’t get what kind of card are u using, BUT, let me share my expirience with you…
    For my CANON EOS 5D mKII and 7D it was always up to 10 minutes of shooting video, which would end up in mostly 4 GB file – just “small” enough that FAT32 formated disk could swallow it..
    When 5D MARK III came out I faced a new problem – this camera can record up to 30 minutes of video now, and although it does cut thoes videos in smaller files in camera, I had few problems with transfering those chunks…
    Everything got bettet when I bought USB 3.0 card reader – which now trasfer 16GB flash card in 6-7 minutes, while with USB 2.0 it was almost 1/2 hour – for 40 minutes of recorded material…

    BUT LET ME SAY VERY IMPORTANT THING – if you handle files this big – go and get yourself TOTAL COMANDER – the file manager I can’t imagine my life without… Now, here I’ve noticed that problems occured when I didn’t use Total Commander, but Windows explorer (or my computer folder).
    That may be just coinsidence – but you need real files management app…

    And, about Sony camera, that was mentioned in comment above, I also own SONY NX5 camcorder, which is pretty pro piece of equipment… And it’s tapeless, as well, but UNLIKE Canon cards that write those files on flash card as on hard disk, Sony camcorder has this weird and complicated structure, so that you have to use their software to import all material into PC – which is very annoying…. Of course, I CAN make those files play with VLC when I digg them out, but they are unstable, fallin’ appart when scrubbing, no sync or no audio at all… Basically, I have to import them through this Sony Menagement app – after did it once, they are kind of indexed and I can smoothly run them through all other programs… But the problem is that I dont alwys bring materials home – Sometimes clients take cards from me on the set, and I wonder what then??? Oh, did I mention that this very Sony Management app can’t be downloaded from their Support center… You get it on DVD which comes in box with camera…
    ANYONE know workaround or solution for this problem??? Thnx!!!


Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.