Decrypting the Dilemma: Bitlocker, Big Files, and Your USB Video Library


“I require assistance with transferring digitized home videos to USB drives. Previously, I managed this task without complications, but I’m encountering two issues now. First, when I insert a blank USB drive, my computer—restricted by corporate policies—prompts me to use Bitlocker encryption. After proceeding with the encryption, the files become undetectable on a television. Could this invisibility be due to the encryption, and if so, what are the possible solutions? Second, one of the video files is unusually large (5.2GB) for its length, and I’m unable to transfer it due to size constraints. Would reformatting the drive resolve this issue without affecting playback compatibility on TVs? Additionally, attempts to split the video using standard editing software resulted in even larger file sizes. I would appreciate any expert guidance on these matters.”


When you encrypt a USB drive with Bitlocker, it adds a layer of security that requires authentication to access the files. This is beneficial for protecting sensitive data but can cause compatibility issues with devices like TVs that do not support Bitlocker decryption. The encrypted files will not be recognized or playable on such devices, which is likely why the files are undetectable on your television.

To resolve this, you have a couple of options:


Use a Non-Encrypted Drive

: If possible, use a USB drive that doesn’t prompt for Bitlocker encryption. This might require using a personal computer that isn’t governed by your company’s IT policies.


Remove Encryption

: If you’ve already encrypted the drive, you can remove Bitlocker by decrypting it on a compatible computer. However, this will only work if you have the necessary permissions to perform the decryption.

Large File Size and Transfer Limitations

The issue with the 5.2GB file size is likely due to the FAT32 file system limitation, which cannot handle files larger than 4GB. Reformatting the USB drive to a different file system, such as NTFS or exFAT, can overcome this limitation. Here’s what you need to know about each:

  • NTFS

    : Widely used and supported by many devices, including TVs. It allows for larger file sizes and might be your best option if compatibility is not an issue.

  • exFAT

    : Designed specifically for flash drives and is compatible with both Windows and macOS. It’s also supported by many modern TVs and might be the safest choice for ensuring playback compatibility.

  • Before reformatting, check your TV’s manual or specifications to confirm which file systems it supports. Keep in mind that reformatting will erase all data on the drive, so back up any existing files first.

    As for the video editing software increasing the file size, this can happen if the software is set to export the split videos at a higher bitrate or resolution than the original. To avoid this, ensure the export settings match the source video’s properties or use a different video editing tool that allows for more control over the output file size.

    In summary, to ensure your digitized home videos are transferable to USB drives and playable on TVs, avoid using Bitlocker encryption unless necessary, consider reformatting the drive to a compatible file system that supports larger files, and be mindful of export settings when editing videos. With these steps, you should be able to share those precious family moments without technical hindrances.

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