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Windows: File Is To Big To Be Opened By NotePad++, Use Wordpad As Alternative

In the process of troubleshooting a problem with mysqldump I was viewing MySQL backups using Notepad++. I typically view and edit large files using Linux with vi however in this scenario it was more convenient to view the files quickly from a Windows laptop using Notepad++. The first couple of backups were between 50MB and 100MB and while they were a bit slow to open with Notepad++ they did open without further issue and provided an easy method to search through the files.

Eventually I backed up a database file that ended up being 195MB of pure SQL such as mydatabase.sql. When attempting to open this file with Notepad++ I received the below error.

Notepad++ File Size Error: File is to big to be opened by Notepad++.

Error: File is to big for Notepad++

After clicking the OK button in the above error the second error below popped open as well.

Second Notepad++ File Size Error: ERR: Can not open file “C:\Documents and Settings\alex\Desktop\alextest.sql”

ERR: Can Not Open File "filename"

I assumed that there must be a setting or a Notepad++ plugin that would allow me to bend the rules to open larger files if I did not mind my Windows computer slowing down while I waited for the file to open and during the time that I was viewing the file. To my suprise I was unable to find a solid way to accomplish this goal using Notepad++ so I wanted to share a free alternative to open large files with Notepad++.

Notepad++ Opening Large Files Alternative: Wordpad

I chose to use Wordpad as an alternative to Notepad++ because I just needed a quick view of the large file to make sure that some blob fields from a mysqldump output to a .sql file were displaying properly. Sure enough the file which was 195 Megabytes in size opened up without issue in Wordpad and I was able to view the beginning part of the file to verify what I needed to verify. Wordpad is free and installed on Windows XP by default which makes it an easy alternative in a scenario like I needed it for however Wordpad is probably not the best solution if you needed to actually modify the file.

Other Possible Large File Alternatives to Notepad++:


J-Write Text Editor: website – Thanks to David for recommending this applicationĀ in the comments section of this article! J-write has tons of features and currently costs 12 Euro.

UltraEdit: web site — Will handle files in excess of 4GB however it is not a free alternative and will cost around $50

Notepad2: web site — It appears Notepad2 is a free alternative that may handle larger files than Notepad++ however it will depend on the amount of memory you have installed on your PC since the entire file is stored in RAM.

vi: You could install “vi” via Cygwin. Both are open source items that provide a Linux CLI type of feel from the Windows DOS Command Prompt.


gEdit: web site: A open source GUI editor for Linux Gnome.

vi: web site: A great open source text editor for Linux that is more powerful than any other text editor I have used and offers tons of features that take years to master because it can be so in depth. You can however pick up and use “vi” quickly because the basics are very easy to understand.

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