How to fix the slow data transfer issue and speed up your USB flash drive

Today, USB flash drives (or pen drives) have become ubiquitous as they're the most convenient way to quickly transfer large amounts of data thanks to their portability. Almost every device has got a USB or microUSB-on-the-Go port: tablets, laptops, TVs and so on, so you can easily plug USB drives into them. If your USB pen drive has a very slow read and write speed and you would like to speed it up slightly, here are a few tips to increase the data transfer speed of your pen drive.


First you should know that USB pen drives use flash memory which by its nature tends to slow down over time as you use it more. So if your flash drive is very old and has been used heavily, your best option is to get a new one with high speed memory. Second, USB 3.0 drives are much faster than USB 2.0 so you should definitely get at least one USB 3.0 drive to see the speed difference. That said, there is something you can do to your old USB 2.0 drive to make it perform faster.

Format your USB pen drive to NTFS

This will make copy operations a bit faster. Right click the drive in This PC/Computer folder and select "Format..." from the context menu of the drive. Select NTFS as file system and untick the "Quick Format" checkbox:

fix slow speed usb drive stick

Set USB Drive optimized for better performance

  1. Right click your USB drive once again in This PC/Computer folder and pick "Properties" from the menu.
  2. In the Properties window, go to the "Hardware" tab:Click the "Properties" button: hardware tab
  3. The Device Properties window will be opened on the screen. On the "General" tab, click the "Change settings" button: change settings button
  4. Under the Policies tab, set the removal policy to the option Better Performance and click on the OK button. better performance policy

Note: After you change the device policy to "Better Performance", you must always eject your USB drive with the "Safely remove" option in the taskbar's notification/tray area. Otherwise, you can lose some files that you have copied to your drive. This is required because write caching is turned on when you set the drive to "Better Performance". The safe removal process makes sure that there are no pending writes to the drive before it is ejected.

After performing these simple steps, the data transfer speed of your USB pen drive should improve.

17 thoughts on “How to fix the slow data transfer issue and speed up your USB flash drive

  1. Shyam Reddy

    Good one there, Sergey! Will try it out soon! Thanks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

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  2. Pravin

    Do that really work? I don’t think so. As the flash memory get slower after read / write cycles, there is no way to fix the hardware limitations. Then even I will try to use the suggested tweak. Thanks for sharing. If that really work, that will be great for my older drives.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

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  3. jackmiller

    Hello

    Carefully read your blogs ,and i like them!
    I do also want one of my how-to IT article to be shown in front of many readers who has this issue,

    would you post it on your blog or just simply add a link?
    Also.if you got some requirements for this .plz let me know

    Email:sunny.sun@minitool.com

    Regards

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

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  4. andrea penna

    Hi,
    thanks for your suggestion. I tried it but didn’t get any improvement and formatting NTFS without “fast formatting” options took nearly the same time of the original copy time, plus the copy time, slow as before.
    Also, I’m not sure if a TV will read the NTFS so, I reverted to Fat32.
    And now I’m letting the 1hr copy at 3MB/s go on…
    I can’t believe we are in 2015 with broadband at 150Mbs and I’m copying on USB at 3MB/s :-(

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

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    1. JEff

      Often read speeds being that slow are because of a bad/cheap flash drive that doesn’t perform. Searching for flash drives that are the cheapest results in getting hardware that doesn’t perform well.

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      1. dan

        n1

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    2. Adrian G.

      Contrary to already said, TV can read USB pen drive, if inserted propely into the port, yet I’ve heard that some manufacturers don’t usually allow this option, perhaps they would sell better more if allowed this option too.

      On LG TV, 32 inch, Full HD, LED background, works like a charm and reads correctly the external drive source, haven’t tested this option on other TVs, but optimistic enough that it works on them as well.

      Don’t give up just yet, there’s still hope.

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  5. hena

    i tried these steps but same speed remains 8mb/s in 16 gb 220vhp

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

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  6. dan

    JEff
    you got thr best answer

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  7. asanka

    best.. Post

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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  8. shockwave

    i tried these method again and again but nothing has changed. is that hardware or software problem??

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Mostly looks like a hardware issue.

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  9. RedfieldPt

    I tried copying Counter-Strike Source but it says Speed : 2,56 MB/s
    Can i get better copying speed?

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    1. RedfieldPt

      It even said Speed : 255 KB/s
      help

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      Reply
  10. Freedox

    Recently found another solution. Tey formatting your usb memory stick using a mac with exfat. It boosts the spees like hell.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Great. I should try exfat too. Thanks for sharing.

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  11. Stanton

    Does a usb memory stick really format at NTFS?

    WHAT DO U DO IF A MEMORY STICK IS STILL IN GOOD CONDITION BUT IT DOESN’T READ

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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