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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.

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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.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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 :-(

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

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

  5. 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

  6. Thats a really simple solution, will it even work? I would suggest buying a new usb drive which supports 3.0 function, its speed is way too much than 2.0 usb drives. When I had this issue I used GS Richcopy 360 to solve it and the transfer speed was quite good. It says it has multi threaded file transfer ability meaning it can transfer multiple files at a time. Try it, it solved my problem, hope it solves yours too!

  7. This didn’t work, still have slow speed with my flash drive even after doing the above. Please go back to the drawing board.

  8. im trying to change the format to NTFS , hope it helps
    becouse my usb speed is just 700 kps and it was so expensive
    i really hope that it works :/

  9. ohhhh my goood its now 113 mb/s for 10 secends and after 10 secends 20 mb/s (it was 700 kb/s)
    woooow
    really thanks

  10. When I have tried this, occasionally the process hangs and kills the USB drive. It is not recognised in Windows but seems to be okay in Linux. I have a dead 32GB drive here because of this tip. I tried everything I could about deleting partitions and using different file systems but it is stone cold dead.

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