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How to speed up a USB drive on Windows 10

USB disks, like internal or external HDDs or SSDs, have a speed limit when it comes to transferring i.e., copying files. The speed has to do with many things e.g., USB 3.0 support, using a USB 3.0 port, the system that files are being transferred/copied from, etc.

File transfer speeds do vary but you can speed up a USB drive ever so slightly with an app called USB Drive Speed Up. We should mention that the change in speed will be small.

Speed up USB drive

This app will delete everything on the USB drive so back up your files before you proceed.

  1. Download and install USB Drive Speed Up.
  2. Run the app with admin rights.
  3. You do not need to change any of the settings however if you want to use a different file format or change the label of the drive, go ahead and do so.
  4. Click Start, and allow the app to finish formatting the drive.
  5. Once the formatting is complete, transfer files to the drive.

Does it work?

We tested this app out on a 4GB USB drive. The test was done by copying a 1.10GB file to the drive.

During transfer, Windows 10 reported transfer speeds between 10.4 to 11.2MB/s however, the 11.2MB/s speed wasn’t sustained long-run and the file transfer rate was somewhere around 10.9MB/s for the entire process.

After formatting the drive with the USB Drive Speed Up tool, we copied the exact same file to the now formatted drive. The maximum speed that the file transferred over was stable at 11.2 MB/s, occasionally touching 11.4MB/s.

You can see that the gain isn’t much but we were copying a single large file. It’s possible you may get better transfer speeds if you’re copying multiple smaller files.

How does it work?

Our tests show that this app isn’t snake oil but the results are a little underwhelming. It’s built for older USB disks and it changes their cluster size or allocation unit size. The allocation unit size is optimized by USB Drive SpeedUp which results in a slightly improved transfer speed. It is possible that you see a far more significant difference and if so, the allocation unit size that was set before wasn’t suitable for the OS.

Conclusion

Not many users do not optimize USB drives, in fact, most may not know that it can be optimized. It may have to do with the fact that the results aren’t that impressive but for an older USB that you have lying around, it’s worth trying.

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