TechnologySlow USB Drive Transfer Rates

Slow USB Drive Transfer Rates

Most of us have come across this some or the other time when it takes decades to transfer a large file (say 4 gig) from computer to a USB or external hard disk drive. And you wonder why?

Well I have a Western Digital 1 Tera Byte external Hard Disk (one of the best) and i keep transferring large files back and forth. Working with a 2 gig ram and MS Vista

Some things you can do to improve speed

1. Check your USB port – and make sure it is 2.0 – previous versions of USB are slower. Now a days most computers come with a 2.0 USB port – so its very rare that this might cause a problem.

2. Disable your Anti virus Program and firewall program while copying files – most antivirus programs are configured to scan the files that go in and out of the system during file transfer – this reduces the speed considerably. I have Comodo Firewall with Avast Professional antivirus Combo as a defense against the you know who :). With both of them running, the transfer speeds from my hard disk to my external hard drive is max 3.4 mbps – both of them scan files during copy. When both of them are switched off, the transfer rate is 10 to 12 mbps – Huge difference !! Also sometimes check your windows defender and firewall settings. Personally i switch both of them off as this defense combo(comodo + avast) is one of the best you can have on your computer. Now some of us are too scared to switch off the anti virus softwares. If you can disable the file scan option inside the anti virus, you dont need to totally switch off the anti virus. You can also disconnect from the internet , then switch off the anti virus if you are internet phobic :D. Now you might say what if the file i copy itself is a virus?? –  Well again you have a choice – always scan the files that come into your hard disk, dont bother too much about what goes out of the system – again i can hear people screaming – aye what if the virus sits on my external disk and destroys everything – alright sir – then best option then is to scan the file before copying, then turn off the anti virus. Note that to copy a file 200 MB in size, i dont ask you to turn off your defenses – well if you do either you are too speed savy or %&%W&^^@%

3. Running programs that consume too much of ram during file transfer can reduce the transfer rate. I ran adobe photoshop, opened 10 mozilla firefox tabs, switched on my Sun Virtual Box with Ubuntu on it – again the speeds i  got was 2.3 to 3 mbps. So avoid ram eating daemons while you transfer.

4. Windows Vista has a feature called Remote Differential Compression which is turned on by default. Without going into too much technical stuff – Remote Differential Compression (RDC) allows data to be synchronized with a remote source using compression techniques to minimize the amount of data sent across the network.  For the common man like me , its enough to know that it reduces transfers speed heavily due to sync at source and destination. So disable it. Go to
Control Panel –> Programs and Features –> Turn Windows Features On or Off
Then turn off this utility.

5. Also switching off the windows indexing service helps sometimes.

6. Finally sanitize your PC – keep your registers clean – lots of free softwares available to clean up registry – be sure to take a backup before you do so

Happy File Transferring 🙂

Categories: Technology


  1. December 20, 2009 9:59 am

    i support the use of Avast Free Home edition on Windows systems, its light and good.

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