How to Increase Transfer Speed of External Hard Drive

Jean updated on Jan 18, 2021 to Computer Instruction | How-to Articles

how to increase transfer speed of external hard drive

Speed Up External Hard Drives

  • Click on the start button, then right-click on Computer and select Manage.
  • Click on Device Manager on the side menu.
  • Expand Disk drives and locate your external drive from the list.
  • Right-click on the drive and select Properties.
  • On the Policies tab, select Optimize for performance.

4 Solutions to Increase Transfer Speed of External Hard Drive

Is the external hard drive transfer speed slow? You can learn how to increase the transfer speed of external hard drive with these solutions below:

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Convert FAT32 to NTFS Install and launch EaseUS Partition Master on your computer. Select a FAT32 partition...Full steps
Fix 2. Change Default Settings Open "Windows File Explorer" and locate your external hard drive...Full steps
Fix 3. Clean Up Junk Files Download EaseUS Tools M for free and install it on your computer...Full steps
Fix 4. Replace the old HDD Open EaseUS Partition Master. Right-click the disk that you want to copy or clone...Full steps

Also read: Fix Slow External Hard Drive on Mac.

Problem - How to Increase the Transfer Speed External Hard

"I have a backup that is 140GB. I have an external hard drive that I am trying to copy to (on a USB 3.0 port). The external hard drive is a WD My Passport Ultra. It's saying it will take 2 hours+.

  1. What am I doing wrong?
  2. Why is it taking so long?
  3. How can I speed up?"

Your external USB hard drive works slowly than ever before, especially when your copy or transfer files. How to increase the transfer speed of external hard drive or improve the hard drive transfer speed in Windows 10/8/7? You can try some useful information provided in the previous articles shown below to copy files faster to an external hard drive:

Or try the new solutions presented in this article:

Fix 1. Convert FAT32 to NTFS to Make External Hard Drive Faster

The file system of an external USB hard disk drive will significantly affect the file transfer speed. Compared FAT32 with NTFS, it seems that storage devices with NTFS work faster and more efficiently for file copy and file transfer. To convert FAT32 to NTFS without losing data, download EaseUS partition software and follow the steps below to change your FAT32 partition to NTFS.


Step 1: Install and launch EaseUS Partition Master on your computer.

open EaseUS Partition Master

Step 2: Select a FAT32 partition, right-click on it and select "Convert to NTFS". If you need to convert a storage device such as SD card or USB flash drive to NTFS, insert it into your PC first and repeat the previous operation.

convert FAT32 to NTFS

Step 3: Click "OK" on the pop-up dialog box to continue.

convert FAT32 to NTFS

Step 4: Go to the upper left corner, click the "Execute 1 Operation" button and you will see the operation details. Click "Apply" and "Finish" when the process completes.

convert FAT32 to NTFS

Fix 2. Change Default Hardware Settings for Better Performance

Aside from changing the file system that could help accelerate the transfer speed of an external storage device, you can also try to modify the default hardware settings on your Windows computer.

Step 1. Open "Windows File Explorer" and locate your external hard drive. Right-click the external drive icon and choose "Properties" from the drop-down menu.

Step 2. Choose the "Hardware" tab, which will display the list of all disks mounted on the particular computer. Select the desired disk you want to improve its transfer performance and click "Properties" at the bottom of the window.

Step 3. In device properties window select "Change settings".

Step 4. A disk window will pop up. Click the "Policies" tab and select "Optimize for performance".

Step 5. Be alert. You must disconnect the device safely. Right-click the tray icon and click "Safely remove USB Mass Storage Device".

change default hardware settings to increase transfer speed of external hard drive

Fix 3. Clean Up External Hard Drive Junk Files to Speed Up the Drive

The transfer speed could be slow if there are many junk files on the external hard drive. To improve the transfer speed of the external hard drive, you need to clean up junk files. You can use a free tool - EaseUS Tools M to clean up large files easily and quickly.

Step 1. DOWNLOAD EaseUS Tools M for free and install it on your computer.

Step 2. Launch EaseUS Tools M in Windows PC. Select "Large File Cleanup" on the main screen.

large file cleanup - 1

Step 3. Select the drive and click "Scan" to let the program locate, find all large files on your disk.

large file cleanup - 2

Step 4. Identify and select useless large files and click "Delete" to remove those files from your PC or laptop. A message pops up and tells you this process will permanently delete the files. Click "Yes" to start the process.

large file cleanup - 3

Fix 4. Replace the Old External Hard Drive With a New One

If the hard drive is old, the transfer speed could also be slow. Therefore, you can replace the old hard drive with a new one. If you want to keep the data, you can clone the hard drive with EaseUS partition software. Follow the steps below to replace your external hard drive:


Step 1: Select the source disk.

Open EaseUS Partition Master. Right-click the disk that you want to copy or clone. Then, select "Clone".

select the disk that you want to copy

Step 2: Select the target disk.

Choose the wanted HDD/SSD as your destination and click "Next" to continue.

choose a suitable destination

Step 3: View the disk layout and edit the target disk partition size. 

Then click "Continue" when the program warns it will wipe out all data on the target disk. (If you have valuable data on the target disk, back up it in advance.)

confirm to continue the cloning process

You can select "Autofit the disk", "Clone as the source" or "Edit disk layout" to customize your disk layout. (Select the last one if you want to leave more space for C drive.)

Adjust disk layout

Step 4: Execute the operation.

Click the "Execute the operation" option and click "Apply" to start the disk cloning process.


The transfer speed can vary a lot depending on the drive model, file system, and more. These solutions can solve most of the slow transfer speed error. If you still have a problem, you can contact us to get additional help. By the way, EaseUS Partition Master can help you resize a partition and partition a hard drive to manage the disk in a better way. Here's an example of partitioning a hard drive on Windows 10.

How to Transfer Files from PC to External Hard Drive Faster FAQs

Here are some related questions on how to transfer files from pc to external hard drive faster, you can read on if you are interested in them.

How to transfer files from pc to flash drive faster?

To speed up the USB transfer:

  1. 1. Connect the USB to Rear Port
  2. 2. Update USB/Chipset Drivers
  3. 3. Enable USB 3.0 Port
  4. 4. Optimize the Performance
  5. 5. Convert FAT32 to NTFS
  6. 6. Format USB

How long does it take to copy 1TB data over USB 3.0

Around 4.9 hours. For USB 3.0, the maximum if 5GB/s, translating to 625MB/s. So assuming 1TB is, as usual, 1024GB (1048576 MB). It would take 1048576/60=17476.2666667 seconds, or 291.271111111 minutes, around 4.9 hours.

How to speed up file transfer?

Here's how to speed it up:

  • Check the HDD and external media for corruption
  • Disable the Auto-tuning feature
  • Turn Off RDC
  • Use a different USB port
  • Check USB drivers
  • Disable Drive Indexing
  • Disable the antivirus
  • Use the Disk Cleanup utility

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