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5 Ways to Increase Transfer Speed of USB 3.0 External Hard Drive

Updated by Roxanne on Sep 22, 2022
Written by Tracy King

How to Speed Up a USB 3.0 External Hard Drive in Windows 10/8/7

If your hard drive is slow, you are in the right place. This page walks you through the way to speed up and increase a USB 3.0 external hard drive for data transferring or file copying in Windows 10, 8, or 7, etc. If you are having one of the problems listed below, you'll need to find a way to improve the performance and speed up your external hard drive:

  1. 1. Copying files stops halfway
  2. 2. External hard drive transfer speed slow
  3. 3. File copying slow on USB 3.0 flash drive or external hard drive
  4. 4. The computer gets stuck while copying or transferring files to USB 3.0
  5. 5. PC freeze on copying files from USB 3.0...

To increase the transfer speed of the external hard drive, we listed the five best methods for fixing this issue, and you can apply any one of them for a try:

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
1. Optimize the Performance Connect your external hard drive to your PC. Open Windows File Explorer...Full steps
2. Convert USB 3.0 Drive to NTFS Install and launch EaseUS Partition Master on your computer...Full steps
3. Fix Corrupted System Files Press Win + X to bring up the Power User menu and select Command Prompt...Full steps
4. Clean Up Junk Files Download EaseUS CleanGenius for free and install it on your computer...Full steps
5. Format External Hard Drive Connect your external hard drive to a Windows 10 PC. Open File Explorer, locate and right-click...Full steps

Tip 1. Optimize External Hard Drive Performance to Increase Speed

When the storage devices get slow, one quick way to improve the device's performance is to change the device hardware settings. Follow the steps below to speed up your external hard drive.

Step 1. Connect your external hard drive to your PC.

Step 2. Open Windows File Explorer, locate and right-click on your external hard drive, choose "Properties".

Step 3. On the Hardware tab, click "Properties", and choose "Change Settings" on the General tab.

Step 4. Click the "Policies" tab, choose "Better performance", and click "OK" to confirm all the changes.

how to increase transfer speed of external hard drive - optimize performance

Then, you can check if your external hard drive has become fast in speed.

Tip 2. Convert USB 3.0 External Hard Drive to NTFS to Speed It Up

The file system type affects the external hard drive transfer speed deeply. Storage devices with NTFS work faster and more efficiently for file copy and file transfer. Thus, the most useful way to increase USB 3.0 external hard drive speed is to convert the USB 3.0 external hard drive from FAT32 to NTFS.

Free partition magic software - EaseUS Partition Master Free can help. It enables you to convert the external hard drive to the NTFS file system within three simple steps. This powerful disk management tool has many other highlights:

Download this free software and convert FAT32 to NTFS without losing data:

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

Step 2. On Partition Manager, right-click on a FAT32 partition and click "Advanced", select "NTFS to FAT".

convert FAT32 to NTFS

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

convert FAT32 to NTFS

Step 4. Click "Apply" to start the converting process. Wait until the operation process is finished.

convert FAT32 to NTFS

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Tip 3. Fix Corrupted System Files to Increase External HDD Speed

If the USB 3.0 external hard drive contains corrupted system files, the file copying or data transferring speed will slow down naturally. SFC command line can efficiently help find and repair the corrupted system files on your external hard drive. Here are the steps to run SFC/SCANNOW.

Step 1. Press Win + X to bring up the Power User menu and select "Command Prompt".

Step 2. Type: sfc /scannow and hit "Enter".

increase transfer speed external hard drive with sfc scannow

Also read SFC finds corrupted files but unable to fix if anything goes wrong.

Tip 4. Increase Transfer Speed of External Hard Drive by Cleanup

You can clear and remove useless junk files on PC that make your USB 3.0 slow for file transferring. After using the computer for a long time, many useless junk files are taking space on the hard drive. And the best way is to apply a simple free way to clean and remove useless junk files that slow down your USB 3.0 external hard drive for transfer files and data.

Step 1. DOWNLOAD and install EaseUS Partition Master Suite for free and launch it on your Windows PC.

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On the suite, hover your mouse on "PC Cleaner", click the Download icon to install and launch EaseUS CleanGenius.

Launch EaseUS Clean Genius

Step 2. On EaseUS CleanGenius, select "Cleanup" on the main screen, and click "Scan" to start scanning.

large file cleanup - 1

Step 3. When the scanning process completes, select useless large files and click "Clean" to clean large files.

large file cleanup - 2

Step 4. When EaseUS CleanGenius completes cleaning the files you choose, click "Done" to finish the process.

large file cleanup - 3

Tip 5. Format USB 3.0 External Hard Drive to Speed It Up

Another efficient way to quickly fix the slow external hard drive issue on Windows PC is to format the USB 3.0 external hard drive to NTFS. Format a partition could cause data loss. If you have essential data on the device, copy, and extract crucial data to another hard drive first.

To format the external hard drive to NTFS File System:

Step 1. Connect your external hard drive to a Windows 10 PC.

Step 2. Open File Explorer, locate and right-click on the drive, select "Format".

Step 3. Set the NTFS as the target file system, tick "Quick Format" and click "Start" to start the formatting.

speed up transfer to external hard drive by formatting

Additional Tip - How to Back Up External Hard Drive Files

Although these methods can help you fix the slow USB 3.0 external hard drive issue, some may also cause unnecessary data loss errors on your drive. To avoid unnecessary data loss issue, you should copy and extract important data on your USB 3.0 external hard drive to your PC or another secure storage device in advance.

You can either choose to copy and paste existing files from your slow external hard drive to a new device at a very slow speed or prefer a more efficient and fast alternative tool to back up and extract all your files from the external hard drive to a new device at one time at high speed. 

If you choose the latter option, you may turn to EaseUS Todo Backup Free for help. It is easy and risk-free to back up files from your external hard drive with a small space occupation on your target device. 

Step 1. To begin the backup process, click the Select backup contents button.

create file backup step1

Step 2. Four data backup categories are listed: File, Disk, OS, and Mail.

create file backup step2

Step 3. Lists of both local and network files are shown on the left-hand side of the screen. Expanding the directory so that you can choose the files to back up.

File backup

Step 4. Follow the guidance on the screen and choose the place where you want to store the back up.

File backup step4

Make sure that the backup is encrypted and set the backup schedule by clicking Options in Backup Options. You can also choose to start the backup at a certain time in Backup Scheme by clicking Options. There are many other customizable options that you can look into.

Backup options

Step 5. You can store the backup file either on your computer, in EaseUS's cloud service, or on a network-attached storage device (NAS).

file backup step4

Step 6. EaseUS Todo Backup enables customers store backup copies of their files on a third-party cloud drive or on the company's own cloud storage.

If you want to back up your data on a third-party cloud drive, select Local Drive and scroll down to add Cloud Device. Then fill in your account information.

Backup to cloud
Click EaseUS Cloud, then sign up and log in with your EaseUS account if you wish to store backup files to EaseUS' own cloud storage service.

backup to easeus cloud

Step 7. Click on Backup Now to start a backup.  When the backup process is done, it will display as a card on the left-hand side of the screen. A right-click will let you see more about how to handle the backup job in more depth.

File backup step7


Whenever you are faced with external hard drive slow transfer speed, you can try these solutions above. These tips should help you increase your transfer speeds. EaseUS Partition Master Free plays a vital role in solving your slow issue. Besides, this free software can help you with disk management, partition clone, and system migration. You can always try this product to enjoy extra features.

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About the Author

Updated by Roxanne

Roxanne is one of the main contributors to EaseUS and has created multiple posts on digital devices like PCs, Mobile phones, tablets, Mac, etc. She loves to share ideas with people of the same interest.

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Written by Tracy King

Tracy joined in EaseUS in 2013 and has been working with EaseUS content team for over 7 years. Being enthusiastic in computing and technology, she writes tech how-to articles and share technical solutions about Windows & Mac data recovery, file/system backup and recovery, partition management and iOS/Android data recovery.

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Product Reviews

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  • I love that the changes you make with EaseUS Partition Master Free aren't immediately applied to the disks. It makes it way easier to play out what will happen after you've made all the changes. I also think the overall look and feel of EaseUS Partition Master Free makes whatever you're doing with your computer's partitions easy.

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  • Partition Master Free can Resize, Move, Merge, Migrate, and Copy disks or partitions; convert to local, change label, defragment, check and explore partition; and much more. A premium upgrade adds free tech support and the ability to resize dynamic volumes.

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  • It won't hot image your drives or align them, but since it's coupled with a partition manager, it allows you do perform many tasks at once, instead of just cloning drives. You can move partitions around, resize them, defragment, and more, along with the other tools you'd expect from a cloning tool.

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