Howto: Fix Slow USB 2.0 file transfer on Windows XP

by admin on September 29, 2008

USB storage devices can be optimized for either quick removal or performance.  If optimized for quick removal, data transfer can potentially be reduced to a crawl. 

To optimize your USB drive for performance: 
  1. Right click on the USB drive and select properties
  2. Select the Hardware tab
  3. Under All Disk Drives, highlight your USB drive and select Properties
  4. Select the Policies tab and select Optimize for performance.
  5. Press OK twice, and your transfer speeds should increase dramatically
Note that when your drive is optimized for performance you’ll need to use the Safely Remove Hardware icon in the taskbar to eject the drive – otherwise you’ll risk corrupting your data by just removing the drive from the port.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Cosmas February 4, 2009 at 11:38 am

Easy and very effective. Performance improved dramatically.



Rusman April 20, 2009 at 6:55 am

WOW!!! I can’t believe how dramatic the difference in speeds are between the two settings.

900MB file was taking 5 minutes to move before change. After the change it was done in ~30seconds!!!


Haplas April 24, 2009 at 10:58 pm

Thank you so much…very effective…Ü


Lance May 4, 2009 at 9:13 pm

Went from about 9.3MB/sec to 13.2MB/sec with this fix. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but it makes a huge difference when transferring 1TB. :) Thanks!!!


noex May 24, 2009 at 4:05 am

my mb is intel g31pr. the usb drives took 3 minutes to transfer 700mb data. i ve latest drivers. dont know how to increase speed. whereas my second machine took only 45 seconds to copy the same.


jeff June 14, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Transfering video into toshiba satellite p105-s6124. Vista 32 ultimate sp1. That was a clean install, not an upgrade, The hardware was Xp. All latest patches. May be slowed by norton av or system works.

my 16gig stick only 50% full, was starting at 26mb/sec rapidly dropping to 3mb/sec, on quick removal

now the slowest speed is 7mb/sec, so that is a 110% increase

I think the problem is one of heat in the stick. If I had a can of freeze mist, I could wet the stick and verify that.


I’ve been searching for a solution for many days, this one works.
My device manager says all is well.



Mohamud October 31, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Thanks for the info. This did help alot. Its surprising how little coverage this issue gets on the net. I Installed a new harddrive and switched from XP home to Professional and that was the first issue I encountered. Transfer speed was Awsome on the Home edition but slowed to a crawl on Professional. I scoured the internet for an answer but I kept getting “oh just download service pack” which I did, still no help. I even asked a family friend who is an IT professional and he couldn’t help me either. This is the first Credible solution to the problem and I thank you very much :)


Mohamud October 31, 2009 at 10:35 pm

after further review I noticed that this method although greatly helps. It still doesn’t run as quick as it used to. Even compared to my laptop the transfer speed is slow……But still it is alot better than waiting 2 hours for a 2gb file to transfer


Taffy January 3, 2010 at 6:34 am

Brilliant, cant believe the difference, Many thanks


me June 1, 2010 at 1:09 am

Now we need quick removal (without annoying explorer interaction) to remove the better performing drives in XP


LuTELLO June 14, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Makes no difference for me. The eta keeps going up and up and up. God, this no-name external enclosure I got is crap. Or maybe it’s the drive?


LuTELLO June 17, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Scratch that. I found out that it indeed is the drive. Never shop at Fry’s.


Sambit June 24, 2010 at 10:38 am

Thanks for the Suggestion it helped me a lot


Lász August 21, 2010 at 10:25 am

Thanks a bunch! That made a HUGE difference. Too bad i only figured this out after having copied almost all of my files, but i guess better late than never;P


Shol September 13, 2010 at 2:44 pm

GREAT!! Made a big difference – thank you!


Bob November 7, 2010 at 2:59 pm

It tried this and there was no change in speed at all. I’m getting around 10 MB/s. Too slow…. Thanks for the idea though.


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