Howto: Fix Slow USB 2.0 file transfer on Windows XP

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.

Comments [16]

  1. 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!!!

  2. 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!!!

  3. 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.

  4. thanks,
    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.


  5. 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 🙂

  6. 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

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

  8. 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?

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

  9. 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

  10. 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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