How to Speed up Copying Files to External Hard Drive?

How to speed up copying files to external hard drive if your hard drive transfers files too slowly? In this post, you can learn some ways to speed up your external hard drive in five ways.


By Lucas / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Why is external hard drive transfer speed too slow?

Many users choose to use external hard drives to transfer data from their PCs or other devices since they are portable and less expensive than portable SSDs. However, after several months of usage, several consumers discovered that their external hard drives had a poor transfer rate. Why does an external hard drive operate slowly even when there are no other issues?

As an HDD, the external hard drive is also affected by the familiar reasons that make an internal hard drive speed slow:

Too many fragments
FAT32 file system
Excessive junk files
The driver of your external hard drive is outdated
Almost full without enough free space

What’s more, if you incautiously installed malware on your hard drive, it might also become slow or even be damaged. If you find your external hard drive suddenly becomes quite slow after you install suspicious software, you’d better uninstall it immediately and check the disk.

Do a quick disk speed test for your external hard drive

Doing a quick speed test for your external hard drive and comparing the result with normal value can help you make a quick judgment of the status of your hard drive. AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is a free disk and partition manager for Windows PC users. Its “Disk Speed Test” function can assist you to check your external hard drive speed in 4 steps.

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Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant, and then click "Test" and "Disk Speed Test".

Disk speed test

Step 2. All partitions will be listed here and you can choose the one you want to test and click "Start" to begin the process.

Start test

Step 3. After the speed test is complete, you can export the results.

Export result

◤ Note: If you need a more comprehensive test, please use Pro Mode.

Pro mode

5 ways to solve [how to speed up copying files to external hard drive]?

After the speed test, you will know more information about your external hard drive, and since you understand possible causes that might slow your external hard drive, in this part, we’ll show you 5 ways to faster your external hard drive transfer speed. You can try them all if you need.

Way 1. Cleanup junk files

Step 1. In the search box on the lower left of the desktop, type “disk cleanup” and hit “ENTER” to bring up the Disk Cleanup dialogue box.

Step 2. Select the disk you want to clean and hit “OK”.

Step 3. Tick what you want to clean and hit “OK”.


Step 4. Confirm the operation when asked.

Way 2. Optimize the disk performance

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.

Better performance

Way 3. Convert to NTFS file system

The file system type has a significant impact on the external hard disk transfer speed. NTFS storage devices perform quicker and more effectively while copying and transferring files. Thus, the most practical option to boost the performance of a USB 3.0 external hard drive is to change it from FAT32 to NTFS.

But, if you use Disk Management or Diskpart to convert the file system, all data on the target disk will be deleted. Thus, to avoid data loss, we recommend you AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, the advanced edition of the Standard one. This edition unlocks all features that can help you flexibly manage your HDD and SSD.

In this case, you can directly convert the file system without formatting it.

Step 1. Launch the AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. Right click the partition you want to convert and choose “Advanced”, then click “Convert to NTFS”.

Convert to NTFS

Step 2. Click "OK" in window.


Step 3. Click “Apply” to start performing the conversion.


Way 4. Defrag the external drive

Because of the various functioning laws of SSDs, HDDs will fracture as they age. After you remove or view the files, they may divide into another part. Fragmented hard disks might reduce hard disk performance; it is preferable to defrag the hard drive. The dispersed parts of a file will be stitched together in a single block to be accessible more rapidly by the hard disk via the defragmentation process.

As a versatile disk manager, AOMEI Partition Assistant can also do this for you. It can examine the entire disk and provide HDD information to advise you of the fragmented state of your HDD. It also features a schedule defrag tool to assist you defrag disks regularly.

Step 1. Launch AOMEI Partition Assistant, just right-click on the disk and select the "Disk Defrag" function.

Disk defragment

Step 2. Check the partition needed to be analyzed, and click "Analyze". You need to check the partition, not select it. Because this function currently only supports NTFS partitions, so it will only list NTFS partitions on SSD, HDD, and USB drives.


◤ Tip: You can click "Pause" to halt the process and resume later, or click "Stop" to end the analysis process completely.


Step 3. After the analysis is finished, you can click on "Details" to see more information about the analysis results.

Step 4. Click the "Defrag" button to start the defragmentation.


After the defragmentation is completed, the partition will be scored according to the defragmentation result.

◤ Warning: Do not defrag your SSD, this will hurt it or even damage it.

Way 5. Update or reinstall the driver

Updating or reinstalling the driver of the external hard drive might also be helpful.

Step 1. Press Windows + R to call out the Run dialogue box. And input devmgmt.msc and click the OK button.

Step 2. On the Device Manager window, expand “Disk drivers”, right-click the external hard drive, and then choose “Update driver”.

Update drive

To sum up

In this article we show you how to speed up copying files to external hard drive, hope your external hard drive can be faster than before. And we introduced you AOMEI Partition Assistant, a pragmatic disk management tool with many helpful features. Besides the features we’ve mentioned, it can also extend partition, clone disk, move folders and installed programs, and so on.

In addition, it has the Server Edition for Windows Server users and the Unlimited Edition for business users to efficiently manage multiple devices.

Lucas · Staff Editor
I prefer peaceful and quiet life during vacation,but sometimes I watch football match if my favorite club performs brilliantly in that season. And I love reading, painting and calligraphy, thus I send my friends festival handwriting cards every year.