Ubuntu – What’s a fast way to copy a lot of files from an internal hard-drive to external (USB) storage

hard driveUbuntu

I have a large amount of data – about 500 GB – on the internal hard drive of a desktop PC. This includes music, videos, PDFs… you name it.

I want to copy everything to an external USB hard drive (1.5 tb capacity).

The desktop PC runs Ubuntu. To begin with, I simply plugged in and mounted the hard drive and dragged the top-level folder onto the drive.

It's started copying, but it seems to be proceeding very slowly. About 10 minutes later and it's only done about 500 MB. I'm sure this is slower than what I could achieve with less total data.

So I'm wondering if there's a quicker way of doing this.

Would it be better to copy it in sections (i.e. 500MB or so) rather than all at once?

Best Answer

Make sure that you are using a USB2.0 port and make sure the USB 2.0 controller says "high speed" -- a lot of disreputable manufacturers sell the "full speed (12)" USB devices with a prominent "USB 2.0" label on them, which is technically accurate but fools people who think USB 2.0 implies "High speed".

Also check if your USB hard disk has the "sync" mount option enabled? This is another cause for slowdown. You can remount the filesystem with

mount -o remount,async... /dev/usbdisk ...