I recently bought new USB 3.0 flash drive (write speed: 110 MB/s, read speed: 190 MB/s). And I have Dell XPS 13 (it has SSD and USB 3.0).

My problem is speed of copying files to the USB flash stick.

When I formatted it to FAT32 or EXT2, EXT3, EXT4, the speed was around 100 MB/s. But with NTFS it's only around 20-30 MB/s.

But I don't think the problem is writing data to the USB stick. It seems the problem is reading from SSD when I'm copying files to the NTFS drive. Because when I look to the indicator-multiload, the read speed is around 30 MB/s, but the write is around 100 MB/s (see the graph: http://ubuntuone.com/3zHzUFfR9QGjeV62Qpq6va).

Another proof is simple program that I wrote in Java, which only read data from SSD and write them to USB stick. The speed with this program was also around 100 MB/s.

Does anybody know, how to improve native copying (cp command) to get the full speed with NTFS drive?

Thank you very much!

PS: I'm new Ubuntu user.


I test it now with 3.9 GB file:

CTRL+C/CTRL+V in Nautilus: 1:58 (34 MB/s)
Command "cp": 1:39 (40 MB/s)
Java program: 0:44 (90 MB/s)


If anyone wants to try it. Here is the program (for Java 7), that I used (source + compiled): http://ubuntuone.com/0KQgANrgN17izZm5fDPayJ

To test it, just cd to the bin folder and run:

java NtfsCopy source destination

or run:

java NtfsCopy

to see the usage.

NOTICE: Please notice that this program has not been tested, so use it at your own risk. To check if the file was copied correctly, use md5sum or sha1sum or something similar.

  • the actual performances of your USB devices depend on the a) BIOS b) OS/kernel c) driver d) filesystem . For NTFS it's natural to under-perform especially when compared to really new FS like ext4. Dec 25, 2012 at 15:06
  • Well, but why is the Java program faster?
    – branoholy
    Dec 26, 2012 at 16:16
  • I am getting interested too now. NTFS is indeed slower.
    – Dr_Bunsen
    Dec 26, 2012 at 16:26
  • @Dr_Bunsen You can try the Java program, see my EDIT 2.
    – branoholy
    Dec 26, 2012 at 20:33
  • @Iceman, nice piece of code there. I think I will use it the next time I have to transfer big stuff ;). Definitely something worth keeping. But for your question, I think it's really the difference in code, nothing more. Look up the source of Nautilus and cp.
    – Dr_Bunsen
    Dec 27, 2012 at 11:01

2 Answers 2


You don't know whether the problem is reading from the SSD or writing to the USB. So, instead of copying SSD -> USB, try copying SSD -> Hard Drive -> USB.

  • 1
    I'm almost sure, the problem is reading from the SSD. Take a look here, this is graph from indicator-multiload: ubuntuone.com/3zHzUFfR9QGjeV62Qpq6va. Anyway I don't have HDD, I have only SSD.
    – branoholy
    Dec 27, 2012 at 20:34

I had the same problems copying files from ext4 to NTFS. But, in my case, they were on the same physical disk, just different partitions. However, I've found out in the tests, that using rsync is faster as I got 80kB/s on average.

  • You're welcome. Just notice that the program has not been tested, so use it at your own risk. To check if the file was copied correctly, use md5sum or sha1sum or something similar.
    – branoholy
    Jul 25, 2013 at 21:34

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