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  September 12, 2014

A Quick Guide to Testing Your USB Drive’s Speed



“How can I test the speed of both my 2.0 and 3.0 USB memory drives?”‘, some of our readers inquired. If you are looking for an answer to this question, then you are reading the right article.

Of course, there are various available solutions. Sitting in front of your computer, stopwatch in hand, calculating the necessary time for transferring a 100 MB file from internal to external drives might be a valid solution. However, this method is prone to errors, wearisome, and not precisely accurate.

Even though it is not an infallible method either, using benchmarking software is, by far, a much better solution. All tests created for benchmarking will, to a certain degree, show their designers’ biases: small files vs. big files, writing vs. reading, and the list can go on. However, a good program will still be able to tell you which drives are faster when compared to others.

Keeping this present, here are a couple of free programs I highly recommend:

USB Flash Benchmark

This program, apart from being free, is also portable. Moreover, there is absolutely no need for you to install the program to use it. Though the user interface is pretty busy, it is not difficult. You simply plug in your drive and then select it. The last step is pressing the Benchmark D: button. Once the testing is finished, the displayed information might seem a little bit confusing and overwhelming. Fortunately though, a pop-up window will provide you with the URL that takes you to the online results, which include the Write and Read speeds.


HD Tune

This program is more than a simple benchmark tool. It is a well-developed drive diagnostic utility, able to test your drive’s health and, at the time, scan for errors. This program is the free, though less powerful, version of HD Tune Pro.

Once you have installed and launched the program, you just have to click the Benchmark tab and select your drive. Then you have to click Start and wait for the results. The program provides a single number, without distinguishing between writing and reading.



If you are a tech-geek, then this program is your best choice, as it allows you to create your own test. You can choose the size of the file, determine the number of times the test runs, if you need sequential copying, or random blocks. If you don’t know what this means, then this is not the right program for you.

CrystalDiskMark is available in both portable and installable versions. However, you must keep in mind that the installable version may come with possible unwanted programs.


Whichever program you decide to use, make sure to select the correct drive before the test begins.