How to Optimize USB Storage for Better Performance on Windows 11/10?

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How do I optimize USB storage for better performance on Windows 11/10? Starting Windows 10 October 2018 Update, Microsoft no longer optimizes external storage devices for “Better Performance” Windows 11/10. Instead, it optimizes them for “Quick Removal.”

Better Performance and Quick Removal in Windows 11/10

Microsoft includes two different policies for external storage devices connected via USB, whether it’s a USB thumb drive or an external hard drive. Each storage device has its own specific policy setting so that you can select different policies for different devices. For example, you can apply the Better Performance policy on USB A and the Quick Removal policy for USB B.

As said above, starting Windows 10 October 2018 Update, by default, Windows 10  and Windows 11 both use the “Quick Removal” policy. Whenever you connect your USB drive to a PC and write to the drive, Windows writes the data to the drive as quickly as possible when the Quick Removal policy is selected. This policy ensures you can remove the USB drive without using the “Safely Remove Hardware” option. A program may be writing to your USB drive in the background anyway. Still, this feature dramatically reduces the risk of data corruption if you’re in the habit of safely removing storage devices before unplugging them.

However, this Quick Removal feature can slow down other programs that you are using. For instance, when you’re saving a file to the external drive, the program you’re using may stop and wait for the save process to finish before you can continue working.

On the other hand, the “Better performance” policy does not slow down your program. Windows will cache write operations to the drive and let applications proceed as if they had already written the data. Windows then performs the write operation in the background. This policy has a disadvantage. It can result in data loss in some situations. You will think that the data are saved and remove the drive, but the data wasn’t actually saved on your disk, and the files on the drive will corrupt. That’s why Microsoft has yet provided the option “Safely Remove Hardware.” So ensure before unplugging a drive from Windows 11/10, use this “Safely Remove Hardware” feature. Windows will not allow removing the external drive until it writes all the cached data to disk, ensuring all your data is safe before removing the external drive.

However, it’s unclear how much performance will improve your Windows 11/10 PC if you choose the Better Performance option. It should depend on the speed of your external storage device. Microsoft thinks that the default “Quick Removal” is good enough for most people who avoid data loss; hence, this policy applies to a USB flash drive by default. After all, you have the option to switch between Better Performance and Quick Removal; you can choose either option wisely.

How to Optimize USB Storage for Better Performance on Windows 11/10?

As said above, you need to apply the Better Performance policy separately on each external drive if you have more than one. However, once the policy is applied, Windows will remember for the next time when you connect the same USB drive again to your PC. So, if you change this option for one USB flash drive, it will not be applied to another flash drive. However, if you plug the same USB flash drive into another PC, you need to configure this policy again.

Step 1. Connect your USB flash drive to Windows 11/10 PC.

Step 2. Bring up Run dialog box by pressing Windows + R keys altogether from the keyboard.

Step 3. Now, type diskmgmt.msc in the Run box and press Enter key from the keyboard to launch the Disk Management tool.

Step 4. Look for the USB flash drive entry at the bottom of the Disk Management window and then right-click it. Select Properties from the available options.

Step 5. In the USB Device Properties dialog box, navigate to the Policies tab and select the Better performance option.

Step 6. Finally, click on the OK button.

If you change your mind and want to apply the default policy Quick Removal, repeat the above steps, and in step 5. select the same.

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