File copying to USB 2 with Windows 8 Pro: No improvement

One of the supposed enhancements in Windows 8 Pro is with file copying. Both in the interface (which does seem better and offers more options) and with the performance. Admittedly the file copy performance is supposed to be over LANs (local area networks) and to USB 3 devices. But I thought I would try out a comparison with a USB 2 thumb drive—because my laptop computer does not have any USB 3 ports so I can’t test that.

Well, based on my testing I can advise you that there is no apparent difference in copy speeds, either to or from, a USB 2 thumb drive.

In my first test I did the “hundreds of small files” type copy where I copied 4,063 small files totalling 1.2GB to and from an Imation USB 2 thumb drive; first using Windows 7 and then using Windows 8. This was done on the same PC, a Toshiba Tecra A5 which is set up for dual-booting between Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Copying these files to the USB drive on Windows 7 took 7:33.1 (7 minutes and 33.1 seconds). Using Windows 8 it took 7:31.7. Basically exactly the same time when you allow for delays in hitting the state/stop ‘button’ on the timer on my smartphone.

Copying these files back to the computer’s hard disk on Windows 7 took 1:29.3 and with Windows 8 it was 1:31.7. Again—basically exactly the same.

My second test involved copying a single huge file. The file I used for the test was a 4.17GB mkv video file.

Copying this to the USB 2 thumb drive with Windows 7 took a massive 18:36.0 (almost 20 minutes). I expected that maybe Windows 8 was going to make a difference with this file. But then on Windows 8 it took 19:02.6. No useful difference here and Windows 8 actually took a tiny bit longer than Windows 7 to complete the copy.

Copying from the thumb drive back to the computer took 4:58.7 for Windows 7 and 4:27.9 for Windows 8.

So the bottom line here is that for copying back and forth to USB 2 thumb drives there is no performance improvement to be expected from using Windows 8 vs. Windows 7.

I can’t do any testing of USB 3 performance, which is one of the areas where there is supposed to be an improvement, but I can test copying over a network to my QNAP server. I will do that at some point and you can be sure I will let you know what happens.