I have just set up my pi with a couple of different distros (first the squeeze that came installed on it, then the wheezy (but that wouldn't initialise the USB drive ie light never came on and pi never saw it as attached) and then raspbmc) but I don't seem to get more than 1.3 MB/s when transferring files to the USB drive attached to the pi from my windows machines. This doesn't seem like a lot and I'm sure the pi can handle more than that, so what can I do to improve the situation?

I'm connected via ethernet, I forgot to say.

  • Samba is slow is general. There is samba2 which is much faster. But I am sure you will get faster speeds when you plug the usb drive direct onto the Pi. I get more than 10mb/s to a nifs share on my Ubuntu NAS with ZFS
    – Piotr Kula
    Jun 12, 2013 at 7:42

1 Answer 1


I have an USB HDD connected to the headless Pi, used basically for file storage and things like that. File transfer speeds over 100Mbit Ethernet are about 5-7MB/sec. However my drive is formatted as ext3. Please, login to your Pi and check the raw write speed using:

$ dd if=/dev/zero of=tempfile.tmp count=10 bs=100M

you should cd to your HDD before issuing this command or specify full path along with tempfile.tmp. You should get something about 20-30 MB/s for your HDD. This would tell you if the bottleneck is the HDD or your network setup.

  • thanks lenik, if I format as ext3 will I still be able to read/write to it from windows machines on my network?
    – Sam Holder
    Jun 12, 2013 at 15:04
  • sure, as long as you access it over samba other machines would have no slightest idea what's the disk format. you won't be able to plug it to the win-box directly though, but I think you are not going to anyway =) but first, please, check the write speed, maybe NTFS is fast enough to leave it as it is.
    – lenik
    Jun 12, 2013 at 23:45

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