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I'm about to move audio files off my laptop before reformatting so that I can move them back again once its complete.

A friend of mine believes that cutting/pasting will be quicker than copying/pasting because the system doesn't need to duplicate the files, only simply move them.

Is this true?

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You still have to actually write the data there, so why should copying be slower than moving? – slhck Jun 9 '12 at 15:03
Actually moving will take few milliseconds longer - because file system metadata on origin drive would need to be updated. :) – Josip Medved Jun 9 '12 at 15:41
I don't think you want to be cutting without pasting if you want to keep the data.... – ck. Jun 9 '12 at 16:33
@Dracs This wouldn't be the case if it wasn't across multiple drives. I think thats probably where hes got the idea from. – Curt Jun 11 '12 at 8:31
@Curt Well you said to a USB pen drive, so I assumed you meant from one drive to another. If it's the same drive then yes cutting can be faster. – Dracs Jun 11 '12 at 8:35
up vote 9 down vote accepted

The files still need to be moved onto the drive, thus a copy still needs to be made; bit for bit. There should not be any significant changes. (If it was moving a file from the 2 locations on the same disk, cutting would take less time as it only has to re-write the location of the file and not the file itself.)

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You're all wrong and your friend is correct. Cutting and pasting is faster, since it is just moving. When copying, an additional copy needs to be created and it takes about twice as long.

(I know for sure because I just tried to copy my hard drive to micro SD card.. took forever.. tried cutting and it was much faster...)

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False. Moving is faster when the source and destination are on the same volume (because the system just updates the parent folder), but when they're on different volumes/drives, the data has to get copied anyway. – Ben N Dec 30 '15 at 16:26

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