I am moving a 450GB folder from a portable hard disk (500GB total space) into my PC (6TB total space)

I have to create multiple copies of that 450GB folder in my PC but insufficient time caused me to copy and paste the folder multiple time (4 times to be exact)

I know maybe the best practice is to first copy and paste the 450GB folder into my PC and then duplicate that file from within my PC but for now this is the only way (please bear with me)

These 4 simultaneous pasting is estimated to be completed in 7 hours+. Is this bad for my portable hard disk?

Is there any other way to do this?

I don't have access to my PC after today (to be precise my office because weekends holiday)

  • Why would you paste the same data four times? Do you actually need that? If you don't, just cancel three of those transfers? – Seth Jan 26 '18 at 10:19
  • "Is this bad for my portable hard disk?" No. Why should it be. HDD are designed to be used. It is not bad. It is just slower and you probably have insignificiantly more wear and tear. I'll just round that down to 'Meh, no nod bad' for a one time copy. – Hennes Jan 26 '18 at 11:05
  • "Is there any other way to do this?" -- Yes. Hard to pick the best one, because the question is lacking basic details. What OS? What filesystem(s)? How many physical devices as targets? If copying to separate filesystems, the (Linux) solution is under this link (although if these are not on separate devices, this may be suboptimal). If to a single filesystem -- hardlinks. If you cannot use hardlinks because every copy needs to be modified independently afterwards -- a target filesystem supporting CoW does rock, e.g. Btrfs. – Kamil Maciorowski Jan 26 '18 at 11:13

Judging by the transfer speed of 2TB in approximately 7 hours that give a ballpark of somewhere around 100MB/s which means a USB3 drive rather than USB2 (which being generous could manage 35MB/s).

That means that your portable drive will be around full utilisation and therefore thrashing wildly for 7 hours. The same is likely to be true for your internal drive.

It's not a great situation for it to be in, but probably not drastically harmful. The drive would hopefully be a modern drive that supports command queuing and optimise the read pattern to minimise head travel, but drives are designed to do this sort of thing anyway.

You really would be better off finding a better way to handle your data though.


4 simultaneous copy-paste operations from the same source.
That is totally pointless and slows down everything by more than 4x.

Cancel 3 of those transfers and let the 1 remaining complete.
When that is done (probably in less than 1 hour) you can do any additional copies locally on the PC.

In general: Multiple copies from the same source, or to the same target are ALWAYS faster if done in sequence then when done in parallel. (And when source AND target reside on the same physical disk the performance is even worse when doing it in parallel.)

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