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Windows 7: External HD major slowdown - How do I find the cause?

13 Jun 2012   #1
Kemf

MS Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit SP1
 
 
External HD major slowdown - How do I find the cause?

Hi,

I have a 1TB external HD that has been great for the last 2 years. Now it runs very slowly. Movies are unwatchable; they play for .3 seconds and pause for 2 seconds in a continuous loop. I can't even navigate the file system in explorer without having to wait much longer than normal.

How do I diagnose the issue? All I can tell is that the drive still has ample space left (about 120 GB). Nothing on my internal HD is affected.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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14 Jun 2012   #2
Dwarf

Windows 8.1 Pro RTM x64
 
 

Could be a number of reasons. I would start with the easiest and try a different USB cable and different ports on your computer. This alone might be enough to bring it back up to speed, if the reason for the slowdown was the port dropping down to USB 1.1 mode instead of 2.0.

IF this still doesn't work, we might need to look at the possibility of the drive interface in the external housing starting to go flaky. Are you able to strip the case down and connect the drive to an internal connector? Note that you don't need to physically mount the drive in your computer, so long as you can attach power and data cables to it. This eliminates the USB cable and the enclosure electronics, thus checking the drive function directly.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jun 2012   #3
R4dul

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
 
 

Dwarf is right, it can be anything from a worn, flimsy usb cable to the known plague of Windows 7 usb slowdown bug. The bug however appears as i'vea learned only for Windows 7 without service pack or without built in service pack. So it doesn't help to just get service pack from windows update. To check that, connect the drive to different usb's to trick Windows into thinking it's a different one. If your drive is a "smart" drive it may also have an OS of it's own, and if by any chance it has a LAN port you can be certain that's the case. If it's not under warranty just open the case and try the hard disk itself like Dwarf said. Even if it appears to work properly you may want to run some test software on it - there will always be one available from the manufacturer.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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14 Jun 2012   #4
karlsnooks

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit
 
 

Kempf,
After following Dwarf's advice, do you still have problems?

His advice will help greatly in fault-isolation of your problem.

Thanks,
karl
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jun 2012   #5
F5ing

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

It would also help if you mentioned the make and model of the drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jun 2012   #6
Kemf

MS Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit SP1
 
 

Hi;

Switching usb ports doesn't help and seems to make the problem worse. I've found a temporary solution; if I leave the hard drive plugged in for 20+ minutes the problem seems to go away. The drive is a Western Digital Elements 1TB External HD:

http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digita.../dp/B002QEBMB4

I honestly don't know how to open up my laptop computer and run special connectors directly to the hard drive; I hope there is another way because I'm notoriously bad at putting things back together correctly!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jun 2012   #7
karlsnooks

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit
 
 

Kemf,

Be sure and use SPECCY to gather info:
Update your SevenForums System Specs
User CP (located on the top menu bar) |
Your Profile | Edit System Spec
(left-hand column)

To gather info, use Speccy (my favorite) or SIW or System Info

ADD the word laptop or desktop or netbook to the
“system manufacturer” block, for example,
Toshiba Satellite L305D notebook.

Provide full windows version info, for example:
MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit

Use the “Other Info” block for Optical Reader,
Mouse, touchpad, wifi adapter, speakers, monitor, etc

Scroll down and click on SAVE CHANGES.
===========================================================

karl
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jun 2012   #8
karlsnooks

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit
 
 

Kemf,
Have you considered replacing the power adapter for that drive?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jun 2012   #9
Kemf

MS Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit SP1
 
 

Hi; I updated my spec profile. I have not considered changing the power adapter; how can I test if that is the issue? (short of buying another one)

Because the drive seems to work better when it is plugged into the computer for more than 20 minutes I am led to believe that the issue is USB or connectivity related.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jun 2012   #10
karlsnooks

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit
 
 

If you think it is USB-related, then did you carry out each and every step that Dwarf suggested?

For that adapter, you are cheaper buying another one than building a test rig to test your present adapter under load conditions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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