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Windows 7: Startup Extremely Slow When External Hard Drive Attached

16 Jul 2011   #21

Windows 7 Professional 32 bit

i had this issue since i bought my pc a month ago. gave up looking for answers but as fortune would have it, i unknowingly stumbled upon the solution last night. i reconfigured my graphics set up by uninstalling ATI Catalyst Control Center and ATI Catalyst Install Manager. voila, it solved the slow boot up problem! if you don't use your computer for games, it's ok to remove the mentioned Catalyst applications and just keep the ATI display driver.

my WD Elements 1.5 TB has one primary partition and one extended partition with 3 logical drives. this came from my defunct wndows XP machine which had no startup issue. uninstalling Catalyst bundled apps really cut down startup time. now i can leave the usb HD plugged in during startup and reboots.

initially i disabled legacy usb function in bios but my 7 year old epson scanner began to act up, so i had to enable it again. i also plugged my keyboard and mouse into ps/2 ports via usb to ps/2 adapter.

even with the slow boot up solved, i left keyboard and mouse in their respective ps/2 ports.

my system:
* windows 7 professional sp1
* intel core i3-2100 second generation processor
* gigabyte motherboard h61m-d2p-b3
* ati radeon hd5670 graphics adapter

maybe my reply will be able to help someone.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Aug 2011   #22


Hi Kak2a2,
i've seen ur topic regards upgrading ur Sony VGN-SZ79MN from windows Vista to 7 64-bit and iam wiling to do the same but i have faced lot of problems with drivers pls i'll be greatful if u do tell me how to upgrade it properly because the guarentee wouldn't cover it as they told me.
kind regards
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Feb 2012   #23

64 bit

My OS runs on a 64gb SSD, i7 processor, 12gb ddr3, 64 bit, windows 7 boot time was originally 18-22 seconds. One day my boot time jumped to about 2 minutes. During that same period of time my computer started glitching randomly and MY INTERNET WAS TERRIBLE. consistently reported 60-90% packet loss. Websites loaded funny or not even at all. I complained to my ISP and I accomplished nothing. I thought maybe I had a virus or something. I was close to trashing everything and starting over. One day I unplugged my 1TB WD external harddrive and to my amazement my boot time was about 25 seconds. As I continued to use my computer I noticed enhance performance in almost every aspect. My internet browsing experience was amazing again. 0% packet loss and everything is loading normally now. I can even use VOIP again.

I now only have my external hard drive plugged in for a few seconds when I need to transfer a file. Every time I plug the drive into my computer everything starts messing up again. Very strange. I have had other external drives in the past and never experienced this problem. I tried all the different USB ports on my computer, I reinstalled the drivers, bought another USB cord and nothing seemed to help. This was a very frustrating experience and days of my life wasted trying to trouble shoot.

**Also, other computers (and even my iphone) connected to the same network also experience glitches and poor internet service when the external hard drive is connected to my computer. Somehow it effects other devices through my router.

I just wanted to share my experience in case someone else out there is experiencing the same thing.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

29 May 2012   #24

windows 7 ultimate 64bit

How it operates is simple, we set a registry key that tells the UsbStor driver not to load on boot:
Start = 4 (Disabled) - Don’t start the driver on boot
Start = 3 (Enabled) - Start the driver on boot
this should work!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 May 2012   #25
Microsoft MVP


More likely it is boot sector code interfering as discovered in numerous cases since this thread was active. If checking File System with Partition Wizard doesn't resolve issues, move the data off to wipe the external from the PW Disk tab, run Diskpart Clean Command. Then repartition using PW or Disk Mgmt.

There is then no longer any code which can interfere with boot, such as nt60 bootsecting , corrupt or bad code.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 May 2012   #26

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

I still think BIOS POST is a likely cause. Some external HDDs need time to "wake up".
You can connect your ext HDDs after boot.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Feb 2015   #27

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

I'm not sure if this is still an active issue for anyone because I couldn't find any recent threads on the topic, but I solved this somewhat inelegantly for myself using one of the above posts. The disable start up for the USBSTOR driver resolves the issue, but I then cannot use my external device until I re-enable start up for USBSTOR and then disable/re-enable my USB Mass Storage devices. My solution is to disable start up of USBSTOR and the devices on shutdown, and then automatically re-enable the start up reg key for USBSTOR and associated mass storage devices when I've booted. This way I don't have to unplug my external, and I don't have to manually stop and start anything.

First I downloaded the correct 64 bit version of DevCon from
My DevCon is installed in C:\ProgramFiles\Devcon\ia64 as well as C:\Windows\System32 (for cmd prompt use) but you can adjust the final script to your location.

Next I ran Devcon to find my USB Mass Storage Device via command prompt code devcon find USB*. I have 2 instances of USB Mass Storage Device:
USB\VID_05E3&PID_0723\000000009451 : USB Mass Storage Device
USB\VID_1058&PID_1230\574343344530303734323036 : USB Mass Storage Device
To shorten the future command and verify it would affect 1 device, I ran devcon find *PID_1230 and devcon find *PID_0723. Now I am all set to create the script.

I used Powershell because that is what I'm familiar with; below is my full script:


if (-not (test-path "$env:ProgramFiles\Devcon\ia64\devcon.exe"))
{throw "$env:ProgramFiles\Devcon\ia64\devcon.exe needed"}

set-alias devcon "$env:ProgramFiles\Devcon\ia64\devcon.exe"

If ($enable.ToLower() -eq "y")
    reg add "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\USBSTOR" /t Reg_dword /v Start /f /d 3
    devcon enable *PID_1230
    devcon enable *PID_0723

Elseif ($enable.ToLower() -eq "n")
    reg add "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\USBSTOR" /t Reg_dword /v Start /f /d 4
    devcon disable *PID_1230
    devcon disable *PID_0723
My script is saved as EnableUSBM.ps1 on my C: drive; I also made a batch file that simply runs this script called EnableUSBM.bat with the following code:

powershell.exe -file "c:\EnableUSBM.ps1"
I copied the batch file to "C:\Windows\System32\GroupPolicy\Machine\Scripts\Startup" and

Along with that, I copied the script to "C:\Windows\System32\GroupPolicy\Machine\Scripts\Shutdown" but renamed it to DisableUSBM.bat and edited it to use the following code:
powershell.exe -file "c:\EnableUSBM.ps1" -enable n
Open gpedit.msc and under local policy goto Windows Settings -> Scripts. Add the EnableUSBM.bat script to Startup and add the DisableUSBM.bat to Shutdown. You should now have USBSTOR set to not start up after every shutdown. On boot, the script should run and reset USBSTOR to allow start up and enable the devices so your external is ready when you log in without having to plug/unplug or turn off/on.

This gave me about 10 seconds better boot time (from 34 sec to 24 sec) without having to mess with my external. It may be possible to shave another few sec off if I remove the start up script and have it run on log on instead of boot (via Task Scheduler). With the current setup, my external is ready to go when I log in, though you may want to disable AutoPlay in either case so you don't get that pop up on login.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Startup Extremely Slow When External Hard Drive Attached

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