USB3 external HDD not behaving on one PC.

  Batch 16:08 14 May 15
Locked
Answered

I have two Windows 7 (32 bit) PCs with USB3. A laptop (with built-in USB3) and a desktop PC (hereinafter "PC") with an add-in USB3 PCI card.

Yesterday I took delivery of a Toshiba portable 1TB USB3 external HDD. It works fine with the laptop. It doesn't work so well with the PC (on USB3).

I already use USB3 ports on the desktop for a 3.5inch 2TB Segate external HDD and a couple of USB3 flash drives. Those work absolutely fine.

The new Toshiba works fine (albeit slower than full USB3) on the PC when connected to USB2.

I have downloaded and installed the latest VIA drivers for the USB3 on the PC and that makes no difference.

The symptoms are that anything other than small copies (at best a small number of small files) TO the Toshiba are very slow and hang unless I do some other activity on the PC (e.g. open a browser window or start my email client or ......) - in which case it gives a short burst of activity before slowing down / hanging again. If I keep initiating other non-related activities, it completes OK.

Deleting files also seems to be a bit of a problem (similar issues). But not so obviously so. Copying from the device is better (but probably still not perfect).

The Toshiba was supplied formatted as FAT32 and so I changed to NTFS (by deleting and recreating the partition), but no improvement.

In Resource Monitor, the disk shows at or very near 100% Active Time whilst the copies are (attempting) to run (even when it is apparently hanging). And the indicator on the device is flashing whilst all this is going on (suggesting it is busy even though nothing is really happening).

Also, cancelling a copy often takes a very long time to take effect (varies, but could easily be a couple of minutes or more).

Any ideas?

  wee eddie 17:57 14 May 15

Are you sure it's the EHD and not the PC that is the problem

  Batch 18:33 14 May 15

wee eddie,

I'm not suggesting it's one or the other - merely that the symptoms present themselves when using that ExtHDD on that PC. As I said, I've already tried updating the USB3 card drivers.

I've also tried changing the Write-Caching policy for the drive. Also disabled indexing for the drive (although my global settings would have prevented indexing anyhow). All to no avail.

  wee eddie 19:00 14 May 15

If the Drive behaves impeccably on the other Windows OS Machines, that you have mentioned, it rather puts the onus on either, the OS of that machine or, the machine itself.

  Batch 18:14 15 May 15

Currently suspecting that it might be a USB power supply issue.

I have an older USB2 portable external HDD that came with a Y cable so that it could draw power from 2 USB ports. Seems that also doesn't like working on the USB3 ports on that PC (but works fine elsewhere). So I've ordered a USB3 Y cable that has the microB connector at the other end for the USB3 caddy. So waiting on postman Doug now.

  rdave13 18:25 15 May 15

Could well be as I assume your 3.5inch 2TB Seagate external HDD is powered. I'd have possibly gone for a powered USB 3 hub.

  Batch 20:39 15 May 15

Yeah, 3.5 inch caddy is mains powered (not sure if you can get USB powered 3.5ers).

I though about a powered USB3 hub, but opted for the Y cable to start with (and only £3-ish on ebay. If it works, it's a whole lot neater. And, in any event, I can always put the extra power connector on a USB2 port which I know delivers enough power.

I've had problems in the past with USB ports not providing enough power. My ancient USB powered scanner had problems when I first got it. I established that my onboard VIA (again) USB under WinME was suspect (on the power front) and that there was a known driver issue relating to it. Downloaded latest drivers, but NBG. So ended up with a powered USB hub for that. Funnily enough, when I upgraded the PC to Windows XP the scanner worked fine directly off the PC's USB ports.

  Batch 11:53 18 May 15
Answer

Success

The USB Y cable (see earlier post) has worked (with the main USB3 plug connected to the USB3 PCI card and the extra USB power only plug that it provides plugged into my onboard USB2). Seems pretty clear that the USB3 PCI card does not deliver enough power.

Initially tried the Y cable with both connectors in the USB3 slots (so that it drew power from both slots - that's how these Y cables are supposed to be used), but still didn't work. So did as explained in paragraph above.

Inside the PC, the USB3 PCI card even has a separate power connector (to take an additional power feed off the PSU via a molex connector), which is definitely connected (and always has been). So I guess the card is not up to scratch on the power front (although it still drives the USB3 32GB flash drives OK)

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