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Windows 7 - problems with external USB hard drive


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I've been using W7 for several months without any problem. However I noticed recently that the normally quick boot was very much slower with a dark screen after log-on and before the desktop appears.

After removing each item from my Start menu I found these had no effect. However if I removed a new USB hard drive the boot reverted to it's normal quick mode.

Further investigation showed that this was a problem associated with Vista as well as W7 in combination with Western Digital (WD) hard drives and neither WD or MS have issued a fix.

The cause (and solution) is the external USB hard drive is formatted with FAT. If this is converted to NTFS the problem disappears instantly.

I used the Windows 7 / Vista command (from Run):

convert X: /FS:NTFS where X is the drive letter

This converts the format whilst preserving the data. However I backed up crucial data just to be safe. The process is quick taking just a few minutes to convert a 500 GB WD disk with 200 GB of data.

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That is very useful to know. I have a WD External hard drive but fortunately it is on NTFS.

The other problem I have had is some WD ext harddrives don't work well with the switch off sequence in Intellipanels. I got an Intellipanel panel altered by the manufacturer to increase the switch off delay to 11 seconds instead of the normal 5 or 6. That fixed it Good reliable hard drives though.

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