TechSpot

Yet another external HDD slow transfer rate under Vista

By Angar
Aug 17, 2010
Post New Reply
  1. Hello there!


    I've looked about everywhere I could to solve this issue, to no avail up to now, so I really hope someone here might have some answer...

    Here's the pitch:

    I'm under Vista Home Premium (not by choice though, believe me). ALL of my USB plugs are 2.0, yet for some reason, one of my 3 external HDDs, or its USB enclosure to be more specific (as it is the faulty part -- my other 2 work fine) will always connect in USB1.1 (transfer rate toping at an average of a pathetic 800-900 Kib/s, and dumb warning from Vista that using another USB plug would increase performances).
    The interesting part is that, in some particular situations (yet very hard for me to replicate since it will only work one time out of a random number of tries), like for instance unplugging the drive while it's working (and that's not something I like to do), switching it off and on again and then plugging it back (all this in a couple of seconds), the drive would then connect in USB2.0 and I'd have the correct transfer rate (around 20 Mib/s or so I guess).
    Which means it is not a configuration problem (with IRQs or with the way my preferences are set in Vista) I suppose : it proves the HDD CAN actually transfer with acceptable USB2.0 rate, and Vista can also make it happen and support it with this particular HDD! The problem obviously lies with the connection process which is flawed at first, and I can't figure out why for the life of me.


    Not quite sure what technical info about my machine is relevant with this kind of problem, so I won't provide any yet, but just ask if you believe more details could help narrow it down.

    While not an expert per se, I am no average user. I tried hard to figure out a way by myself before resorting to ask for help, so I'm hoping somebody here will maybe have some insightful advices and tricks for me to try and fix this.
    But please, no obvious/beginner solutions as I've already tried everything from that level and more (eg. changing cables, switching to other plugs, changing the removal strategy to "Optimize for better performances", etc. as I've seen advised on many forums before).


    Thanks a bunch in advance to anybody taking the time to read this and reply.
    -- Angar

    (Note: obvious enough, the ultimate solution for me will be to buy a new USB enclosure, one that will prove fully compatible with stupid Vista, like my other two are, and I intend to do just that ASAP, but until I do, a workaround would prove really helpful!)
     
  2. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,373   +167

  3. Angar

    Angar TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Mmmh, I'll admit I've never had the opportunity to try it on another comp yet (bought it fairly recently).

    I'm going to try your advice and reinstall these drivers (although I'm wondering a bit: given that my other enclosures work absolutely fine already, am I wrong in assuming the drivers are working just as fine and the trouble probably lie elsewhere?)


    (Thanks for your quick reply BTW!)
     
  4. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,373   +167

    They probably are.. tho still IMO it's worth a shot IF you think the problem isn't in the drive itself... since it's not that hard to reinstall the USB and chipset drivers just to try it out

    So since you haven't tested it elsewhere, you can decide should want to reinstall the drivers before or after you see if the problem moves with the drive itself
     
  5. Angar

    Angar TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok, went through the reinstall, which unfortunately as feared didn't solve the problem.
    Interestingly (I should have tried that many days ago actually) I also finally tested it under Ubuntu (on the same computer! -- using their amazing boot CD) and guess what? the transfer problem doesn't occur there!

    Which definitely makes it a problem related to Vista. Yet, since the USB plug itself isn't to blame, my other external HDs work alright, and the drivers appear fine, it is also definitely related to the USB enclosure (I tried it with a couple of my other HDDs BTW and then the problem's the same), all of which doesn't exactly narrow anything down, does it? (^_^)


    As I stated before, the problem is more specifically with the way the enclosure _connects_, which for some reason makes Vista detect it as USB1.1.
    Any more ideas? Please keep 'em coming... (^_-)
     
  6. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 4,684   +86

    Go into the BIOS and disable Legacy USB support this would force the system to use the USB as 2.0 instead of 1.1. You need to up ditch Vista and get 7 when you can? To much headaches for MS so that's why 7 is here. Just saying if you can't just still work out Vista. Couple of things you can do is backup your, History, Cookies, Desktop Icons, My Docs then go into the Safe Mode under System Properties delete your current Profile. Then will be rebuild when you log back into Vista. (Warning doing so will or not make certain apps work correctly) Just letting you know a head of time.
     
  7. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,373   +167

    It can be worthwhile checking USB legacy support but also some clarifications/warnings

    > The USB Legacy Support option does not control USB 1.1 vs. 2.0
    > Rather it controls whether or not system BIOS provide USB emulation to your USB h/w before the OS starts. Once OS starts, it provides the USB fucntionality
    ==> Meaning Legacy Support ENABLED means BIOS provides USB emulation mode till OS takes over

    This BIOS option was pretty common on m/b's around Win 98 and XP days. Less so now (So don't be surprised if option not found on newer boards)

    Also, as I understand it:
    You need be careful because: IF you disable USB Legacy support in BIOS you will need non-USB mice/keyboard to get back into your BIOS to turn it back on (so make sure you have non-USB mouse/keyboard access as well)
     
  8. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 4,684   +86

    Old BIOS and up to 2008 you can disable the Legacy. Unless that feature is no longer available. Last 2009 BIOS still had it in there. I disabled mine. But you seem to have it enabled!
     
  9. Angar

    Angar TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks a lot guys! Incidentally, my computer is a laptop, so no USB mouse/keyboard issues anyway.
    Not at home this week-end but I'm gonna try and disable that option in the BIOS (if it's there) ASAP and will report here wether that fixes anything.
     
  10. Angar

    Angar TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok, well I HAD the option all right in the BIOS. Disabled it. Didn't change anything to my problem unfortunately... I must say I'mstarting to loose hope (what with absolutely no solution provided anywhere despite many people reporting this issue on countless forums).
    I'm still welcoming and looking forward to any clever idea about it though, of course. Thanks for trying... (^_-)

    (Note: Yes, I'm well aware the issue is likely to appear only under the crap that is vista. I can't exactly change to another OS on this computer though at the moment)
     
  11. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,373   +167

    1) I don't recall.. did you test your HD on other computers? Does the problem move with the HD? Or the HD work consistently as 2.0 on other computers?

    2) I'd now suggest the same advice i just told someone else here. Try booting into Knoppix. Test your HD again. If it now works, it's a Windows problem. Otherwise, it's your computer and/or the HD
     
     
  12. Angar

    Angar TS Rookie Topic Starter

    1 and 2- I already tested it on the very same laptop, but under Ubuntu/Linux (using the magic CD without having to install the OS itself -- not that I'd not do it if I could but the laptop I'm using at the moment's not actually mine), and the problem doesn't apply there! The HD connects correctly as 2.0 like it should under Ubuntu.

    As I stated in a message above, what I conclude of this is that it definitely makes it a problem related to Vista, yet since the USB plugs themselves aren't to blame, my other external HDs work alright, and the drivers appear fine, it is also definitely related to the USB enclosure (I tried it with a couple of my other HDDs BTW and then the problem's the same), all of which doesn't exactly narrow anything down, does it?

    Therefore the problem is more specifically with how the enclosure _connects_, which for some reason makes Vista detect it as USB1.1. Somehow this didn't help anyways as I still can't figure it out... (T_T)
     


Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...


Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.