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Old 07-29-2014, 10:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Bizzare Hard Drive issues

I have a bizarre problem which makes little sense. I have a couple of extreme theories about what it might be and short of reinstalling the OS (which I'm not sure will fix it either) I'm not sure how to resolve it either. I will talk through the problem and my reasoning so far.

I currently have 3 USB 3.0 4TB external hard drives all less than 18 months old connected to my PC running windows 7. Plus a 3TB internal SATA 3 drive from 2012 and a 2TB internal which I think is probably SATA 2 running since 2010. They are both spindle disks. On top of that I have a 250GB SSD drive, less than a year old which the OS runs off.

A few months ago a bunch of the hard drives all suddenly started to lag. The 2 newest 4TB drives will take around 30 seconds to respond now if they have not been accessed for around 30 minutes or so. Also the 2 internal spindle disks also do exactly the same thing and all these hard drives started doing this around the same time - Maybe 6 months ago perhaps? However, I had a different 4TB external at the time (yes a 4th one!) which is no longer connected. That was one of the 1st batch of spontaneously sluggish drives. I no longer have it connected to the machine, but I bought another brand new 4TB ext which is one of the 3 connected now and from the very 1st day it was sluggish in exactly the same way!

Strangely the other 2 hard drives do not slug. That is the oldest 4TB external which I started using in May 2013, and the 250GB SSD.

Ok, so as for my reasoning. First, I dont think it is a problem with the hard drives as first of all the whole effected batch started screwing up all at the same time. Secondly although all the 4TB are the same model more or less, one of the ones that doesn't lag is also the same brand! They are HGST/Hitachi TOURO drives. Although Hitachi was bought out by HGST, and all the drives since HGST took over are the ones that lag. The oldest one is the only one with Hitachi brand name on it, and all the others are HGST. Even though they otherwise all look pretty much the same. But as I said, 2 older internal SATA drives from Western Digital are lagging too in exactly the same way.

I figured it could be a problem with USB drivers, but then why would SATA drives do the same thing? I figured it could be a problem with the OS , but then why the problem with just some drives and not others. If figured it could be an energy saving feature on that hard drives, but then why would it effect the older ones when it didn't before? So then I figured it could be some nasty energy saving feature on windows that was brought in in an update. That would make sense in terms of why it didn't effect the SSD as there are no moving parts and it can activate quickly without having to power up, but then that doesn't explain why I dont have the same problem with the oldest external spindle drive! Also, I have tried swapping round the power cables around all the different drives, swapping the usb cables and the ports I use, and plugging in to both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports and it is always exactly the same with the same drives effected and not effected

All I can think is it is something to do with the relationship between the drives and the OS and that either some update the OS or some corruption of the OS has had an effect that there is a problem or conflict in terms of the interaction between the drives and the OS depending on whatever firmware or kind of protocol the lagging drives use. A bug in the OS which only happens to affect certain firmware to OS relationships on the unlucky drives. Seems a bit far fetched perhaps, but what else could it be?

Anyone have a better idea? Or if not is anybody aware of a similar incident with anyone else or some kind of bug that has been identified or energy saving feature that has been added to windows that there may be a way to get rid of. This is starting to drive me mad now! Any program that relies on files on these drives will always crash for 30 seconds until the drives respond. If my theory is correct an OS reinstall may resolve it if it was caused by corruption of the OS, but I would rather avoid such extreme measures if possible and find a solution to this. Even if I did reinstall I'd like to know how I can fix this if it happens again.

Thanks!
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bizzare Hard Drive issues

Firstly, I'd look into the Advanced Power Settings and see if the HDD's are set to automatically power off after a certain amount of time.
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bizzare Hard Drive issues

Ok, thanks. I'd looked at the basic energy saving settings before, but missed the advanced ones. It was set to power off hard drives after 20 minutes! Hopefully this will work. If so, I wonder why it didn't work on the Hitachi. I would imagine that this windows option is only compatible with certain drives using certain firmware/protocols or whatever and that Western Digital have it and Hitachi don't. HGST is western digital though right? So when they bought out Hitachi I guess it would make sense that they "upgraded" the drives so that they were compatible with this system. I'm pretty angry microsoft set this as the default option without permission. Then again i'd expect nothing less from them! Happy and angry at the same time! hah :@ . Thanks again in advance if it works! If you hear back, then I guess it didn't! lol
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Old 07-29-2014, 11:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bizzare Hard Drive issues

Usually I never have much of a problem with that setting; but I usually turn it off on desktop systems or for systems that access files often. Hopefully it solves your issue; good luck.
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Old 08-04-2014, 04:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bizzare Hard Drive issues

Hi, it would appear that the issue was partially resolved by changing the hard drive power down option to 9999 minutes. It appears to have stopped the internal SATA hard drives from becoming unresponsive, but the 4TB External USB Drives still have the same problem. Any ideas?

Thanks
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Old 08-04-2014, 06:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bizzare Hard Drive issues

Also, i've changed the USB selective suspension opition to disabled as it was previously enabled, incase that was causing it, but still the same. A defragmentation issue would not appear to be the problem either as like I said all the effected hard drives started doing this simultaneously and they only do it when they haven't been accessed for a while (probably about 20 minutes or so).
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Old 08-04-2014, 07:24 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bizzare Hard Drive issues

I have several drives in my pc and when they do start showing signs of being sluggish I defrag with a program called Vopt, makes the drive like new and very responsive. I do not defrag my windows SSD drive
How long has it been since you defrag'd your platter drives?
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Old 08-04-2014, 07:35 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bizzare Hard Drive issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by LX555 View Post
Hi, it would appear that the issue was partially resolved by changing the hard drive power down option to 9999 minutes. It appears to have stopped the internal SATA hard drives from becoming unresponsive, but the 4TB External USB Drives still have the same problem. Any ideas?

Thanks
Make your power setting to high performance, and change that number to 0. 0 = off. I do this on every machine I work on because nobody likes an unresponsive mechanical **** drive.

When was the last time you:
Formatted
Pulled all the stops for virus checking / malware checking
Updated USB/Chipset drivers

What motherboard are you running?

Annnd before you put content on these drives did you delete the software/partitions that came with it overwriting with the GPT partition?

A little FYI - HGST 3.5" = Western Digital.
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