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Old 10-29-2013, 11:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Major external HD slowdown

I've had a Western Digital Elements 2TB external hard drive for about 3 years now. It's served me well, and is a nice place to back up my music collection and some videos I've made. There's only about 120GB left on the drive.

Lately I've been experiencing horrendous slowdown on the drive. About 90% of the time, when I go into any folder on the drive, be it Root, a folder with 2 items in it, or a folder with 200, the green "loading bar" crawls across the top of my Windows Explorer screen (I use Windows 7 64-bit) at an extremely slow pace, and I can't access anything during this phase. Once the folder loads, if I try to click into a subfolder, I have to wait for the loading bar AGAIN. If I try to play a video, the video will stall, often as bad as once every 5 seconds, pausing for about 10 seconds every time. Going up a level means yet another long load time. Copying or deleting files to/from the device takes many times longer than it ought to. As far as I can tell, nothing else is reading or writing to the drive as this happens.

Clearly, something is wrong with my drive's ability to read itself.

I've been googling, and at first I thought it might have had something to do with indexing, so I right-clicked the drive and started to deny indexing permissions for the drive and all its subfolders. As it applied these settings, the first few folders flew by, processing dozens of files per second, but about a fifth of the way into my music backup folder, it started taking about 20 seconds per file, just to change that one setting. I'm running the chkdsk utility on it right now, and it's processing files, but it's only doing 1 every 10 seconds or so.

Previously, the drive has behaved like this: the first time I tried looking at a folder on the drive each day, I'd have to wait a few seconds for the drive to "spin up", so to speak, and be ready to use. After that, I could go in and out of folders freely, until I left the drive alone for an hour or so, then the next time I wanted to use it I'd have to wait a few seconds again for that first folder. This always struck me as some type of "power saver" option

It's clearly a drive-specific problem. Nothing else on my PC seems to be doing this. Could it be the cable? Could anyone recommend a diagnostic tool?

I have an i5 2500k and 16GB of RAM, if that helps.
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Old 10-29-2013, 11:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Major external HD slowdown

Try running a chkdsk on the drive.

Right click the drive in Computer > Properties > Tools tab > under Error Checking, click Check Now... > check both boxes in the window that pops up > click OK, and let it run.
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Old 10-29-2013, 11:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Major external HD slowdown

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Originally Posted by carnageX View Post
Try running a chkdsk on the drive.

Right click the drive in Computer > Properties > Tools tab > under Error Checking, click Check Now... > check both boxes in the window that pops up > click OK, and let it run.
As I said, I was running chkdsk as I wrote the post. Running it with just the top box checked, it said there were no problems, but running it with both boxes is taking FOREVER, because it is processing files, each one taking 10-20 seconds.
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Old 10-29-2013, 11:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Major external HD slowdown

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Originally Posted by Knife Man View Post
As I said, I was running chkdsk as I wrote the post. Running it with just the top box checked, it said there were no problems, but running it with both boxes is taking FOREVER, because it is processing files, each one taking 10-20 seconds.
Sorry, missed that part.

And yes, it's going to take forever if you have a lot of data on a 2TB drive, especially if they're big files. It's verifying sectors and data integrity.

Let it runs its course with BOTH boxes checked. If you run it with only 1 box checked, it's in "read-only" mode and will just say yes or no if something is wrong, and not fix it.
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Major external HD slowdown

Your running the drive on less than 10% free space, that in it self can cause an issue for you
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Major external HD slowdown

I ran the chkdsk tool with both boxes checked. I did it overnight since I knew it was going to take a while. I woke up twice after 5 and 6 hours (my PC is damn loud), and it had frozen on "3458 files processed" - the progress bar was maybe 10% of the way across the screen.

I've also used the Disk Checkup program to do some SMART self-tests, maybe 20 seconds into the short self-test it fails "due to the failure of a read element".

I tried this once before with similar results: the drive behaved better for a day or so, but slowed down again.
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Major external HD slowdown

You could try taking the drive out of the enclosure and hook it up directly to your computer internally and run a chkdsk on it. It's possible the board on the enclosure is going bad.
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Old 11-02-2013, 02:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Major external HD slowdown

Interesting development. The drive seems to really slow down when I shift the preview mode from "details" to "icons". I use the drive to store a lot of pictures and videos, being a photographer/videographer, and that really seems to slow it down.

Also, the write speed seems to be irredeemably terrible. If I try downloading a file to the drive, the write speed causes the download to go no faster than 500kbps, averaging about 250kbps. If I try to make a .rar file of some images on the drive, Winrar only adds 1 file to the archive every second, even with small-sized, nonprofessional pictures.

Should I allow indexing on this drive? I turned it off but clearly that hasn't helped. I also changed the hardware properties from "Quick Removal" to "Better Performance" to see if Write Caching would help, but no dice. Might just need to get a new drive, I think. I can't imagine how long the transfer process will be though with these busted read/write speeds. That's some scary stuff.
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Old 11-02-2013, 05:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knife Man View Post
Interesting development. The drive seems to really slow down when I shift the preview mode from "details" to "icons". I use the drive to store a lot of pictures and videos, being a photographer/videographer, and that really seems to slow it down.

Also, the write speed seems to be irredeemably terrible. If I try downloading a file to the drive, the write speed causes the download to go no faster than 500kbps, averaging about 250kbps. If I try to make a .rar file of some images on the drive, Winrar only adds 1 file to the archive every second, even with small-sized, nonprofessional pictures.

Should I allow indexing on this drive? I turned it off but clearly that hasn't helped. I also changed the hardware properties from "Quick Removal" to "Better Performance" to see if Write Caching would help, but no dice. Might just need to get a new drive, I think. I can't imagine how long the transfer process will be though with these busted read/write speeds. That's some scary stuff.
Have you tried what I suggested and removed it from the enclosure?

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Old 11-02-2013, 09:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Major external HD slowdown

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Originally Posted by carnageX View Post
Have you tried what I suggested and removed it from the enclosure?

Sent from my Nexus 7 using TechForums
Not yet, I am terrified that I'll irreversibly mess something up by physically tinkering with the drive, so I'll be using that option as a last resort. I'm terrible with my hands.
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