External USB Harddrive Freezes on Write

Wd Western digital my passport elite 320...
November 17, 2009 at 06:34:57
Specs: Windows XP
I have a 320GB WD Passport Elite external USB drive. Previous to that drive I had a 160GB model which always worked fine. This drive itself initially worked okay. Recently it has been locking up while writing to the drive. I can be using backup software or merely copying things from Windows Explorer. It doesn't matter if it is a large or small file, it just randomly stops copying within a few seconds after the copying starts. I still see the copy dialog open indefintely, but the LED lights on the drive stop flashing and remain solid (it sounds like the drive is spinning continously but the drive head is not moving). Usually at this point, I cannot even cancel the copy command, and if I try going into "My Computer" explorer locks up until I pull the USB cable out.

Reading from the drive is fine, it is only the write commands.

The drive works fine on my laptop and at work, and only doesn't work on my desktop at home. I also tried another 250GB WD drive and it has a similar write failure.

I also tried using a USB Y connector to utilize two USB ports (whether on the front or back ports) and still get failures.

Finally, this was a problem under Vista 32bit. I just formatted this computer (Dell XPS 400) and installed Windows 7 Home Premium and still has the same issue.

Any suggestions?


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#1
November 17, 2009 at 06:54:51
Wow, this could be any thing. Have you tried this drive in some one elses computer yet?

Sounds like the buffer is going out or has gone out on that drive. You may be able to replace the boards but before you do, you might want to try putting the drive inside the computer to rule out the USB controller failing.


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#2
November 17, 2009 at 07:00:05
The drive works fine on my laptop and on the desktop at work. It only doesn't work on my home desktop.

This occurs with other USB external hard drives on my desktop.

My other USB devices work fine though. (Printer, Keyboard Mouse). My iPod doesn't have problems transferring large amounts of music over USB either (although sometimes it takes it a minute or so for Windows to see the connection to the iPod).


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#3
November 17, 2009 at 08:10:45
Then the problem is not a hardware issue but a software one. This can be very tricky to trouble shoot because it could be any thing from an Anti Virus program slowing it down for scanning or a driver issue.

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Related Solutions

#4
November 17, 2009 at 08:18:58
That is the problem. I formatted the computer clean and put Windows 7 on. It wouldn't work even before I installed any software beyond the OS. The hardware has been the same since I got the computer. The drive worked initially. But then stopped.

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#5
November 17, 2009 at 12:52:54
Are you writing to the root directory or to folders? Is the drive formatted FAT32 or NTFS?

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#6
November 17, 2009 at 16:36:36
It is NTFS. It locks whether I write to root directory or subfolder.

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#7
November 17, 2009 at 16:55:39
You may be connecting to a USB 1.1 port, which is 40 times slower than USB 2.0. Older computers either have a mix of the two or all USB 1.1.

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#8
November 17, 2009 at 19:13:55
I checked my specs, all of my USB ports are 2.0 compliant. I also tried using a y cable to connect to 2 USB ports to give a power boost. Still nothing. I also updated the motherboard chipset, ect.


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#9
November 19, 2009 at 10:05:11
I can say that I don't think it is my USB controller. I can connect my iPod Touch to the same USB port, and set it to copy gigs of music without problems and the USB Root Hub shows a consistent draw of power (500mA as I recall for the iPod Touch).

Anyone else have any suggestions? WD External Drives work on the native Windows device driver, they do not provide other drivers. Windows 7 in use here.

This drive worked fine when I first got it, but all of a sudden is having these write issues where it freezes during a copy to the drive (doesn't matter the file size - sometimes it freezes after copying a meg or two, and sometimes after half a gig worth of files).

Another Passport Drive I borrowed from work had the same issue, yet both my drive and the one from work, function completely fine on my laptop and my office computer.

I did a scan of the drive and no bad sectors or anything.


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#10
November 19, 2009 at 12:21:32
A couple of suggestions. First, go to Computer and right click. Choose properties> quotas. Verify there are no quotas set.

Next, go to the FAQ for that drive and ask questions. Link below.

http://wdc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wdc...


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#11
November 20, 2009 at 08:08:34
No quotas set. WD had nothing useful. Anyone else have any ideas?

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#12
November 20, 2009 at 08:43:44
Your external drive came with backup software. Are you sure the drive is not attempting to backup files when you are trying to access it?

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#13
November 20, 2009 at 09:01:45
Nope, I disabled that and prevented it from starting in msconfig. It freezes while writing no matter what program is using the drive or if I am just copying using windows explorer.

It always seems random. Sometimes it will copy a couple of files and freeze. Other times it might actually copy a gig worth of data before freezing. Usually it is fairly soon after starting the write process. And the LED light on the drive freezes in one spot (usually it moves back and forth over 4 spots while writing) and the windows explorer copying dialog will just stay stuck in the same position. I even let it go over night and it was still stuck in the same spot.


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#14
November 20, 2009 at 10:43:59
How much RAM do you have in that computer?

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#15
November 20, 2009 at 11:04:59
2 GB

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#16
November 20, 2009 at 11:14:49
"WD had nothing useful". Did you post a query there?

I'm out of ideas.


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