WD Portable HD Backed up folders not files

July 29, 2010 at 03:22:16
Specs: Windows XP Home Edition NTFS 512MB RAM 106(70free)GB memory , 3.00GHz/106GB (76GB free space)
Computer 3.5years old, no additional hard drives or partitioning previously installed.

For around a year I have had a low virtual memory problem and then more recently following resetting of swap/paging file to try and resolve matters, loud whirring of fan. I eventually cut down the whirring with some tech advice but was not happy with overall erratic (mainly slow) behaviour of my PC. I have also performed a variety of defrag reg cleaning etc.

A week ago I installed a WD My Passport Essential 500GB Portable Hard Drive to my Packard Bell iSTART 1370 desktop PC. The portable HD backed up all my folders impressively in around an hour so I reckoned everything was fine. But there was nothing in them other than empty folders. Maybe I am not understanding how external drives work.

A few days ago after some research, I attempted (and failed) to make my portable drive my main hard drive instead of my internal hard drive. The main difficulty I had was changing the bootup sequence in the BIOS. Anyone who has tried doing this on a pbell recently will know that this is not a user friendly experience.

Getting instructions from them is nigh on impossible, even harder than getting a Windows installation CD from your retailer at purchase. I tried various different boot orders without any change so as above could not get portable HD as main HD and BIOS settings are now reset as original. I am of the opinion that you cannot change the boot order in my model or maybe all pb models.

My PC eventually crashed and I did a full (quick version) system recovery back to factory settings. System is now running quiet fan is not whirring anymore! Maybe I have got rid of the problem and virtual memory is the real problem all along.

System virtually died after installing WD Passport and then going into BIOS.

Do you think there is 1) compatability issue 2) going into BIOS caused crash 3) internal hard drive is corrupted or a combination of the above?

Any comments, recommendations on this will be taken seriously for future reference with view to buying new desktop or laptop in conjunction with WD Passport 500GB portable HD.

Thanks for reading.

Kind regards

See More: WD Portable HD Backed up folders not files

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July 29, 2010 at 05:52:34
Packard Bell

Windows balks at being installed to a portable device. This is by design. Some things are possible but if you succeeded at all you would not be happy with the results.

There may be settings to adjust when backing up files/folders to your external.

Your main problem may be your virtual memory settings, possibly coupled with insufficient RAM.

Is your entire drive one partition?

Are you manually setting the virtual memory (swap file)?

Best to let Windows handle the virtual memory.

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July 29, 2010 at 10:01:42
I can't tell you how much I love pb.

Anyway, enough of my sarcasm.

Thank you OtherHill, useful info.

I haven't reinstalled the portable HD after system recovery but have just remembered that when I was looking at which one to buy, Windows XP NTFS (formatted) compatability plus mainly good reviews was a deciding factor and I have found this on the carton. However, there is a footnote which states:
"Compatibillity may vary depending on user's hardware configuration and operating system"

So something for me to go on at least.

Windows does have a 'fixed' nature so I take your comments on board.

Maybe it is better on pro than on Home ed which I have.

Worth considering alternatives to Windows for sure.

I haven't reinstalled all my programs yet but how much of 512MB RAM would you load up on the system maximum to be on safe side?

My enc Britannica requires 512MB in itself although I realise not all at once and only 3.5GB of Hard space. I have never gone beyond 40 out of 106GB. And that prog has never given me any problems I have to say. All graphics colours excellent set to 1024x68 32bit. Typing tutor on the other hand, an older Mavis Beacon (8) used to give me occasional probs like cutting out/freezing.

I reckon it must be the virtual memory. I was setting it manually ever since the low virtual memory warning I got about a year ago. I have not touched it this time around!

Hard drive came pre-partitioned i.e. single partition with Recovery partition.

I bought the portable HD as I could not manage to partition using Disk Management in Win XP Home - it just seems like an inactive tool that you can click on to see details nothing else although you are supposed to be able to 'manage' there many people have much the same problem and am not experienced enough to even attempt using command lines in diskpart.exe.

So for now it's back to basics for safety until I can be more sure how to set WD HD.

Any more thoughts spring to mind from this?


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July 29, 2010 at 12:01:20
Are you allowing Windows to manage the virtual memory?

Add more RAM. 2GB is good enough for most setups.

Download SIW and use it to see exactly what RAM you currently have. Get SIW at the link below.


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July 29, 2010 at 17:33:43
Thanks again,

Crikey I have some specs mixed up don't I.

I am impressed by SIW shows everything, very accessable.

I am amazed the paging file is still set to custom (initial 672-Maximum 1344) will set it to 'system managed' when I log out (as it sometimes requires a restart) and see what happens.
I think monitor is on it's way out so if I don't come back for a while not being rude okay.

Here are the specs from SIW:

From system summary:
Disk Space: Disk C: 106GB 97GB Free
Physical Memory:448MB, 100MB Free
Memory Load:77%
Virtual Memory:1055MB, 315MB Free (will obviously change)
PageFile Name:\??\C:\pagefile.sys
PageFile Size:672 MB
In use:394MB
Max used:474MB
Registry Size:2MB (current) 54MB (maximum)

From Memory Summary:
Max cap: 4096MBytes
Memory slots: 2
Error correction: None
DRAM Frequency: 266.2 MHz
Memory timings: 4-4-4-11 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS)

From Device Locator:
Capacity 512 MB
Memory type: DDR2 (PC2-4300)
Speed: 266MHz (DDR2 533)
Supported Frequencies: 200.0MHz, 266.7MHz

Hope that is enough to go on.


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July 29, 2010 at 18:24:00
In virtual memory settings it says:
Recommended: 670
Currently allocated: 670 (changed from 672)
Now system managed.

SIW system summary, virtual memory, now changed to:
1054MB, 448MB free.

Not sure how I can add RAM, I understand from before that it is by opening up the cabinet and clicking in the available slots. It would certainly help to get in there as there is some dust to clean out but the times I attempted this before could not manage (without likely breaking the cover and fear of not being able to get it back on). I definitely don't want to take it in to shop but would consider paying someone to come and fit.

Some advice needed on exactly what and options where to purchase, rough price guide would help as I lost all those details with the crash. I did have some installation diagrams/instructions but they did not show how to actually get the cover off a iSTART 1370, no visible screws other than rear panel.

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July 29, 2010 at 19:49:11
Where in the world are you located?

What is the computer brand or motherboard model?

What exact RAM does SIW say you have?

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July 30, 2010 at 11:38:22

I am in England, UK

The brand is Packard Bell BV circa 2006
Intel [R]
Pentium [R] 4 CPU 3.00GHz

Motherboard Model is P4M800PRO-M

It came as 512MB RAM, Physical Address Extension

SIW shows the capacity as 512MB but when you look in system summary it says physical memory is 448MB (which is also what it says in My Computer>System Properties). Someone has already explained to me the other 64MB is reserved for what I cannot remember exactly sorry but it made sense and I stopped worrying.

memory type DDR2 (PC2-4300) if this makes it any clearer.

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July 30, 2010 at 11:46:48
Forgot to add it now says I have 146MB of physical memory free.

How serious would you say that is?

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July 30, 2010 at 13:18:16
First of all, your video (graphics) is integrated onto the motherboard. That is reserving 64MB for the exclusive use of the video.

The 146MB remaining means the other 302MB (512-64=448-146) is in use by Windows or some other program.

When viewing SIW the fifth listing in hardware is memory. The first section covers all the memory. The second covers on particular module, the third another particular module. And so on.

This will tell you what kind of memory modules you would need to buy and if you have additional slots for memory or if you will need to remove some.

If you don't know how to open the case then it would be best for you to get some help. You can print the memory information to use as a guide. Reading the information on the modules themselves is sometimes hard to do.

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