Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


External HDD Slows Windows Down

  1. #1


    Posts : 5
    Windows 8 x64

    External HDD Slows Windows Down


    Hello all,

    I am on an i7-12gb RAM+SSD Asus laptop, running Windows 8 x64.

    I am using two external HDDs attached via USB. One is an external-powered 2TB 3.5" WD, and the other is a 1TB 2.5" 5400 rpm Matshita HDD.

    I store my music and movie collection in these drives, and a few setup files for the programs that I use. Nothing else.

    My problem is, from time to time when I boot up my computer, I start my browser, Word, iTunes, even Snipping Tool, etc. or when I need access to some function in a program (e.g. language proofing in Word, some function in Photoshop CS6, etc) my laptop randomly needs to access one, or both of my external drives and read something from there. I hear the whirring sound from the HDD and then my laptop starts responding again. This does not happen all the time, but it happens frequently enough to spoil a good workflow a few times during the day.

    My external HDD's are slow in access times, and the 2TB WD actually shuts itself off after a non-use period and takes 6-7 seconds to turn back on.

    So this translates into me randomly waiting for 6-7 seconds while using my laptop.

    This case has been the same since using Windows 7 and through a few fresh installs.

    I want these two HDD's to just store my files and not interfere with my OS' working.

    So what can I do?

    Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    San Jose - California
    Posts : 2,847
    8.1x64PWMC Ubuntu14.04x64 MintMate17x64


    Try changing power plan settings as shown:

    Click image for larger version
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 5
    Windows 8 x64


    Thanks for the quick reply topgundcp
    ,
    but those settings of mine are already as shown on the image.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    San Jose - California
    Posts : 2,847
    8.1x64PWMC Ubuntu14.04x64 MintMate17x64


    it seems like the external HD's do not spin up at startup so the first time you access the HD's, it takes time to spin up. I wonder if there's any APCI settings in the BIOS would change that.Also, check with ASUS if you have the latest BIOS firmware installed.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 2,130
    Windows 8.0 x64


    You could try DriveAlive from here:
    Miles Ahead Software

    I wrote it because I had a docking station that would spin down any drive in it after a time-out. There was no way to disable it. DriveAlive creates a dummy text file in the root of each hd specified. If the file already exists, it deletes it. It does this approx. once every 5 minutes.

    It's simple to use. See the included Readme.txt.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 5
    Windows 8 x64


    Quote Originally Posted by topgundcp View Post
    it seems like the external HD's do not spin up at startup so the first time you access the HD's, it takes time to spin up. I wonder if there's any APCI settings in the BIOS would change that.Also, check with ASUS if you have the latest BIOS firmware installed.
    I think they do spin up at startup, because when they are attached, the PC takes longer to boot up. So I assue it checks them while booting up. I'm on the latest BIOS and this was happening on my previous Sony laptop too, so may it not be BIOS-related at all?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 5
    Windows 8 x64


    Quote Originally Posted by MilesAhead View Post
    You could try DriveAlive from here:
    Miles Ahead Software

    I wrote it because I had a docking station that would spin down any drive in it after a time-out. There was no way to disable it. DriveAlive creates a dummy text file in the root of each hd specified. If the file already exists, it deletes it. It does this approx. once every 5 minutes.

    It's simple to use. See the included Readme.txt.
    Thank you for the suggestion but I rather need a solution that will ceast the ext. hdds' interfering with daily operations of the OS. I mean, I don't want the system to "need to read" the external hdd's randomly for unrelated operations.

    But will give a try to your solution too.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    San Jose - California
    Posts : 2,847
    8.1x64PWMC Ubuntu14.04x64 MintMate17x64


    Then I suggest that you run chkdsk on both External HD's. Sometimes if a HD is corrupted, it will take longer to detect.
    From Admin command prompt: chkdsk /f /r X: where X is the drive letter. With /r , it will take some time to complete.
    Please remember this is a process of trying to eleminate the potential problem.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 2,130
    Windows 8.0 x64


    Check if Windows Media Player is set to share files over the network. If so it may be looking at every file on your system to check if it's a media file. It was really bad in Vista pre SP1. I could hardly use my system at all due to drive busy.

    DriveAlive is just a work-around. Not a fix. Although in some cases like this particular docking station, the only "fix" was to replace it with a dock that didn't spin its drive down.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    I think keeping those external drives always attached to your laptop is not ideal. If you don't want your system performance to be bothered by the access delay of those drives then disconnect those drives from your laptop when you don't need anything to access from those drives. If you want your files to be accessible anytime whenever you need it without bothering your Windows OS, then you better go for a NAS option.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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External HDD Slows Windows Down
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