external hard drive

  bigduvat 13:38 28 Apr 2009

I recently added a 320gb external hard drive (via usb) to my 62gb hard drive laptop (my ram is 2gb)-does the addition of the hard drive affect my PC's performance e.g. slowing it down?

  johndrew 13:45 28 Apr 2009

You may be unwise to boot with the drive connected as the PC is likely to `look` at it during the boot sequence and this may slow down your boot up. If your PC is reading from it a lot during use you may notice a reduction in performance as data transfer via USB will be slower than the direct input from the on-board drive. Otherwise I doubt you will see a lot of difference.

  Pineman100 17:34 28 Apr 2009

Is it connected via USB1 or USB2?

If it's 1, then you'd do well to spend a few pounds on a USB2 PCI card. Data transfer will be much faster.

  Pineman100 17:35 28 Apr 2009

The above idea assumes that your recently purchased external drive is USB2 enabled.

  bigduvat 17:51 28 Apr 2009

I think they are all enabled

  bigduvat 17:51 28 Apr 2009

I have 4

  Pineman100 17:35 29 Apr 2009

I'm sorry - I haven't made myself clear.

USB 2.0 is a later version of the Universal Serial Bus system, not the number of a port. It sends data to and from peripherals up to 40 times faster than USB 1.0. But the peripheral itself must be USB 2.0 enabled.

To check whether your USB ports are version 2.0 Have a look in Device Manager. I assume you run Windows XP, so right-click My Computer, click Manage, and then click Device Manager.

In Device Manager scroll down until you locate the Universal Serial Bus Controllers and expand the list by clicking the + sign. If you have a USB 2.0 controller in your computer, the word 'Enhanced' will be listed somewhere in one of those names.

If you don't have USB 2.0 it's very cheap to buy a USB 2.0 card and pop it into a spare PCI slot in your computer. For example click here.

But - I repeat - it's only worth doing this if your external hard drive is USB 2.0 enabled. But if it's quite new, it almost certainly is. When you plug it into the computer and switch it on, do you get a little on-screen popup that says "This device could perform faster"? If so, then it's definitely USB 2.0.

  MAJ 19:01 29 Apr 2009

Pineman100, it's a laptop.

bigduvat: You'll not notice any slowdown on your laptop.

  gazzaho 05:55 30 Apr 2009

I had an old Pentium 4 machine with XP Home Edition installed up until the summer of last year. To this machine I had 2 internal and 4 external USB hard drives of various sizes and makes continually connected, when booting there was no noticeable delay in boot times. While using the USB drives there was a noticeable speed difference between them and the internal drives but not a marked one.

On purchasing a new machine with Vista installed I immediately noticed a Boot delay of up to as much as 2 minutes when the USB drives are connected, I might add that no BIOS related settings have had any affect on these boot times. Drive access in Vista explorer can also be slow to access the external drives, for some reason Vista explorer needs to, I presume re-check the file/folder structure of a drive which can take a while on a large drive with the result of the "Not Responding" message appearing in the title bar until it's finished.

I honestly can't say for sure if Vista is at fault or some obscure hardware problem (of which there is no visible trace) on my system is causing the performance degradation. I've also used the drives on my notebook which uses XP without performance problems so as I say my own performance issues are either with Vista or my hardware.

If using Vista you may experience performance issues with external drives, I am, but I just live with it.

Hope this helps.

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