USB 2.0/USB 1.0

  Ian in Northampton 19:02 02 Jan 2012

This one's been bugging me for a while, but I just started a backup that looks like it will take weeks... :-(

I have two identical Western Digital USB external hard drives, connected to the USB ports on my motherboard.

Weirdly, one acts as a USB 2.0 device, while the other acts as a USB 1.0 device - for example, I occasionally get a message that "this device could run faster" - and writing to one is at a fraction of the speed of writing to the other.

Anyone have any thoughts?

  Peter 19:38 02 Jan 2012

Ian in Northampton,

I will be interested in the replies that you get as I have been trying to sort out a similar problem on my 6 year old desktop, running Windows XP Pro, SP3 for some time.

I have tried loading a USB driver update, removing all the USB devices in the Device Manager and letting Windows reload them, updating the Motherboard BIOS, unplugging the mains power for several hours and holding in the power button for a minute, etc. all to no avail.

In the end I purchased a 5 port (4 external & 1 internal) USB2 PCI card from PC World for £10.95 and fitted it in a spare PCI slot.

Not the most convenient or elegant solution, but now at least I can back up at a reasonable speed (about a fifth of the previous time) and I don't get the "This device can work faster" messages. I use the original machine USB ports when the extra speed isn't needed.


  rdave13 19:41 02 Jan 2012

You can check the USB Root HUB speed. Don't know if this will help but open device manager, select view, select Devices by connection. Expand the two ACPI then expand PCI Express. Should lead to showing the standard enhanced PCI to USB controller and standard HCD USB Host controllers. Expand each one in turn to show ROOT HUB then double click the root hub to show properties then the advanced tab and should show what speed it is operating at. It also shows a tab to reset on each of these but I have never had the need to, so if you find the problem hub I'll leave it to you if you try the reset.

  rdave13 19:45 02 Jan 2012

Should have added I run Win 7.

  Ian in Northampton 20:00 02 Jan 2012

Many thanks guys.

Peter: yes, buying a separate PCI USB controller card is what I'm trying to avoid, for no other reason than a) the small hassle involved in installing it, and b) messing with an otherwise stable system.

rdave: well, that's shown up something interesting - but I'm not quite sure what to do with the interesting information...

My system shows five USB root hubs. Four are described as "USB Universal Host Controller" - but the fifth is described as "USB2 Enhanced Host Controller".

Do you have any idea what this means?

PS: Still 147 minutes to go on a backup I started an hour and a half ago - and we're only talking about 13.4GB... :-(

  rdave13 20:10 02 Jan 2012

The enhanced are usually USB 2, all my hubs show running at "full-speed".I have two standard enhanced PCI to usb Host controller and 5 standard Open HCD usb Host controllers.

Have a look at Google might help a bit more.

  rdave13 20:28 02 Jan 2012

This is a handy but powerful tool, USBDeview that will also give info on your USB devices and legacy devices. Use with caution if you delete anything.

  Ian in Northampton 21:29 02 Jan 2012

Thanks rdave. I'll take a look at that tomorrow.

  Peter 16:02 05 Jan 2012

Ian in Northampton,

I understand your reticence about opening up your computer and delving inside, but if you are careful and take anti-static precautions it should not be too difficult. All went very easily on my 8 year old Windows XP Pro system.

If you are worried about messing up your set up I suggest that you take an Image (Acronis, etc.) before you start to make any modifications. Then, if/when the brown stuff hits the rotating air propeller, you can reload the Image and be back where you were before you made any changes.

I hope this helps, Peter.

  Ian in Northampton 15:54 08 Jan 2012

Thanks Peter.

  Peter 16:43 08 Jan 2012

Ian in Northampton,

For even more incentive you could install a USB3 card if you have a free PCI-e slot. I saw a two port version in PC World for around £25 and a 4 port one, on Amazon I think, for about £15.

That sort of card, along with an external USB3 storage device, and you should be able to back up in next to no time! The USB3 cards are backwardly compatible so your USB2 devices should work at USB2 speed.


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