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Old 07-27-2014, 07:42 AM  
Brainiac Brainiac is offline
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Tech question about USB external hard drives

On my home PC I have several terabytes of video files. A couple of years ago I bought a single Western Digital MyBook drive, which attached to my PC via a USB port. It worked great as a backup device.

Then I got the bright idea that if one backup drive is great, two would be even better, so I bought an identical second drive and connected it to another USB port. When I started copying files from one drive to the other, the copy would work fine for a while. Then it would noticeably slow down (I was using GoodSync to copy the data, and it tells me what my current speed is). The copy got slower and slower, and eventually would fail with an I/O error. I reformatted and retried multiple times. I eventually gave up, decided the Western Digital MyBook drives were total crap, and got rid of them. I solved my problem two years ago by buying a 2 TB internal hard drive and installing it in my only available drive bay. I was then able to copy as much data as I want from my C drive to the new drive, both are internal drives, and everything is fine.

But now I've outgrown that configuration, so a few weeks ago I decided to try the same thing again, only with different hardware. This time I bought a pair of Seagate 5 TB external USB hard drives. I attached the first one, backed up all my data from both internal drives to it, and it worked perfectly. Then I attached my second 5 TB drive to another USB port and started a GoodSync job to copy from one drive to the other. The exact same thing happened with the two Seagate drives that had previously happened with the Western Digital drives.

It's pretty obvious that I misdiagnosed the problem two years ago, and I gave the Western Digital drives a bad rap (luckily I didn't blast them in any online reviews). My problem appears to be some sort of conflict with multiple USB drives. My PC has USB ports on the back of the machine and a couple of others on the front, so I tried moving one of them to a port on the front of the machine. No help.

So, I wound up moving the second USB drive to a different PC and I am currently syncing them across my home network. It works perfectly. However, it takes about 15 times as long to do a backup over the network as it does using a single PC. It took me over a week to back up 800 GB of data. I have another 1.8 TB of data to back up. I started it yesterday,and my backup program is telling me there are 14 days remaining before the backup completes. Arrrgh.

Has anyone else had any luck attaching multiple external hard drives to USB ports on the same PC? I've already considered some of the obvious solutions (like building a faster network; or replacing both of my internal hard drives with much bigger ones; or attaching one external drive, backing up to it, removing it, and attaching the other). I'm just curious to know if this is a known issue with USB devices, and if so, if there's a simple workaround.

By the way, I'm running 64-Bit Windows 7 Home Premium on an HP H8-1030 with 10 GB of RAM. The processor is an AMD Phenom II X6 1090T running at 3.2 GHz. Nothing is overclocked.
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Old 07-27-2014, 08:51 AM   #2
DaveNull DaveNull is offline
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I've always seen a performance hit when going from USB to USB.

Look into FastCopy. It's multi-threaded and can detect problems with file integrity during the copy, which is what you're really concerned about.
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:03 AM   #3
MTG#10 MTG#10 is offline
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Copy/paste your data from your internal drives to one external, then do the same thing with your other one. PC to external = a LOT faster than USB to USB.
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:12 AM   #4
htismaqe htismaqe is offline
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I have a cheap NAS. I backup to Firewire external and then image that drive and copy that to NAS over the network once a week.

Works like a champ.
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:44 AM   #5
Brainiac Brainiac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveNull View Post
I've always seen a performance hit when going from USB to USB.

Look into FastCopy. It's multi-threaded and can detect problems with file integrity during the copy, which is what you're really concerned about.
Thanks. I tried it. It's slightly faster than GoodSync (I got 1.8 MB/sec versus 1.66 MB/Sec), but GoodSync has a lot more features and much better reporting). GoodSync tells you exactly where you are in the process and it provides an estimate of the time remaining. FastCopy is more bare-bones.

Both are fine solutions, but I think I like GoodSync better.
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:45 AM   #6
Brainiac Brainiac is offline
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Originally Posted by MTG#10 View Post
Copy/paste your data from your internal drives to one external, then do the same thing with your other one. PC to external = a LOT faster than USB to USB.
It sure is. I got around 22 MB/sec when I did it that way. The problem is that I've decided to move my primary data storage to one external drive and to back it up to another.
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:47 AM   #7
Brainiac Brainiac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by htismaqe View Post
I have a cheap NAS. I backup to Firewire external and then image that drive and copy that to NAS over the network once a week.

Works like a champ.
That sounds like a pretty good solution. What cheap NAS do you use?
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Old 07-27-2014, 06:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brainiac View Post
Thanks. I tried it. It's slightly faster than GoodSync (I got 1.8 MB/sec versus 1.66 MB/Sec), but GoodSync has a lot more features and much better reporting). GoodSync tells you exactly where you are in the process and it provides an estimate of the time remaining. FastCopy is more bare-bones.

Both are fine solutions, but I think I like GoodSync better.
In the lab we use a combination of FastCopy and Beyond Compare for reporting. What I do in the lab often requires copying hundreds of thousands to millions of individual files and FastCopy will alert if one file changes during the copy process...even if it was already copied.

FastCopy has a bit you can flip to estimate, but I stop caring once I figure out it will be overnight.
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Old 07-27-2014, 07:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by htismaqe View Post
I have a cheap NAS. I backup to Firewire external and then image that drive and copy that to NAS over the network once a week.

Works like a champ.
FireWire.
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Old 07-28-2014, 09:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTG#10 View Post
Copy/paste your data from your internal drives to one external, then do the same thing with your other one. PC to external = a LOT faster than USB to USB.
If you do copy/paste like this you'll be torching your file system metadata during the move. Third party copy utilities will help preserve that.
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Old 07-28-2014, 09:43 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveNull View Post
If you do copy/paste like this you'll be torching your file system metadata during the move. Third party copy utilities will help preserve that.
True, Ive just never really cared or had any use for metadata
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Old 07-28-2014, 09:57 AM   #12
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I actually just started using an external HDD enclosure I ordered from Newegg. My old desktop system (WAY old) finally gave out so I got a docking station for my laptop, and ordered the enclosure to: 1) be able to wipe my old 250Gb HDD that the OS was installed on, and, 2) to use more permanently with my 1Tb drive I use for data. This is the enclosure I'm using:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817153142

If at all possible, use eSATA. That's how I have mine hooked up and it runs great.
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Old 07-29-2014, 07:05 AM   #13
htismaqe htismaqe is offline
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Originally Posted by Brainiac View Post
That sounds like a pretty good solution. What cheap NAS do you use?
Buffalo Linkstation single-drive 1TB. I paid $175 for it a few years ago. One of the best home networking investments I've ever made.
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Old 07-29-2014, 07:05 AM   #14
htismaqe htismaqe is offline
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Originally Posted by Saulbadguy View Post
FireWire.
Unfortunately, I have a mid-2011 iMac so I missed the cut for USB3. Firewire 800 is the fastest bus I can use.
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