How To Fix USB 3.0 External Hard Drive Slow Speed

My brand new 5 Terabytes 3.0 USB Seagate Expansion Desktop external hard drive was transferring data at 15MB/s, and this is super super slow for 3.0 USB external hard drive.  At first, I thought the hard drive was bad even though it is new.  After tinkering with the hard drive and Windows, I finally found the solution to the problem.  It was a Windows’ hard drive policy that prevented this drive from transferring data at the correct speed.  After fixing up the problem, this drive is now transferring at 150 – 200 MB/s data speed.  In the video right after the break, I show you how to speed up your slow external hard drive.  Enjoy!!!

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Do Not Defrag SSDs

English: a 2.5 inch Solid state disk, E-disk f...

Image via Wikipedia

Some people might not know that defragging an SSD can be very bad.  Actually, a specific SSD can be worn out faster than usual if someone has defragged it too often.  Anyhow, in the video right after the break, I’ll touch on why it is so!  For the bonus I show you how to turn off the Windows 7’s automatic defragmentation schedule for all hard drives, and then I also show you how to manually defrag the traditional hard drives.

Bitcasa To Compete Against Dropbox

Dropbox has proved to everyone that there is a huge market for cloud services.  Nonetheless, not all cloud services are endearing by users, because some cloud services are just too troublesome and having a learning curve that only geeks would appreciate.  Dropbox on the other hand has proved to be simple to use, and it stays out of sight so the users don’t really have to bother with it unless it’s necessary to be reminded of it, just like how a real hard drive works.  Unfortunately, Dropbox’s free account only gives users 2 GB of cloud space, and so users who do want larger cloud space are going to have to pay.  Cheapest plan for Dropbox is $10/month for 50 GB of cloud space.  Although it’s quite affordable, but many users know that 50 GB isn’t enough for nowadays considering media files such as video clips can fill up 50 GB of cloud space in no time.

As users have to pay somewhat a high amount of money per month to sustain a huge cloud space such as Dropbox service, Bitcasa sieges the opportunity and offers users unlimited cloud space for $10/month.  This puts Bitcasa in a straight path of competition against Dropbox.  Mozy is another cloud service that had ended its unlimited cloud space since it was too expensive for Mozy to continue to offer such a deal.  So, we have to wonder how on earth would Bitcasa think it could offer such a sweet deal (i.e., unlimited cloud space for $10/month).

According to Technologyreview.com’s article “How to make your hard drive infinite,” Bitcasa aims to use special algorithm that preserves one file for duplicate files across its cloud service.  By using this very algorithm, Bitcasa can free up used cloud space to hold even more data.  As for now, Bitcasa is only compatible with Apple’s products such as Macbook Pro, but Windows users will be able to use Bitcasa soon.  Hopefully, Bitcasa will also keep Linux users in mind.

Although Bitcasa’s offer of $10/month for unlimited cloud space is a deal that cannot be refused for those hardcore cloud service users, but I think many more people will still think twice about getting on Bitcasa bandwagon.  Why?  Data are personal, and so some people refuse to use any cloud service in serious manners.  Therefore, I think most people will save the data that they do not care about much onto cloud service, and they will store serious data onto local hard drives.  This makes one wonder will Bitcasa be able to thrive with its proposal!

Source:  http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/38613/page2/

Running A Diagnostic Test On Your Hard Drive Using Windows 7’s Own Diagnostic Tool

Feeling that your hard drive is going bad?  But hold your horse cowboy before you go drastic on your hard drive!  Instead of instantly throwing out your hard drive and buy a replacement, why not doing a diagnostic test on the hard drive just to make sure your instinct was right.  Why?  You never know it could be something else that makes your computer acts wonky, and so taking drastic measure on the hard drive might be a waste of money and effort!  OK, so how can one do a diagnostic test on a hard drive?  Read more and I’ll tell you!

There are many third party software that can help you do a diagnostic test on your hard drive, but why use third party software when Windows 7 got one already — that’s if you’re using Windows 7.  A head up though, depending on what settings you pick for your diagnostic test of a hard drive, it can be a very long diagnostic test — so go grab your coffee or popcorn or hotdog or however you want to spend your time in waiting for your hard drive’s diagnostic test to be done.  Oh, never mind, you have to follow the steps below first before you can go grab your things or do your things:

  1. Go to Start button (i.e., an orb with Windows flag)
  2. Go to Computer
  3. Right click on the drive you want to have a diagnostic test to be done on.  If you’re testing the C: drive, most likely Windows will tell you to schedule it for the next boot up, because Windows cannot run a diagnostic test on a hard drive that is in used.
    1. Choose Properties
    2. Go to Tools tab
    3. Click on Check now
      1. If you choose Automatic fix file system errors only and nothing else below, then the diagnostic test can be done a little faster.  If you do not want to have Windows automatically fix file system errors and only want to have a report, then do not choose this option!  (I recommend you to choose this option though)
      2. Choose Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors to have Windows do a more complete and longer diagnostic test on your hard drive.  Do not choose this option if you want a short test, because you can wait for a long time for this test to be done.
    4. Choose Start to either schedule the test for the next boot up or just allow Windows to start a diagnostic test on your hard drive right away.  Of course, if you are testing a hard drive that is in used, then you have to allow Windows to schedule for a test on such a hard drive at the next boot up.

That’s it!  I hope you find this post helpful to your computer problem!

Do You Really Need SSDs, Or The Traditional Hard Drives Will Be Just Fine?

Our devices are getting smaller and smaller everyday and we like that, but we don’t want the same thing happens to our devices’ storage spaces.  The good news is that we don’t have to sacrifice storage space for smaller devices, because SSDs (solid-state drives) are capable to be shrunk in sizes as small as a postage stamp and yet it has the capacity that rival the traditional hard drives.  It seems SSD technology is superior than previous generation hard drive technology, but it’s also more expensive.  In fact, the traditional hard drives are around ten times cheaper, and you can do the math to see why SSDs aren’t so desirable yet!  Besides the points that I already point out, SSDs tend to be faster in seeking small amount of data at times and energy efficient.

We can make an educated guess that in the near future SSDs will make traditional hard drives obsoleted.  Only how SSDs are priced now that the situation allows the traditional hard drives stay desirable for many people.  Some people already have SSDs in their devices, but they just don’t know!  All in all, the point of this article is to help people who do not know the differences between SSD and traditional hard drives to be better informed when they decide to purchase devices that give them choices between the two technologies.

Sometimes, knowing what you need can save you tons of money.  In this case, it is clearly that traditional hard drives can be very desirable still as you can purchase ever more larger storage space with them but with lesser prices than those SSDs.  I say if you have money to burn, then get those devices that utilize SSDs for these are more capable in features.  If SSDs are just too expensive for you, the traditional hard drives will be just as good.  Check out a video from Butterscotch.com which goes into details about the differences between SSD and the traditional hard drives right after the break.

http://player.wizzard.tv/player/o/i/x/130080761919/config/k-5659f2e94679f917/uuid/null/episode/k-64d754171ab241ba

Source:  http://www.butterscotch.com/show/Mechanical-Hard-Drives-Vs-Solid-State-Drives

So Many Types of External Hard Drives, Which One Should I Get?

External hard drives are convenient since swapping one external hard drive for another is as easy as unplugging its attached cable.  Modern external hard drives are exploding in sizes which is very encouraging and tempting.  There are so many types of different external hard drives that sometimes a person like me could get lost from knowing which one is best for my purpose.  The specifications for these external hard drives often do not reflect the real speeds of theirs when actually putting them into practice.

Doing some research online, the majority is agreeing that eSata (external Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) hard drives are faster than USB 2.0 hard drives by a lot.  By a lot?  Well, eSATA transfers data at 157 Megabytes per second in practice which is 4 times faster than USB 2.0.  Unfortunately, eSATA isn’t as universal as USB 2.0.  This means many computers may not have the eSATA ports which limits some people from going out and purchase eSATA hard drives.

Some external hard drives use FireWire connection.  FireWire is also known as IEEE 1394 interface or in short as 1394 connection.  There are two types of FireWire.  The older kind of FireWire is known as FireWire 400 or 1394a.  The newer kind of FireWire is known as FireWire 800 or 1394b which is way faster than its predecessor.  FireWire 800 can transfer data at rate of 786 Megabits per second full-duplex.  Calculating 786 Megabits to Megabytes, FireWire 800 can only transfer data at the rate of roughly around 100 Megabytes per second.  Even newer types of FireWire are available, but these have not yet applied to any new device.  The people that are behind FireWire technology plan to improve FireWire connection so it could compete against USB 3.0, and so the future plan is to boost the connection speed of FireWire up to 6.4 Gigabits per second (800 Megabytes per second).

USB 2.0 external hard drives would be the slowest of them all.  Technically, USB 1.0 would be the slowest, but we don’t need to go back that far.  The newest USB 2.0 external hard drives are known as hi-speed hard drives, and these transfer data at the rate of 57 Megabytes per second.  USB 2.0 ports/connection are universal since almost all computers carry them.

In this point in time, USB 3.0 external hard drives are the fastest hard drives of them all.  USB 3.0 hard drives are also known as SuperSpeed hard drives, and these transfer data at the rate of 572 Megabytes per second.  Even though the name USB 3.0 stands for Universal Serial Bus 3.0, but in practice not that many computers carry USB 3.0 ports, therefore limiting people from going out and buy USB 3.0 external hard drives.  Nonetheless, more computer brands are slowly jumping on USB 3.0 bandwagon as the year of 2011 is moving forward.

According to Wikipedia, and so I quote “Light Peak is a proprietary optical cable interface designed by Intel to connect devices in a peripheral bus. The technology has a high bandwidth at 10 Gbit/s,[2] with the potential to scale to 100 Gbit/s by 2020.”  Which means hard drives of the future are going to use Light Peak technology and to become the fastest of them all.  10 Gigabits per second when calculating it out would be 1250 Megabytes per second.  Do I even need to calculate the 100 Gigabits per second part to Megabytes?  Obviously, in this point in time, Light Peak is no where to be found, and so don’t go out to an electronic store and ask for a Light Peak hard drive!

The best things to do before buying a new external hard drive?  It’s to check to see the best connection speed for external hard drives that your computer can support.  In my case, my computer can support USB 2.0, FireWire 400 and 800, and eSATA; with this knowledge, the logical thing for me to do is to get an eSATA hard drive since eSATA is faster than both USB 2.0 and FireWire.  Unfortunately, if you plan to use an external hard drive among many computers, the logical thing to do is to get USB 2.0 since you may have an older computer which can only support the slowest external hard drive.  You can always upgrade your computer so it can support USB 3.0 external hard drives, but your computer’s motherboard must support PCI-E (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express).

Sources:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_1394_interface, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Serial_Bus, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_Peak.