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Author Topic: USB 3.0 problems with Windows; general discussion  (Read 2377 times)

superboyac

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USB 3.0 problems with Windows; general discussion
« on: April 22, 2015, 02:55:04 PM »
I got into it a little with fodder in another thread.  So I wanted to continue this discussion specifically here.

I want to talk about the problems with USB 3.0 in any Windows OS (desktop or server).  If you haven't experienced problems with USB 3.0, you are not going to help the discussion.  In other words, I'd like to figure out a solution if it exists, or at least nail what the problem is.

So, my experiences...
I've had several USB 3.0 experiences.  Some on desktops I've built myself.  I've used the more recent motherboard built-in features, I've used addon PCI cards, I've used expensive laptops that come with nice USB 3.0 features on them, including my Surface Pro.  The Windows OS's I've tried: Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 R2.

My goal (I guess) is to have an external enclosure where I can swap drives in and out, use them on several different computers, and not have problems.  I've never really had a nice experience in these terms.  I've had success in isolated cases: for example, and enclosure+drive works well on my laptop, no problem.  But I don't think I've had success with using an enclosure+drive on multiple pc's without issues along the way.

Scenario 1:
I have an enclsoure+drive that has esata and USB3.  I first tried USB3 on a Windows 7 desktop.  It didn't work very well in that sometimes the device was detected, and other times it was not.  And sometimes, when it did connect, a popup would immediately ask to format the disk.  Which I didn't want to because it had data on it and was working before that incident.  Usually when this happens, the drive is already corrupted.  This has happened several times.  Usually occurs when trying the drive on different USB ports, or on different computers.  And the reason to try it on different ports and computers is because the drive was not being detected on the first try.

Scenario 2:
After experiencing Scenario 1, I lost trust in the USB3 connection.  So I decided to use the available esata port.  I really have not had problems with esata, I like it a lot.  However, some computers don't have esata, so when I take the same enclosure to a computer that lacks esata, I use the USB connector.  Problems occur, similar to above.  Where the drive gets corrupted and eventually needs to be reformatted.  When this happens, I end up using the esata port on the computer that works, and I stop trying to use it on other pcs.  I don't like that, but at least it works.

Scenario 3:
In this case, I don't have esata, only USB3.  I plug it in a USB3 port, it's detected, and I start transferring files.  If I do a significant amount of transfers, let's say 100GB...I've very often encounter the drive disconnecting in the middle of the transfers.  This usually turns out to be a power issue, but it's not always clear.  I've had it happen with extra power, too.  Some enclosures can add extra power, others cannot.

Scenario 4:
This is the new one for me.  I got an enclosure that can RAID-0 two 2.5 drives, with USB3.  I love the idea for speed and portability.  So far, it has had some minor issues, not enough to really be a problem, but enough to make me nervous.  it worked with Windows 7, but initially had a hard time being detected consistently.  One of my drives was fresh, the other had stuff on it.  after formatting and fiddling around a bit, it worked.  It worked on Windows 8.1.  It didn't work on Server 2012.  It causes it to hang.  But the bigger issue is that after plugging it into Server 2012 machine, it didn't get detected, and the drives got corrupted and had to be reformatted on the other computers.

So what's going on?  How do you get USB3 to work well and all the time?

I'm going to list many of the common solutions for USB3 problems.  In my experiences, they don't do anything most of the time.  But these are the responses that are all over the internet.
--Disable the power/suspend settings for the USB hubs.  Nice idea, rarely fixes anything.
--Similarly, adjust the power settings in Windows.  This has worked occasionally, but doesn't appear to be the problem.
--Bad controller on the enclosure.  I think this is nonsense.  I've had drives being corrupted the same exact way on several completely different enclosures.
--Replace drivers or firmware.  Also does not seem to do anything.  And figuring out the driver or firmware that needs to be replaced is also somewhat impossible.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2015, 03:00:40 PM by superboyac »

superboyac

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Re: USB 3.0 problems with Windows; general discussion
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2015, 03:03:40 PM »
Just to add more, when people say to disable the power saving features of USB, this is what they mean:
lxE6S.png

IainB

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Re: USB 3.0 problems with Windows; general discussion
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2015, 04:50:34 PM »
Just on the basis that this could be useful/helpful in this discussion:
I have tried to anticipate problems with USB 3.0 port spec., but have found it to be very resilient so far and I have not experienced any real "problems" per se with USB 3.0. It has, for example, shown itself to be properly backwards compatible with USB 2.0 devices - something which I had been skeptical about, at first.

I have not checked, but I assume that the USB 3.0 port spec. means that it really does give a faster throughput (data transfer) rate using USB 3.0 hard drives than was the case with USB 2.0.

However, where I had been using USB 3.0 ports for connecting to portable external USB 2.0/3.0 hard drives (e.g., for backup/recovery), I had been religiously selecting the Safely Remove Media and Eject Hardware control in the Systray, prior to disconnecting the drives. This was because of my previous cautionary experience with USB 2.0 ports/drives, where the port control did not seem to be always happy with liberal use of Plug N'Play, and sometimes one could upset the system assignment of a USB 2.0 port simply by abruptly unplugging a drive (even when it would not have been active), with the sometimes result that the unplugging disabled the port for that drive's use, thus making it necessary to go through a tedious and arcane ritual to get the port to even acknowledge that that drive existed when you reconnected it to that same port.

The only apparent problem I have had with USB 3.0 ports is consistently recurrent: selecting the Safely Remove Media and Eject Hardware control in the Systray, prior to disconnecting a drive seems to inevitably result in a rejection (not safe to unplug) on the basis that the device is still being used by some undefined process, even when I know it would have completed any writing process.
I suspect that some system process - e.g., (say) Hard Disk Sentinel or Everything - might still have open handles on the device for read access.

However, after doing some DucklGoing, I discovered that this was a common issue for concern, and the general impression seemed to be that USB 3.0 ports are not so intolerant of abrupt unplugging like that, and that the only precautions one needed to take before abruptly unplugging a drive were:
  • (a) ensure that it had completed whatever write activity/process it would have been performing;
  • (b) ensure that it was already set to Quick removal (default) in Properties->Device Properties.

Also, I guess it would be prudent to untick a drive's settings in Properties->General for compression and indexing.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2015, 05:06:48 PM by IainB, Reason: Minor edits. »

xtabber

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Re: USB 3.0 problems with Windows; general discussion
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2015, 08:32:16 PM »
In my experience, problems with USB 3.0 have come from the controller on the computer, or more specifically the drivers for the host controller.  It's worth seeing if newer drivers are available for the chipset on your host controller.

eSATA is very stable, but it will not work with drives >2TB on older computers that do not have BIOS support for large drives, whereas USB 3.0 (with a reasonably recent driver) will.

I have successfully used a U3eSATA USB to eSATA converter to attach a 3GB drive in an eSATA enclosure through a USB 3.0 port to an older computer that would not recognize it when connected directly to the computer's eSATA port.

superboyac

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Re: USB 3.0 problems with Windows; general discussion
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2015, 12:14:45 PM »
IainB, your post agrees with what fodder says, regarding your overall positive experiences with USB3.
I guess for the most part, I have had good experiences.  My main problems seem to be using the drives in multiple computers.  There seems to be a problem sooner or later that corrupts the drive and requires a formatting.

I do very much agree that safely removing the drives is critical.  I normally use Zentimo for that, as it is very convenient for that sort of thing.  There are times where, like you, the drive wasn't able to be safely ejected.  This has often resulted in a corrupted drive if I force it.  So now I will power the computer down if that occurs.  Everything is the problem a lot of the time.

My most recent issue was that the Windows Server 2012 couldn't load the drive, and when I pulled it out, it got corrupted.  It was hanging on the virtual disk manager service process.  I'm trying to resolve this problem as I'd really like to be able to use the drive on that computer.

The controllers and drivers don't seem to matter that much IMO.  What I mean is that regarding the problems I've had, there was either no driver to update, and even if there was, the update didn't behave any differently than the old version.

I'm still looking for the post of the guy that ran some tests and also concluded it was a Windows problem, not a USB3 or device problem.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2015, 03:05:32 PM by superboyac »

superboyac

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Re: USB 3.0 problems with Windows; general discussion
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2015, 03:08:35 PM »
In my experience, problems with USB 3.0 have come from the controller on the computer, or more specifically the drivers for the host controller.  It's worth seeing if newer drivers are available for the chipset on your host controller.

eSATA is very stable, but it will not work with drives >2TB on older computers that do not have BIOS support for large drives, whereas USB 3.0 (with a reasonably recent driver) will.

I have successfully used a U3eSATA USB to eSATA converter to attach a 3GB drive in an eSATA enclosure through a USB 3.0 port to an older computer that would not recognize it when connected directly to the computer's eSATA port.
Yea, good points.  i remember that 2TB limit.  That caused problems that resulted in corrupted drives, too.  At the time, the thing that fixed it was the Intel Matrix Storage Manager software.  NOw, most motherboards can handle it fine.

That adapter is nice.  You know what I can't find?  The opposite of that thing...that is, an adapter that takes an USB3 and turns it into an eSATA plug.  That would be VERY handy.

4wd

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Re: USB 3.0 problems with Windows; general discussion
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2015, 07:50:45 PM »
Everything is the problem a lot of the time.

What version are you using?

This used to be a problem with earlier versions, I can't say I've had it since about v1.2.1.451a.

Also, you can set Everything's options to either completely ignore removables, or index but not monitor, (that way it'll index on connection but won't continuously monitor changes) - that might help.

2015-04-24 10_44_49.jpgUSB 3.0 problems with Windows; general discussion

Quote
It was hanging on the virtual disk manager service process.  I'm trying to resolve this problem as I'd really like to be able to use the drive on that computer.

Next time you could try disabling it in the Device Manager before pulling it, you'll need to re-enable it in Device Manager next time you connect it.

superboyac

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Re: USB 3.0 problems with Windows; general discussion
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2015, 09:21:29 AM »
It's not really a problem...more like it's the program hanging up the safe ejection.  You just have to turn the program off to ejects sometimes.  I'm talking if you want the drive included in the everything index.  Otherwise, yes, turn off the drive as 4wd shows above.

The more difficult one is when something like svchost is hanging up the ejection.  Those are harder to figure out which program is doing it.  And still more difficult is when no process is hanging it up but you can't eject.

superboyac

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Re: USB 3.0 problems with Windows; general discussion
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2015, 10:58:47 AM »
I just had an interesting experience.  In my previous discussion with fodder, i was saying that esata was more reliable than usb.  well, i just had the opposite experience.  My usually reliable esata connection for external drives started not working, as in, the drive wasn't being detected at all.  I checked the cables, I checked bios settings, etc., nothing had changed.

Then, I tried the USB3 connection, and it worked perfectly!  And it's been very stable since.  So I don't know anymore, lol.  FYI, the device I'm using is an inatek dock.

cranioscopical

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Re: USB 3.0 problems with Windows; general discussion
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2015, 02:20:43 PM »
My usually reliable esata connection for external drives started not working, as in, the drive wasn't being detected at all.
FWIW, when that happened to me I found that Windows updates had changed the driver. If you google around some, and if that's your problem, you'll find the steps to fix it. Those steps were a bit more convoluted than I'd have expected but I fixed the problem on two different machines. Looking back, quickly, I see that it was related to "JMB36X_WinDrv_R1.17.65_WHQL_eSATA.zip". HTH

superboyac

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Re: USB 3.0 problems with Windows; general discussion
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2015, 09:43:17 PM »
My usually reliable esata connection for external drives started not working, as in, the drive wasn't being detected at all.
FWIW, when that happened to me I found that Windows updates had changed the driver. If you google around some, and if that's your problem, you'll find the steps to fix it. Those steps were a bit more convoluted than I'd have expected but I fixed the problem on two different machines. Looking back, quickly, I see that it was related to "JMB36X_WinDrv_R1.17.65_WHQL_eSATA.zip". HTH

I think you are right.  I may have updated one of those things in recent weeks, can't remember.  It's very difficult (at least for me) to know how to troubleshoot esata/USB problems.