Windows is loading slow since removing external USB hard drive


I have a problem that's been driving me nuts. I have an external hard drive, a Western Digital MyBook 500 Gb USB, that I use for storage. I've only ever used it for storage, never put any programs on it. Somehow, it got "integrated" into Windows XP so that Windows would start much slower than usual if this hard drive wasn't connected. This isn't true for my other two external hard drives.

With the hard drive connected, I waited only the amount of time it takes for that blue scrolling bar on the Windows load screen to move from left to right two times. I consider this pretty fast. Now, with the hard drive gone, I wait through maybe 12. If I were to reconnect the hard drive, it would be normal. I can't figure out what the hell is going on here. I've looked through my services and run Registry Mechanic a few times. Nothing seems to make it behave normally. I'm sure a fresh install would work, but I think that's a bit drastic.

Any ideas?
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  1. Check and see if by chance anything got mapped to that drive and windows is trying to reinitialize the mapping at boot. You might try uninstalling it, if you can.
  2. I copied everything from that hard drive and put it onto my new 1 Tb USB hard drive. I'm going to try setting the drive letter to the same thing as the old hard drive. The new hard drive is G: and the old was H:. My external Maxtor drive that's always functioned as I: decided it would set itself for H: after I removed the WD drive. This didn't have any effect on loading times then or after I changed it back.

    I have quite a few programs, it's hard to say for sure if one is looking for that old H: drive. I would mount images or open files that were on that drive from time to time, but nothing else. It's like Windows put some file(s) on that drive without me knowing it and now it's looking for them at startup. And no registry program will fix it.
  3. So I changed the drive letter of one of my other external drives to the letter that the old drive was using. Voilà, it loads like normal. When I turn the drive off and I restart the computer, it loads slow again.

    I still can't figure out exactly what's causing this. At least I know it's something Windows is trying to call from the H: drive at boot up. Any simple way to check quickly? I have quite a few programs that I'll have to run through otherwise.
  4. You might check the system control panel and see if the system pagefile is set to have a part of the pagefile on that drive.

    You might also go download TweakUI and see if any special system folders like Documents and Settings, Temporary Internet Files, etc. were in the past moved to that drive.
  5. I've checked the control panel out and there is no swapfile/pagefile located on any of my external or internal drives (other than C: of course). I've gone through all of my programs and I see no sign of any of them trying to call anything from that external drive. I could have missed something, but I think the problem probably has to do with something smaller, simpler and more hidden. I just can't think of what it could be. It might be some services I'm missing, or something in msconfig that I'm missing, or perhaps some driver that got installed. I don't remember needing to install anything to make the drive run, though.

    I might try having a look at the event logs for start up, but I'm not sure if they contain things that start right at the beginning on that loading screen, which is where my problem lies.
  6. I don't really know what I did, but everything seems to be working normally now with the hard drive turned off at boot-up! The only things I changed lately were:

    -Steam updated itself, but it always does that.
    -I installed some Steam games, Portal: Prelude, and the new Half-Life 2 mods that were just released on Steam.
    -I updated my version of uTorrent to the latest one, but I always do that.
    - Transferred almost everything off my older external drive to the newer one, and now just use the older one for uTorrent or eMule related things.
    -Updated Webroot Spysweeper to the latest version, the one with the firewall, which I always end up turning off because I don't like it.

    That's it, don't see how any of these things affects start up. Then again, I'm not sure there's anyone out there who understands all the intricacies and capriciousness of the Windows operating system.
  7. Try this one:

    It's for free!
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