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WD USB External HDD & Slow Boot

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February 22, 2011 3:45:03 PM

Hi guys,

I recently ordered a new computer from my local computer shop, but I'm experiencing some external hdd-related problems. But first, my specs:

Intel Core i5-750 @ 2.66GHz
Asus P7P55D Pro mobo
8gb 2x4GB G. Skill Ripjaws ram
XFX Radeon HD 5850 gpu 1gb
WD 640GB Caviar Black
Creative SB X-Fi XtremeGamer PCI sound card
Windows 7 Home Edition 64-bit

When the rig was first brought home, with no overclock whatsoever, everything ran smoothly. Boot up was fast and error-free. About a week ago, however, I got my hands on three Western Digital external hdd (My Book Home via firewire, My Book Essentials via USB), and after connecting them, problem occured.

The first boot-up after connecting the external drives was painfully slow - the BIOS post screen lasted ~20 seconds instead of the usual 3-5 seconds. The Windows splash screen also lasted a lot longer. In the end, it still managed to boot to windows, so I ignored the longer boot time and attributed the problem to my external hdd. Again, this is with NO overclocking whatsoever.

A few days ago, I decided to try a bit of light overclocking on my i5. I followed a popular guide and got my cpu to 3.2 GHz and ram to 1600. This time, however, the computer never got past the BIOS post screen - it just stayed frozen there. I rebooted and got into BIOS, and I noticed that it spends a long time getting past detecting USB devices. I searched online and found that disabling legacy USB support would fix this issue.

I tried exactly that, and it worked! Boot up with the mild overclocking and my external drives connected was fast again. Unfortunately, this meant that I had no usb keyboard if and when I suffered a crash and had to get into startup repair or to get into safemode.

Thus, is there a way to NOT disable legacy usb support and still keep my external hdd connected?

Thanks!
February 22, 2011 5:15:55 PM

Overclocking instability isn't related to external USB devices. To test if an OC is working means a 12hr prime 95 stress test. If you OC RAM as well, you should probably also run it through memtest.

As for the USB devices issue, I assume you mean is there anyway to keep legacy USB support enabled, but not have longer boot times. The short answer is no.

Longer answer is by tweaking with BIOS options (quick boot feature, boot order tweak) you may be able to decrease boot time while having USB HD's connected.

The obvious question though is why not simply connect the devices when you need them instead of leaving them connected during boot?

edit: Could also just get a PCI USB card
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February 22, 2011 5:21:46 PM

banthracis said:
Overclocking instability isn't related to external USB devices. To test if an OC is working means a 12hr prime 95 stress test. If you OC RAM as well, you should probably also run it through memtest.

As for the USB devices issue, I assume you mean is there anyway to keep legacy USB support enabled, but not have longer boot times. The short answer is no.

Longer answer is by tweaking with BIOS options (quick boot feature, boot order tweak) you may be able to decrease boot time while having USB HD's connected.

The obvious question though is why not simply connect the devices when you need them instead of leaving them connected during boot?

edit: Could also just get a PCI USB card


Thanks! So connecting my externall hdd to a PCI USB card will most likely let me leave legacy USB function enabled and still not suffer the long boot time? Or do you mean that connecting my keyboard to the PCI USB card will let me use my keyboard during boot and so allow me to disable legacy usb support?

At any rate, since I'm constantly accessing files on the external hdd, unplugging them really isn't an option, at least not until I get a 3 tb+ internall drive to replace my current 640gb drive.

Thanks again!
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February 22, 2011 5:53:20 PM

Keep legacy enabled, plug keyboard to PC, PCI card to external drives. PCI USB cards won't function in BIOS.

Also, a ps2 keyboard is much cheaper than a pci card...hell you can probably find one lying around somewhere in an office for free.
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February 22, 2011 5:59:13 PM

banthracis said:
Keep legacy enabled, plug keyboard to PC, PCI card to external drives. PCI USB cards won't function in BIOS.

Also, a ps2 keyboard is much cheaper than a pci card...hell you can probably find one lying around somewhere in an office for free.


Hmm, I already have a ps2 keyboard lying around. It won't mess up my OS if I have both a USB keyboard & PS2 keyboard plugged in at the same time?

If so, then I'll keep legacy USB DISABLED, my external HDDs always connected, but have a PS2 keyboard plugged in on the off chance I need it.


Thanks!
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February 22, 2011 6:35:37 PM

Yea, you can have USB and PS2 KB plugged in.
Technically you can have as many KB /mouse plugged in as you want(well up to the cap on possible USB devices, 126 for 1 controller, 256 hard limit regardless of # of controllers since only 8 bits exist for USB assignment 2^8=256), it's just kinda silly to do so.
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