Possible deal breaker - can't move large amounts of data on external drives

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Book' started by Jesse Segovia, Dec 13, 2015.

  1. Jesse Segovia

    Jesse Segovia Member

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    I know this issue has already been raised by at least one forum member but here's my experience. I use 2 TB My Passport Ultra mobile USB 3.0 drives to store media content and also for backups. All my of external drives were just about full so I bought a new drive yesterday and started with the 'My Music' folder which contains all my music and iTunes media from the old drive to the new one. There is a lot of data on this drive - the My Music folder is as follows:

    758 GB (814,719,983,675 bytes)
    32,188 files. 11,976 folders

    When I do this copy on my old Dell laptop it gives me a meter showing how much data has been along with a percentage complete and a graph of how fast the data is being transferred, along with listing each file as it's copied. The throughput averages about 18 to 19 MBs per second. But I decided 'hey, I should be doing this on my new Surface Book,' so I moved the drives to the SB and started the copy. It starts off fine, some files are moved over but pretty soon nothing happens - it is stuck on one large file it thinks it's copying, the percentage complete never gets above 0% and the speed remains at 0. The copy is just stuck. I opened Device Manager to see if the USB port has lost the drive or drives as another user here has seen but it looks good - both external drives are still listed. It just doesn't copy.

    Could this possibly be a software problem that a future update might address? I use external drives extensively for work files, music and video media, etc. I cannot rely on a second computer to do copies and backups. If this is a hardware issue or limitation I'm going to have to take my Surface Book back, and I am really not looking forward to that.
     
  2. sharpuser

    sharpuser Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I run into few people that do more external drive copying than I do. I collect maps, and also have a vast multimedia library. I use up to 3TB Passport drives, and back up my backup drives. Some individual files are a few hundred MB, such as my Parallels Virtual PC data l. I back up MacBooks and PCs. When I upgrade any of them, OneDrive content is transferred from a drive to the computer before I connect the OneDrive service. I have drives at work, at more than one home, and in a safe. Drives are formatted ExFAT or Apple.

    I haven't experienced this problem. If I did, it would be a show-stopper as you suggest.

    Take heart. I do not believe the Surface Book has any inherent problem with this.
     
    albertan_bear and unruledboy like this.
  3. jnjroach

    jnjroach Administrator Staff Member

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    Is this a drive powered via the USB? It sounds like there is a drop off and power causing the drive to disappear. This can be fixed using a Y cable and plugging the power side of the Y cable into another port or use a powered USB Hub.
     
  4. Wayne Orwig

    Wayne Orwig Active Member

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    Works well on my external powered hard drive. Sound like yours it losing power.
     
  5. Jesse Segovia

    Jesse Segovia Member

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    Yes, the My Passport Ultras are not powered, but they work fine with my Dell Latitude laptop. I have a powered USB hub so I can try a large data transfer through that. I think I'm going to pickup a new dock and try the copy through that to see if it makes an difference.

    And thanks for all the replies!
     
  6. jnjroach

    jnjroach Administrator Staff Member

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    Laptop tend to send more power to the USB ports then Ultrabooks and Tablets...
     
  7. Jesse Segovia

    Jesse Segovia Member

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    If this problem occurs because I'm working with non-powered USB drives will it also occur if I attach the same drives to the new Microsoft dock?
     
  8. hughlle

    hughlle Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The dock has powered usb ports. The surface devices tend to have a lower power output on the usb port, i imagine so as to increase battery life. The dock is powered from the wall so it is not a problem there, hence why they are able to put 4 usb ports on it.
     
  9. kimknapp

    kimknapp New Member

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    I truly don't believe this has anything to do with powered/unpowered devices. I have a 2TB My Passport and a 512GB SSD, which work fine on my Yoga 2 Pro, never a glitch.
    Whether I plugged them into my Targus dock (powered hub) or directly into the Book (unpowered) with or without the dock attached, it exhibited the exact same behavior as the OP. And, I have seen others on this forum and other forums with the same problem.
    Just curious, for those on here that say it works fine, are you using an I7, 16GB 512GB Book configured Book? That seems to be a common configuration of those that have had problems.
    I returned mine and will wait until I am assured I won't corrupt data using a Book before deciding to purchase again.

    FYI, if you are in doubt, yesterday I updated the firmware on my Sony A7Rii using the Yoga. As I was doing it I started thinking about how the A7 is updated via USB and is doing a large file transfer. Sony warns that an interruption of the update will brick (they even used that word) the camera. If I had done this with the Book, I have to wonder if I would have ruined my $3000+ A7Rii!

    If you are using external drives, I highly recommend staying away from the Book or at least doing a lot of testing with copying large files to an external USB3 drive before purchasing. In my case, I did see several files corrupted each time the USB3 drive stopped working.
     
  10. sharpuser

    sharpuser Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I use both an i7/16/512 Surface Book and i7/16/512 Surface Pro 3 with no problems.
     
  11. kimknapp

    kimknapp New Member

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    Thanks sharpcolorado, That's encouraging, it may have been a bad batch, since I know I am not the only one that saw this issue.

    To a potential purchaser, I would still recommend taking a USB drive along and transferring at least 15GB of data from Book to drive at the store. The down side is that when I was trying to transfer photos from a SD card or from internal memory to either the SSD or the external hard drive not only did it disconnect the external drives, but I often ended up with 5 to 10 of the images that did transfer being unreadable. I also corrupted a Word file when it was trying to write to the external SSD, wasting a lot of my time.

    After saying all of that, it is still possible that I had two problems: 1. the USB port was disconnecting because of a power issue and 2. when I was using the Targus dock there was another, different issue.
    Problem is, what do I do on the road (airplane, where I work a lot) and want to use the SSD?
     
  12. bjanssen

    bjanssen New Member

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    I've moved a lot of data back and forth on my WD Passport 2TB and have had no issues whatsoever.

    Not saying you're not experiencing issues, just saying it sounds very specific to your particular scenario and not a general surface book issue.
     

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