Windows 10: USB 3.0 Hard drive enclosure stalling at random moments.

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  1.    31 Jan 2017 #1

    USB 3.0 Hard drive enclosure stalling at random moments.


    I bought an Inateck USB 3.0 hard drive enclosure to use with a SATA hard drive as a backup. I used it to put system image backups of my main C drive on (using Windows Backup and Restore, as well as Macrium Reflect). During one backup session with Windows Backup and Restore, the drive stalled at a random moment, making the backup process fail (and my computer freeze up). Later, during a restore session using a Macrium backup stored on the drive, the drive again stalled at a random time, which nearly resulted in disaster.

    Thinking that the hard drive itself was the problem, I took it out of the enclosure and replaced it with a newer one. However, during a backup session, the stalling problem hit again, proving definitively that it is the enclosure, rather than the drive within it, that is causing the stalling problem. Whenever the stalling problem hits, the only way to fix it is to switch off the enclosure and turn it back on. But that's just a temporary fix, and the problem inevitably hits again.

    Does anyone know what could be causing this problem? Could it be a defect with the enclosure, a driver problem ,or something else? Has anyone else experienced a similar problem?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2.    31 Jan 2017 #2

    What kinds of error messages does Macrium emit when this happens? You can search their Knowledgebase for insight and information. Over the weekend, I posted about a similar problems in Kari's Macrium Tutorial (post#115) which may shed some light on your situation. Basically, it requires changing the settings for external USB drives so you can't unplug them whenever you want, but have to use the "Safely remove..." widget instead. In return, you get enhanced stability that lets the backup complete.

    That said, I also experienced a drive caddy/drive dock problem this week where backups simply wouldn't complete on one device. Only by switching to a different caddy (I have 3 of them, thank goodness) was I able to get Macrium and Windows 7 Backup to complete successfully on my Surface Pro 3.

    HTH,
    --Ed--
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3.    31 Jan 2017 #3

    EdTittel said: View Post
    What kinds of error messages does Macrium emit when this happens?
    It doesn't. It just stays on a particular percentage indefinitely.

    Basically, it requires changing the settings for external USB drives so you can't unplug them whenever you want, but have to use the "Safely remove..." widget instead. In return, you get enhanced stability that lets the backup complete.
    I've been using the Safely Remove widget. However, I'm not certain whether or not I have my system set to require that or not. All I know is that I've been using it whenever I disconnect a hard drive or flash drive.

    EDIT: I checked the policies, and it had been set to "Quick removal". I'll try setting it to "Enable write caching on this device", but should I also check the second check box underneath? The hard drive has its own power supply (a 12 volt power adapter), but I'm not certain whether it is one that allows it to flush its buffer in case of power failure.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by hbenthow; 31 Jan 2017 at 16:28.
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  4.    01 Feb 2017 #4

    I didn't check the second box on my machine and everything worked OK with just the "Enable write caching..." item checked. I wouldn't check the 2nd box unless the power supply for the external drive is plugged into a UPS. Hope this works for you, too.
    --Ed--
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5.    01 Feb 2017 #5

    EdTittel said: View Post
    I didn't check the second box on my machine and everything worked OK with just the "Enable write caching..." item checked. I wouldn't check the 2nd box unless the power supply for the external drive is plugged into a UPS. Hope this works for you, too.
    --Ed--
    I'm a bit cautious at this point, as a failure with write caching enabled could cause some damage. I've contacted Inateck, and I'm waiting to see what they say before proceeding further.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6.    01 Feb 2017 #6

    It is not the Device Properties Policy, rather it is an inexpensive USB enclosure and the USB Controller inside the Enclosure is probably faulty. Try a different USB Adapter, Dock or Enclosure with a power adapter.
    Also be sure you are plugging in the USB cable to the Back USB (desktop) ports and not the front or through a hub as these ports are weaker.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7.    01 Feb 2017 #7

    spunk said: View Post
    It is not the Device Properties Policy, rather it is an inexpensive USB enclosure and the USB Controller inside the Enclosure is probably faulty. Try a different USB Adapter, Dock or Enclosure with a power adapter.
    The enclosure in question does come with a power adapter, but it is indeed an inexpensive enclosure (I'm on a budget). I'm very surprised to be experiencing trouble, though, as the product has very good reviews from almost every online source.

    I do have one other enclosure, but it is a USB 2.0 enclosure, and thus so slow as to be impractical for me to use to make frequent system image backups.

    Can you recommend a good, reliable (but fairly inexpensive) USB 3.0 enclosure?

    Also, if the problem is indeed a faulty USB controller within the enclosure (which I believe is a fairly likely explanation for the problem, as the problem seems to originate from the enclosure), is it likely to be a fluke, or an issue that is likely to be repeated in other units of the same device?

    Also be sure you are plugging in the USB cable to the Back USB (desktop) ports and not the front or through a hub as these ports are weaker.
    I did. The computer I have has only 4 USB 3.0 ports (located in the back) and 6 USB 2.0 ports (four of which are in the front, two in the back). In order to harness the full speed of USB 2.0 (and thus keep my backups from taking a very long time), I used one of the USB 3.0 ports in the back of my computer.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8.    01 Feb 2017 #8

    I would try the enclosure in a USB 2.0 port. You don't have to do a full backup to test, just copy/drag and drop a large file of a couple GB to test. If you have the same problem, then the controller is faulty. If it works through 2.0 then the controller may not fully support 3.0. If you stick with Name Brand Enclosures or Docks like Sabrent, StarTek, TRENDnet etc you should be fine Amazon.com: usb 3.0 dock - Computers & Accessories: Electronics
    Amazon.com: usb 3.0 hard drive enclosures - Computers & Accessories: Electronics
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9.    02 Feb 2017 #9

    spunk said: View Post
    I would try the enclosure in a USB 2.0 port. You don't have to do a full backup to test, just copy/drag and drop a large file of a couple GB to test. If you have the same problem, then the controller is faulty. If it works through 2.0 then the controller may not fully support 3.0.
    I decided to perform a full system image backup to the Inateck enclosure through a USB 2.0 port, in order to make the test sufficiently rigorous. Surprisingly, it only took marginally longer than with a USB 3.0 port (about 9 minutes longer), and I got faster speeds than I had ever gotten with my old USB 2.0 enclosure (about 20 MBps faster). The process completed without incident. I then copied the image file to an internal hard drive in my computer, and the copying process likewise completed without incident.

    What do you believe these results signify? If it is that the enclosure doesn't fully support USB 3.0, isn't that a sign of a faulty controller in and of itself, as the product is described as supporting USB 3.0? According to Overclockers.com, my Inateck enclosure's controller is the ASMedia ASM1153E, which, based on what I can find on Google, is apparently a fairly high quality controller.

    Inateck FE3001 USB 3.0 HDD Enclosure Review

    Do you think this means that the controller on my particular unit is faulty?

    If you stick with Name Brand Enclosures or Docks like Sabrent, StarTek, TRENDnet etc you should be fine
    Do you believe it would be more advisable to return my Inateck enclosure for a refund and try to buy one from a more reliable brand, or to seek a warranty replacement of the Inateck enclosure?
    Last edited by hbenthow; 02 Feb 2017 at 02:21.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10.    02 Feb 2017 #10

    I would start by updating the USB 3.0 drivers from your Motherboard/ Computer manufacturers download drivers site. If that doesn't improve then I would see if Inatek has an updated driver for their enclosure, if not then see if you can get your money back and try a different manufacturer.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


 
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