Why do I sometimes have slow transfers from my USB 2 card reader?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Tim, Mar 23, 2005.

  1. Tim

    Tim Guest

    I have a Zio card reader, connected to a USB 2 port on my computer,
    and use it to read Smartmedia cards.

    90% of the time, it moves the data FAST. I'm guessing, but probably
    60 megs of jpg data move in ten seconds or so.

    But 10% of the time, it's like it's moving at USB 1 speeds. It might
    take 3-4 minutes to move 60 megs.

    I don't have spyware on my computer, and generally, no other
    applications are running on the computer during the transfer. Does
    this occasional slow transfer happen to anyone else, and what might
    the cause be?
     
    Tim, Mar 23, 2005
    #1
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  2. Tim

    Rick Guest

    "Tim" <> wrote in message news:...
    > I have a Zio card reader, connected to a USB 2 port on my computer,
    > and use it to read Smartmedia cards.
    >
    > 90% of the time, it moves the data FAST. I'm guessing, but probably
    > 60 megs of jpg data move in ten seconds or so.
    >
    > But 10% of the time, it's like it's moving at USB 1 speeds. It might
    > take 3-4 minutes to move 60 megs.
    >
    > I don't have spyware on my computer, and generally, no other
    > applications are running on the computer during the transfer. Does
    > this occasional slow transfer happen to anyone else, and what might
    > the cause be?


    Possible causes range from extreme disk fragmentation to
    other devices on the USB which are sucking up bandwidth
    to spyware or other nasties installed on your system.
     
    Rick, Mar 23, 2005
    #2
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  3. Tim

    Stewy Guest

    In article <>,
    Tim <> wrote:

    > I have a Zio card reader, connected to a USB 2 port on my computer,
    > and use it to read Smartmedia cards.
    >
    > 90% of the time, it moves the data FAST. I'm guessing, but probably
    > 60 megs of jpg data move in ten seconds or so.
    >
    > But 10% of the time, it's like it's moving at USB 1 speeds. It might
    > take 3-4 minutes to move 60 megs.
    >
    > I don't have spyware on my computer, and generally, no other
    > applications are running on the computer during the transfer. Does
    > this occasional slow transfer happen to anyone else, and what might
    > the cause be?


    It could be the OS interpreting the card reader wrongly. Try canceling
    the download and starting again.
     
    Stewy, Mar 24, 2005
    #3
  4. Tim

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Stewy wrote:
    > In article <>,
    > Tim <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >>I have a Zio card reader, connected to a USB 2 port on my computer,
    >>and use it to read Smartmedia cards.
    >>
    >>90% of the time, it moves the data FAST. I'm guessing, but probably
    >>60 megs of jpg data move in ten seconds or so.
    >>
    >>But 10% of the time, it's like it's moving at USB 1 speeds. It might
    >>take 3-4 minutes to move 60 megs.
    >>
    >>I don't have spyware on my computer, and generally, no other
    >>applications are running on the computer during the transfer. Does
    >>this occasional slow transfer happen to anyone else, and what might
    >>the cause be?

    >
    >
    > It could be the OS interpreting the card reader wrongly. Try canceling
    > the download and starting again.


    It could also be that some other device has been used on the USB 2.0
    interface at the same time, or just before, and set the speed down to
    USB 1.1 rates. USB will go at the rate of the slowest device on the
    chain....


    --
    Ron Hunter
     
    Ron Hunter, Mar 24, 2005
    #4
  5. Tim

    ASAAR Guest

    On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 20:54:14 GMT, Tim wrote:

    > Does this occasional slow transfer happen to anyone else,
    > and what might the cause be?


    If none of the other suggestions are the cause of your slow
    transfer rate, it could be the result of too many files per folder.
    This shouldn't be a problem with copying pictures taken by a camera,
    since all of the cameras I've seen so far limit the number of
    pictures in a folder/directory to 100. But if you're dealing with
    more than several hundred files per folder, at some point the
    transfer rate will appear to suddenly bog down. It's not actually
    the copying speed slowing down, but appears to be due to the OS
    taking far longer to process directory entries. This can be easily
    tested without having to copy any files if you open a DOS window and
    typing "DIR <Enter>", assuming your're using an OS that allows DOS
    windows. If the speed of the scrolling filenames suddenly slows
    down drastically, that folder has more directory entries that the OS
    can conveniently handle.
     
    ASAAR, Mar 24, 2005
    #5
  6. Tim

    Ron Hunter Guest

    ASAAR wrote:
    > On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 20:54:14 GMT, Tim wrote:
    >
    >
    >>Does this occasional slow transfer happen to anyone else,
    >>and what might the cause be?

    >
    >
    > If none of the other suggestions are the cause of your slow
    > transfer rate, it could be the result of too many files per folder.
    > This shouldn't be a problem with copying pictures taken by a camera,
    > since all of the cameras I've seen so far limit the number of
    > pictures in a folder/directory to 100. But if you're dealing with
    > more than several hundred files per folder, at some point the
    > transfer rate will appear to suddenly bog down. It's not actually
    > the copying speed slowing down, but appears to be due to the OS
    > taking far longer to process directory entries. This can be easily
    > tested without having to copy any files if you open a DOS window and
    > typing "DIR <Enter>", assuming your're using an OS that allows DOS
    > windows. If the speed of the scrolling filenames suddenly slows
    > down drastically, that folder has more directory entries that the OS
    > can conveniently handle.
    >


    Humm. This limit doesn't apply to Kodak cameras. I had over 250 in my
    DX6440 pictures directory last vacation.
    Note that in WinXP, you can raise the normal number of files the OS
    expects in a folder....


    --
    Ron Hunter
     
    Ron Hunter, Mar 24, 2005
    #6
  7. Tim

    Tim Guest

    I appreciate everyone's answers so far. But I'm still perplexed.

    I just tried transferring some pictures that I'd let build up on my
    card (a Smartmedia card in an Olympus camera). There are 93 jpg
    files, encompassing 52 meg of data according to Windows. It took 45
    seconds to transfer the data to my PC. If we're talking 8 bits/byte,
    that's a rate of roughly 9.7 mbps (the actual size of the files is
    54,000,000 bytes, roughly.

    As for some of the suggestions that have been offered:

    Spyware: Doubtful. I run Ad-aware and Spybot, both updated, twice a
    week, they're always clean. Updated NAV 2004 run twice a week, always
    clean. I just ran hijackthis and got what looked to me to be normal
    results.

    Fragmentation: Also doubtful. I have a relatively new hard drive with
    50 free gigs that have never had data on them.

    Other processes claiming the bus: Tougher to say. On my USB 2 ports,
    I have:

    - an unterminated camera cable, that I never bothered to remove when I
    added the card reader
    - a printer (its queue is empty)
    - the card reader
    - an empty port

    Most importantly, please understand that I have transferred photos
    from the reader, connected to its current port, at the high expected
    rate of speed. Things seem jinxed now though; I can't make the thing
    work at the high speed any more. But it HAS worked before.

    Is there a way to reset the port? Or are there new drivers I can
    download for it? The USB card's maker didn't provide drivers; the one
    I'm using I downloaded from Microsoft's site. It's version 5.1.2600.0
    dated 6/1/2001.
     
    Tim, Mar 24, 2005
    #7
  8. Tim

    Tim Guest

    I must have a messed up USB card.

    Just wondering if rearranging the cables on the card would improve
    anything, I tried that. As it turns out, of the four ports on the
    card, the only port that works for the reader is the leftmost one as
    I'm looking at the back of the computer. Connecting it to any of the
    other ports gives me a nasty-looking warning about unplugging a USB
    device (despite the fact that I am unplugging nothing) whenever I try
    to copy files from the card.

    And I can't get the reader to transfer faster than 45 seconds for 54
    megs of files, even on that port.

    The other devices connected to the ports on the card all seem to
    function fine.

    I tried going into safe mode and uninstalling the card, then
    restarting and reinstalling the drivers. I did find a more recent
    driver than I'd been using, but it didn't make a bit of difference.

    Guess it's time for a replacement card, unless someone has a better
    idea.
     
    Tim, Mar 24, 2005
    #8
  9. Tim

    ASAAR Guest

    On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 12:10:55 -0600, Ron Hunter wrote:

    > Humm. This limit doesn't apply to Kodak cameras. I had over 250 in my
    > DX6440 pictures directory last vacation.


    Canon's S10 and S20 create a new folder each time the old one
    reaches 100 files. I'm not even sure that it needs to store 100
    files in a folder before it creates a new one. It may be based on
    the incremented filenames, so if you delete a few files on the
    camera . . . I haven't taken enough pictures yet with my newer Fuji
    to know for sure, but it appears that its limit is probably 1000
    files per folder. This is easily 2 or 3 times too many files for my
    computer to handle without gagging, so I don't plan to let old
    pictures accumulate on the card very long.


    > Note that in WinXP, you can raise the normal number of files
    > the OS expects in a folder....


    Haven't used XP yet. For that matter I haven't installed
    installed the Win2k that I bought several years ago. I think it
    would overly tax if not offend my computer's hardware which jost
    barely tolerates its elderly Win95. :) Do you know what XP's
    default is for the "number of files the OS expects in a folder"? I
    imagine that if set too low or too high performance or resources
    might suffer. It would be useful if this number could be customized
    for different drives or folders.
     
    ASAAR, Mar 24, 2005
    #9
  10. Tim

    ASAAR Guest

    On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 20:54:14 GMT, Tim wrote:

    > 90% of the time, it moves the data FAST. I'm guessing, but probably
    > 60 megs of jpg data move in ten seconds or so.
    >
    > But 10% of the time, it's like it's moving at USB 1 speeds. It might
    > take 3-4 minutes to move 60 megs.


    Is there any chance that when it's moving data quickly, that the
    JPGs are in multiple directories and when it's moving data slowly
    the files are in fewer or only one folder?
     
    ASAAR, Mar 24, 2005
    #10
  11. Tim

    paul Guest

    USB is finisky in win 2000, probably not at all happy in win 95. It does
    all sorts of unpredictable things.

    Tim wrote:

    > I appreciate everyone's answers so far. But I'm still perplexed.
    >
    > I just tried transferring some pictures that I'd let build up on my
    > card (a Smartmedia card in an Olympus camera). There are 93 jpg
    > files, encompassing 52 meg of data according to Windows. It took 45
    > seconds to transfer the data to my PC. If we're talking 8 bits/byte,
    > that's a rate of roughly 9.7 mbps (the actual size of the files is
    > 54,000,000 bytes, roughly.
    >
    > As for some of the suggestions that have been offered:
    >
    > Spyware: Doubtful. I run Ad-aware and Spybot, both updated, twice a
    > week, they're always clean. Updated NAV 2004 run twice a week, always
    > clean. I just ran hijackthis and got what looked to me to be normal
    > results.
    >
    > Fragmentation: Also doubtful. I have a relatively new hard drive with
    > 50 free gigs that have never had data on them.
    >
    > Other processes claiming the bus: Tougher to say. On my USB 2 ports,
    > I have:
    >
    > - an unterminated camera cable, that I never bothered to remove when I
    > added the card reader
    > - a printer (its queue is empty)
    > - the card reader
    > - an empty port
    >
    > Most importantly, please understand that I have transferred photos
    > from the reader, connected to its current port, at the high expected
    > rate of speed. Things seem jinxed now though; I can't make the thing
    > work at the high speed any more. But it HAS worked before.
    >
    > Is there a way to reset the port? Or are there new drivers I can
    > download for it? The USB card's maker didn't provide drivers; the one
    > I'm using I downloaded from Microsoft's site. It's version 5.1.2600.0
    > dated 6/1/2001.
     
    paul, Mar 25, 2005
    #11
  12. Tim

    Steve Guest

    Tim wrote:

    > 52 meg of data took 45
    > seconds to transfer


    You lucky dog. Until I upgrade my computer I've been putting the card from my good
    camera (software for which requires W98se, and I've got W98) into a lesser camera
    that will talk to my OS. Until a few days ago I never transferred more than about 100
    MB at a time and didn't pay much attention to the speed. Finally deciding to transfer
    files from a notebook to the PC I put about 110 8MB Raw files on a 1 gig card,
    swapped the card to the camera, and started the transfer. Windows started by telling
    me it was going to take about 90 minutes. Not a problem as I have other things to do
    and I'm not in a rush. I checked back now and again, and when it was about 2/3 done
    the time remaining suddenly jumped back to about 90 minutes for the remaining 300 MB
    +/-. I suppose it could be that the camera was at fault, but I'm figuring it was some
    OS issue or another app taking resources.

    Running Norton AV might offer an explanation, especially if you're running
    Systemworks. Norton is a major resource hog when it does anything more than lurk
    in the background. Whenever live update runs my whole machine slows down dramaticaly.
    When Norton AV is doing a full system check even Freecell gets clunky.

    > Fragmentation: Also doubtful. I have a relatively new hard drive with
    > 50 free gigs that have never had data on them.


    New data can be written to the "front" of the drive, as it were, regardless of how
    much free space is at the back of the drive. What I've read in the last couple of
    years, though, says fragmentation isn't a real problem anyway (unless you sell
    defragging software), especially with new high speed drives.

    --
    Steve

    The above can be construed as personal opinion in the absence of a reasonable
    belief that it was intended as a statement of fact.

    If you want a reply to reach me, remove the SPAMTRAP from the address.
     
    Steve, Mar 25, 2005
    #12
  13. Tim

    Tim Guest

    On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 15:27:10 -0500, ASAAR <> wrote:

    >On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 20:54:14 GMT, Tim wrote:
    >
    >> 90% of the time, it moves the data FAST. I'm guessing, but probably
    >> 60 megs of jpg data move in ten seconds or so.
    >>
    >> But 10% of the time, it's like it's moving at USB 1 speeds. It might
    >> take 3-4 minutes to move 60 megs.

    >
    > Is there any chance that when it's moving data quickly, that the
    >JPGs are in multiple directories and when it's moving data slowly
    >the files are in fewer or only one folder?


    Same thing every time: all source jpgs are in one directory, and
    always being moved to one directory.
     
    Tim, Mar 25, 2005
    #13
  14. Tim

    ASAAR Guest

    On Fri, 25 Mar 2005 04:10:53 GMT, Tim wrote:

    >> Is there any chance that when it's moving data quickly, that the
    >> JPGs are in multiple directories and when it's moving data slowly
    >> the files are in fewer or only one folder?

    >
    > Same thing every time: all source jpgs are in one directory, and
    > always being moved to one directory.


    Then all I can think of is that your USB is functioning normally
    at USB1 speed. You said that one of the devices connected to it is:

    > - a printer (its queue is empty)


    The printer *might* be slowing your computer's USB port, even if
    its queue is empty. I had a problem with an HP printer several
    years ago that brought the speed of other devices to a crawl (making
    them run about 1/50th normal speed). It turned out to be the
    printer's driver making status info. available to the computer (ink
    level, paper jam, etc.). HP tech. supt. walked me through a hidden
    menu option that disabled the printer's ability to send data back to
    the computer and suddenly all of the other devices worked at full
    speed. I don't think your printer is causing a similar problem
    (yours is USB, mine used the parallel port), but just by being
    connected it may be slowing down the USB data rate. My printer,
    BTW, even when powered off is still 'alive' even though its LEDs
    don't light up. To be absolutely sure that other devices aren't
    causing your problem, physically disconnect all of the other USB
    devices cables except for the card reader (even the unterminated
    camera cable). Then go one step farther. Shut down the computer.
    Don't just reboot. Power it off and then reboot. If your card
    reader then doesn't operate at high speed, you'll have to determine
    whether it's the computer or the card reader (or possibly both)
    that's stuck at the low USB transfer rate. To do that you'd need
    either a second computer or a second card reader, both known to be
    operating at the higher USB 2 speed.
     
    ASAAR, Mar 25, 2005
    #14
  15. Tim

    Tim Guest

    On Fri, 25 Mar 2005 07:37:12 -0500, in rec.photo.digital you wrote:

    >On Fri, 25 Mar 2005 04:10:53 GMT, Tim wrote:
    >
    >>> Is there any chance that when it's moving data quickly, that the
    >>> JPGs are in multiple directories and when it's moving data slowly
    >>> the files are in fewer or only one folder?

    >>
    >> Same thing every time: all source jpgs are in one directory, and
    >> always being moved to one directory.

    >
    > Then all I can think of is that your USB is functioning normally
    >at USB1 speed. You said that one of the devices connected to it is:
    >
    >> - a printer (its queue is empty)

    >
    > The printer *might* be slowing your computer's USB port, even if
    >its queue is empty. I had a problem with an HP printer several
    >years ago that brought the speed of other devices to a crawl (making
    >them run about 1/50th normal speed). It turned out to be the
    >printer's driver making status info. available to the computer (ink
    >level, paper jam, etc.). HP tech. supt. walked me through a hidden
    >menu option that disabled the printer's ability to send data back to
    >the computer and suddenly all of the other devices worked at full
    >speed. I don't think your printer is causing a similar problem
    >(yours is USB, mine used the parallel port), but just by being
    >connected it may be slowing down the USB data rate. My printer,
    >BTW, even when powered off is still 'alive' even though its LEDs
    >don't light up. To be absolutely sure that other devices aren't
    >causing your problem, physically disconnect all of the other USB
    >devices cables except for the card reader (even the unterminated
    >camera cable). Then go one step farther. Shut down the computer.
    >Don't just reboot. Power it off and then reboot. If your card
    >reader then doesn't operate at high speed, you'll have to determine
    >whether it's the computer or the card reader (or possibly both)
    >that's stuck at the low USB transfer rate. To do that you'd need
    >either a second computer or a second card reader, both known to be
    >operating at the higher USB 2 speed.


    Sorry for my delay in replying back. I tried an experiment and it was
    an eye-opener.

    After failing to get my Zio reader/writer to work on three of my four
    USB 2 ports, and after having it generally fail to transfer faster
    than at a USB 1 rate, I plugged my Olympus camera, using its USB
    cable, into one of the ports on which my reader fails to operate.
    After copying 58 megs of data from PC to the memory card in the
    camera, I was able to copy it from the camera to a newly-made folder
    on the PC in about 10 seconds, around 45 mbps.

    Since I can achieve that data transfer on a port that won't even work
    with my Zio reader, and since all my other USB 2 devices work at USB 2
    speeds connected to the ports, and since I just achieve USB 2 speeds
    with a port that won't work with my reader...

    Well, the obvious conclusion is that the Zio reader is a piece of
    junk. Right?
     
    Tim, Mar 30, 2005
    #15
  16. Tim

    Tim Guest

    On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 20:54:14 GMT, Tim <>
    wrote:

    >I have a Zio card reader, connected to a USB 2 port on my computer,
    >and use it to read Smartmedia cards.
    >
    >90% of the time, it moves the data FAST. I'm guessing, but probably
    >60 megs of jpg data move in ten seconds or so.
    >
    >But 10% of the time, it's like it's moving at USB 1 speeds. It might
    >take 3-4 minutes to move 60 megs.
    >
    >I don't have spyware on my computer, and generally, no other
    >applications are running on the computer during the transfer. Does
    >this occasional slow transfer happen to anyone else, and what might
    >the cause be?


    Based on successfully moving data at a USB 2 rate from a camera to the
    PC, via a port with which my reader failed to work, I went to return
    the reader today. While returning it, I struck up a conversation with
    a tech, who said that it sounded like the reader wasn't getting enough
    power.

    Which is a funny thing, because I upgraded much of my computer a
    couple months ago, but was unable to replace its 135-watt power supply
    with a 350 watt one that came with the new case I bought (Dell
    motherboard needs a special adapter connector to connect to the new
    PS).

    I had *not* mentioned the power supply to the tech, he was just
    thinking out loud. So he persuaded me to put down the Belkin reader I
    had in my hand and keep the Zio Dazzle reader, at least until I've put
    the 350 watt power supply in, something I'm looking to do in the next
    week.

    My question is: How likely is it that the reason my reader fails to
    work in three of my four USB ports, and generally only transfers data
    at the USB 1.1 rate (port and reader are 2.0) when it works with the
    fourth port, is because my 135 watt power supply is inadequate?
     
    Tim, Mar 31, 2005
    #16
  17. Tim

    Ian Guest

    Tim wrote:
    > On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 20:54:14 GMT, Tim <>
    > wrote:
    >
    >> I have a Zio card reader, connected to a USB 2 port on my computer,
    >> and use it to read Smartmedia cards.
    >>
    >> 90% of the time, it moves the data FAST. I'm guessing, but probably
    >> 60 megs of jpg data move in ten seconds or so.
    >>
    >> But 10% of the time, it's like it's moving at USB 1 speeds. It might
    >> take 3-4 minutes to move 60 megs.
    >>
    >> I don't have spyware on my computer, and generally, no other
    >> applications are running on the computer during the transfer. Does
    >> this occasional slow transfer happen to anyone else, and what might
    >> the cause be?

    >
    > Based on successfully moving data at a USB 2 rate from a camera to the
    > PC, via a port with which my reader failed to work, I went to return
    > the reader today. While returning it, I struck up a conversation with
    > a tech, who said that it sounded like the reader wasn't getting enough
    > power.
    >
    > Which is a funny thing, because I upgraded much of my computer a
    > couple months ago, but was unable to replace its 135-watt power supply
    > with a 350 watt one that came with the new case I bought (Dell
    > motherboard needs a special adapter connector to connect to the new
    > PS).
    >
    > I had *not* mentioned the power supply to the tech, he was just
    > thinking out loud. So he persuaded me to put down the Belkin reader I
    > had in my hand and keep the Zio Dazzle reader, at least until I've put
    > the 350 watt power supply in, something I'm looking to do in the next
    > week.
    >
    > My question is: How likely is it that the reason my reader fails to
    > work in three of my four USB ports, and generally only transfers data
    > at the USB 1.1 rate (port and reader are 2.0) when it works with the
    > fourth port, is because my 135 watt power supply is inadequate?


    I would have thought it more likely that something else is taking bandwidth
    on the same USB controller.
     
    Ian, Mar 31, 2005
    #17
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