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I have this older external USB HD, 160 GB. I was using it to copy my Steam games to another computer. On the source computer, Windows 7 64-bit, everything worked fine. Drive reported no errors, had no hiccups, etc.

Plugging it into the Windows XP 32-bit computer, it worked fine for looking through the files, moving files around on it (no real reading/writing, just modifying the filesystem table). However, when copying files from it to my internal HD, after a couple seconds to tens of minutes (seemingly random times), the USB device becomes unrecognized and it reports a delayed write error.

Events in system log go like this, chronologically:

(number times displayed)xSource (Event ID): "message"

2xdisk (51): An error was detected on device \Device\Harddisk1\D during a paging operation.

1xftdisk (57): The system failed to flush data to the transaction log. Corruption may occur.

1xApplication popup (26): Windows - Delayed Write Failed : Windows was unable to save all the data for the file E:\$Mft. The data has been lost. This error may be caused by a failure of your computer hardware or network connection. Please try to save this file elsewhere.

1xntfs (50): {Delayed Write Failed} Windows was unable to save all the data for the file . The data has been lost. This error may be caused by a failure of your computer hardware or network connection. Please try to save this file elsewhere.

These repeat for a while, then there is 10+ disk messages or ftdisk messages.

Other notes:

  • This occurs on random files at random times.
  • Disconnecting and reconnecting the drive maintains the unrecognized device status
  • Turning off and then on fixes it. The same files that failed will copy just fine, but it will soon fail randomly
  • This problem cannot be replicated on the Windows 7 source machine when copying from the HD to a different location on its local disk
  • chkdsk /f was run and found no errors. chkdsk /f/r has the delayed write issue.
  • drive was set to quick removal. Setting to performance in device manager yielded same result
  • I am not writing anything to the USB external drive, so I am not sure why there is even a delayed write error (writing file access times?)
  • local Windows XP was chkdsk'd without problems
  • Windows XP machine has no problems with other USB HD's
  • Various USB ports were attempted
  • Rebooting did not help
  • Occurs with SyncToy as well as windows explorer
  • SMART status is good on both local drive and the external one
  • Lack of gaming is making me cranky
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2 Answers 2

First we have to find out which disk is \Device\Harddisk1 to be absolutely sure. Use Microsoft's guide on determining physical drives from event log messages to help narrow it down. I had this issue a while back and it was caused from a bad memory module, so it's worth checking your memory with a memtest as well.

The reason it is probably working on Windows 7 and not on XP is because your XP partition may inhabit the bad sectors of the disk, while the 7 partition may not contain any.

My immediate suggestion would be to back up all data on the OS drive if you haven't already, and slap in a replacement drive.

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Harddisk0 is my boot disk, Harddisk1 is my external USB drive that has 1 NTFS partition. I am not booting from this external USB drive. The internal OS drive reported no chkdsk errors and writes files from other external drives to it fine. –  Eruditass Jan 5 '11 at 17:27
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Turned out to be a bad USB cable.

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