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Why does our usb 2.0 external drive on Windows Server 2003 SBS fail every few months?

rowek asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
We have gone thru THREE USB 2.0 external hard drives in the last year.  They all seem to lose their minds when a MS patch comes out.  The either do not mount and provide a driver letter, or if they do, we get the standard "This device will perform faster if connected to a USB 2.0 hub".  What is so wierd is the last one we bought worked great for SEVEN months but now fails.  We cannot even format it.

We have tried:
Hammer Storage 250 gig (WD drive)
WD MyBook 500 gig
Some other WD offering

Can anyone recommend a drive that claims to be W2K3 SBS compatible that really is?
Thanks, Keith
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Use firewire instead.  Seems usb drives are hit or miss for admins.  Firewire "just" works.
Oh and the b version is the faster 800, and has much faster transfer speeds.


I wish I could but I do not have a firewire port on my server.  Does it work with W2K3 SBS?  If so, I may go out and buy the card.  How much faster is firewire than USB 1.0? 2.0?  I may end up buying another drive from DELL and mount it internally.  The server is small so I can grab the whole thing in case of disaster, but that will not help me with a lightening strike.


The other issue is that WD claims the unit I own (one year old only) does not support any server products or even Vista, so going firewire probably will not work in my case.
You can search dell for firewire cards, or call and ask for recommendations.

A good rule of thumb would be that if the manufacturer has a driver for your O/S then it will work.

Also the slower 400 Mbps firewire is just slightly slower than usb 2.0 but the faster 800 Mbps firewire (newer) is nearly 400 Mbps faster than usb 2.0.


Per WD, the USB 2.0 driver comes from Microsoft, not them.  They do not certify that model of the MyBook to work with SBS 2003 or even Vista and the thing is only 14 months old.  They told me it may work, but if the driver gets tweaked in a hotfix it could slow down or not communicate at all.  Lesson learned: only buy an external USB drive that is certified to run with your O/S.  The claim that "they all work with the right driver" may be true but since we cannot control the driver it is not feasialble.
You make some good points, and your issue is pretty consistant with others complaints about usb and servers as external drives.  If firewire is not something you will consider what about a dell rd1000 or similar?  Tape drives are pretty normal in the server world and gives you the option to take something offsite for disaster recovery.

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Looks like tape drive is the way to go.  I've been in this game for 30 years and we cannot seem to get away from the venerable tape drive.  If anyone knows about a SBS certified external hard drive would like to know.  Thanks!
thanks, good luck.
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