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External drive drops offline during data streaming

August 20th, 2009

External Hard Drive Problem:
External Drive
Drops Offline During Streaming

Cause:
During video or other data streaming, the system may unexpectedly disconnect from the external drive, halting the data stream and requiring a reconnect, power cycle or a system restart to allow the drive to be available for use again.

Solution:
Disable System Restore (XP) and Indexing Service (2000 and XP) for the external drive.

Procedure(s)

Disabling System Restore (XP Only):

WARNING: ALL System Restore Points will be deleted when disabling this feature!

  1. Right-click on My Computer and left-click on Properties.
  2. Click the System Restore Tab
  3. Check the box that says, “Turn off System Restore on all drives”
  4. Click “Okay”
  5. It will warn you and ask if you really want to do this, Click “Yes”

Disabling the Indexing Service (XP and 2000):

  1. Open My Computer
  2. Right-click on the External Drive (whatever letter is assigned) and left-click on Properties.
  3. Choose the ‘General’ tab.
  4. Uncheck the Box that says: “Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching.”

Additional Information:

Disk Indexing is a feature in Windows 2000 and XP that enables faster and more comprehensive file search functions. By default, Indexing occurs when the system is idle. After a period of inactivity the Indexing Service will resume the cataloguing of files on attached internal and external drives. A streaming operation (such as video) without user input is interpreted as such a period of inactivity and the Indexing Service will resume and begin accessing drives, sometimes causing the external unit to be unexpectedly disconnected from the system.

Other Links:

  • Microsoft’s System Restore Overview
  • Microsoft’s Overview of the Disk Indexing Service
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