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USB ADVENTURES: 'It ain't necessarily so...' (Read 6445 times)
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USB ADVENTURES: 'It ain't necessarily so...'
Jul 20th, 2005 at 10:46pm
 
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I seemed to have inadvertently backed into a consuming hobby of mounting internal HDDs - both IDE and SATA - in external enclosure kits.  Each of my six external enclosures cost less than $100 USD delivered, with five of those six costing less than $50.

As to outfitting them, the incredible rebates on HDDs in recent months have allowed me buy a 60GB IDE Maxtor Diamondmax for $19, an 80GB IDE Western Digital Caviar SE for $20, a 160GB IDE Seagate Barracuda for $40, a 160GB IDE Maxtor Diamondmax for $59, and a 160GB SATA NCQ Seagate Barracuda for $70 (all prices after MIRs and excluding either sales tax on store price or shipping fees from online orders).

Although USB 2.0 is far from being my choice for linking a PC to an external HDD - whether "purpose-built" like my new Iomega 80GB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive (SKU# 32660) or an enclosure kit - the fact remains that a lot of folks either already have USB devices or have circumstances where USB is the only practical alternative.  

Such being the case, I - like
Jake
and
Elwood
- am on a mission to unravel the mysteries of mastering the use of Norton Ghost 2003 with recalcitrant USB external HDDs.  And so far, I have indeed uncovered some pretty whacky stuff which will be revealed as this thread progresses.

At any rate, in the illustrations below lie what I suspect are the roots of some USB 2.0 anomalies - stay tuned !!!

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Re: USB ADVENTURES: 'It ain't necessarily so...'
Reply #1 - Jul 22nd, 2005 at 6:15pm
 
Curiosity Number One:


As can be seen in the image below of a "disk-to-image" Norton Ghost 2003 Backup procedure, a pristine 80GB Iomega external HDD factory-formatted in FAT32 will work just fine in DOS-based Ghost 2003 with the issue Norton/Iomega drivers just as long as the USB 2.0 ports emanate from the systemboard of my Dell Dimension 8300. However, switch the USB cable to the NEC-compliant SIIG PCI-to-USB host adapter card and the process errors off.  (Move the PCI-to-USB card and the Iomega HDD over to my Dell Dimension 8100 which has no onboard USB 2.0 ports, and Ghost 2003 works like a charm - go figure.)

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Re: USB ADVENTURES: 'It ain't necessarily so...'
Reply #2 - Jul 23rd, 2005 at 12:33am
 
Curiosity Number Two:


As can be seen in the first column of the image below, there is a evidence of a successful "disk-to-image" Norton Ghost 2003 Backup procedure having taken place.  Yet, in the second column, the same procedure failed.

The difference?  Note both the time and the drive capacities.  The first column reflects activity on a pristine unpartitioned 80GB Iomega external HDD factory-formatted in FAT32, while the second column shows the second FAT32 logical drive - K: - in an extended partition created with Norton/PowerQuest Partition Magic 8.0 (the first logical drive - J: - is formatted NTFS).  Although the Iomega paper pamphlet did not advise against partitioning, an indepth "after-the-fact" perusal of the manual on the CD presented such a caveat.  Also, note in both instances that the USB 2.0 ports emanate from the systemboard of my Dell Dimension 8300.

As to the third and fourth columns, consistent failures are shown both before and after the ill-advised partitioning where the USB cable is routed through the NEC-compliant SIIG PCI-to-USB host adapter card.  Sadly, the FAT32 file system format advocated by Iomega for this device does not seem very promising now for Norton Ghost 2003 with the Norton/Iomega drivers (derived from Guest.exe) - but, stay tuned !!!

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Re: USB ADVENTURES: 'It ain't necessarily so...'
Reply #3 - Jul 23rd, 2005 at 1:29pm
 
Curiosity Number Three:


As can be seen in the first column of the image below, there is a evidence of a successful "disk-to-image" Norton Ghost 2003 Backup procedure having taken place using the Norton/Iomega USB 2.0 drivers.  Yet, in the second column, the same procedure failed.

The difference?  Note both the time and the transfer protocol.  Both columns reflect activity on the leading logical drive - J: - formatted NTFS within an extended partition created with Partition Magic 8.0 on an 80GB Iomega external HDD.  However, note in the first column that the USB 2.0 ports emanate from the systemboard of my Dell Dimension 8300 while in the second column the USB cable is routed through the NEC-compliant SIIG PCI-to-USB host adapter card.  So, the NTFS file system format certainly seems healthy enough on my Dimension 8300 despite the puzzling anomaly with the alternate USB 2.0 PCI routing - so, stay tuned !!!

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Re: USB ADVENTURES: 'It ain't necessarily so...'
Reply #4 - Jul 23rd, 2005 at 3:39pm
 
Curiosity Number Four:


As can be seen in all four columns of the image below, there is a evidence of a successful "disk-to-image" Norton Ghost 2003 Backup procedure having taken place in each using NightOwl's Panasonic Universal USB Driver routine (as opposed to the Symantec Norton/Iomega USB 2.0 drivers).  Yet, in the first column, note the wide disparity in elapsed time for execution of the procedure compared to the other three columns.

The difference?  Note both the routing of the USB 2.0 cable and the version numbers -
v2.06
versus
v2.20
- for the USB 2.0 driver entitled
Usbaspi.sys
.  All columns reflect activity on an unpartitioned 80GB Iomega external HDD using the FAT32 file system format (albeit the hard disk was pristine on 07/08/2005, but had undergone manipulation with Partition Magic 8.0 in the interim before 07/10/2005).  Take note that in the first and second columns the USB 2.0 ports emanate from the systemboard of my Dell Dimension 8300 while in third and fourth columns the USB 2.0 cable is routed through the NEC-compliant SIIG PCI-to-USB host adapter card.

My conclusion is that
v2.06
of
Usbaspi.sys
is greatly impaired when working with the USB host controller on the systemboard of my Dimension 8300, but the updated version -
v2.20
- is not!  On the other hand, it appears that when the USB cable is routed through the PCI-to-USB card there is no significant gain to be realized from a driver upgrade - so, stay tuned !!!

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Re: USB ADVENTURES: 'It ain't necessarily so...'
Reply #5 - Jul 28th, 2005 at 8:57pm
 
Curiosity Number Five:


Behold a device that previously could only conduct Norton Ghost 2003 operations at speeds slower than USB 1.1. This device is cranky regardless of whether the USB 2.0 ports emanate from the systemboard of my Dell Dimension 8300 or from my NEC-compliant SIIG NN2660 PCI-to-USB 2.0/Firewire 400/FireWire 800 Combo Host Controller Adapter Card.  Without NightOwl's Panasonic Universal USB Driver routine, it borders on being just about useless with DOS-based Norton Ghost 2003 - yet using same in subsequent benchmark testing this item often outperfomed NEC-compliant external enclosure kits (albeit marginally) running the Norton/Iomega drivers while using the same physical IDE HDD that was rotated between five different kits.

I should describe right here that physical hard disk referred to above; it is a Seagate Barracuda 80GB ST380013A IDE HDD (Serial No. 5JV8T1EK).  In any downstream reference in this thread, it is a given that this very HDD is mounted in whatever make and model of enclosure kit is being discussed with the exception of a pure SATA device - a Kingwin SS-350S-BK.  This unique device was fitted with the most similar HDD in SATA mode that I could find, i.e., a Seagate Barracuda 80GB ST380817AS SATA NCQ HDD (Serial No. 3MR0BF9X).  

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Re: USB ADVENTURES: 'It ain't necessarily so...'
Reply #6 - Jul 30th, 2005 at 2:07pm
 
Curiosity Number Six:


When using the USB 2.0 ports that emanate from the systemboard of my Dell Dimension 8300, there was absolutely nothing I could do to enable this cranky Bytecc external enclosure kit to conduct Norton Ghost 2003 operations at USB 2.0 speeds while using the Norton/Iomega drivers extracted from Guest.exe (see first image below) regardless of file system format - FAT32 or NTFS - employed on the external drive.

In fact, when sticking strictly to the NTFS format, even NightOwl's Panasonic Universal UBS Driver routine was rendered useless with all three versions of Usbaspi.sys (see second image below).   The ALi M5621 High-Speed USB 2.0 IDE Bridge Chipset/Device Controller utilized by Bytecc in the ME-320U2 is as about as far from being friendly with Norton Ghost 2003 as any such device I have encountered - and my personal stable is now up to six external enclosure kits and one "purpose-built" external HDD.  

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Re: USB ADVENTURES: 'It ain't necessarily so...'
Reply #7 - Jul 31st, 2005 at 2:37pm
 
Curiosity Number Seven:


When switching over from the USB 2.0 ports that emanate from the systemboard of my Dell Dimension 8300 to the PCI-to-USB ports on my NEC-compliant SIIG NN2660 host controller adapter card, some relief was gained from the situation posted immediately above.  As shown in the first column of the image below, the Norton Ghost 2003 operations at USB 2.0 speeds were still stymied using the Norton/Iomega drivers extracted from Guest.exe; yet the second and third columns do reveal that NightOwl's Panasonic Universal UBS Driver routine performed very well with both v2.06 and v2.20 versions of
Usbaspi.sys
.  Bear in mind that so far with the Bytecc device, only the NTFS file system format has been at issue - FAT32 is coming up next.

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Re: USB ADVENTURES: 'It ain't necessarily so...'
Reply #8 - Aug 2nd, 2005 at 12:40am
 
Curiosity Number Eight:


When switching back from the USB 2.0 ports routed through the NEC-compliant PCI-to-USB SIIG NN2660 host controller adapter card to those USB 2.0 ports that emanate from the systemboard of my Dell Dimension 8300, it was disappointing to see purely negative results with the FAT32 file system format.  As shown in the first column of the image below, the Norton Ghost 2003 operations at USB 2.0 speeds continued to be stymied using the Norton/Iomega drivers extracted from Guest.exe, but even more of a downer is illustrated in the second column. Using the v2.06 version of
Usbaspi.sys
with NightOwl's Panasonic Universal UBS Driver routine resulted in speeds considerably faster than USB 1.1 but the elapsed time was almost four times that of the same task using the NTFS format where the routing went through a NEC-compliant PCI-to-USB adapter.

Most disheartening of all was the incredible speeds displayed initially by the v2.20 version of
Usbaspi.sys
for a couple of - and sometimes more - spanned images during my standardized Norton Ghost 2003 "disk-to-image" Backup only to consistently have the task "FREEZE IN MIDSTREAM" prior to completion.  After-action examinations always reveal a maximum capacity spanned image as last in the string.

At the risk of repeating myself, I will state one more time that the only truly meaningful test of an external HDD with Norton Ghost 2003 is a full-fledged "disk-to-image" Backup procedure.  I personally have had sizable "partititon-to-image" Backups execute and pass the Integrity Check, yet experienced "MIDSTREAM FREEZE" upon further testing with the same device.

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Re: USB ADVENTURES: 'It ain't necessarily so...'
Reply #9 - Aug 2nd, 2005 at 1:15am
 
Curiosity Number Nine:


When switching over yet again from the USB 2.0 ports that emanate from the systemboard of my Dell Dimension 8300 to the PCI-to-USB ports on my NEC-compliant SIIG NN2660 host controller adapter card, once more a degree of relief was gained from that situation posted immediately above.  As shown in the first column of the image below, the Norton Ghost 2003 operations at USB 2.0 speeds were stymied in typical fashion when using the Norton/Iomega drivers extracted from Guest.exe.

Much the same phenomenon is shown in the second column here as in the third column immediately above, but instead of employing the v2.20 version, v2.06 of
Usbaspi.sys
was used with NightOwl's Panasonic Universal UBS Driver routine.  This resulted in quite decent speeds being initially displayed for a couple of - and sometimes more - spanned images during my standardized Norton Ghost 2003 "disk-to-image" Backup only to consistently have the task "FREEZE IN MIDSTREAM" prior to completion just as before.  And, just as mentioned above, after-action examinations always reveal a maximum capacity spanned image as last in the string.

The image at the bottom summarizes and concludes my comments on the performance of my Bytecc ME-320U2 used in conjunction with my Dimension 8300 desktop PC.  The "bottom-line" is that the only thing that enabled the ME-320U2's viability with Norton Ghost 2003 is NightOwl's Panasonic Universal UBS Driver routine.

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