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Slow speed with Portable Apps

nmanguy - February 16, 2008 - 9:26pm
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I decided to install the Portable Apps Suite, along with some extra apps onto a USB drive. Instead of having to spend an hour extracting everything onto a portable drive, I just installed the base edition it to a location on my C drive and added all the apps I needed. It ended up being around 400 Megabytes. After I did all that, I just copied and pasted it to my USB Thumb Drive, A 1GB Kingston Data Traveler. It took an incredibly long time to even start showing anything on the progress bar, and then it said it needed around 180 minutes to finish copying. That meant around .3 Mb/s. It's supposed to be getting near 400 Mb/s, so I thought that something was wrong with my Thumbdrive, or maybe my USB ports had something wrong. I tried another USB drive, and it still got a slow speed, so I knew it wasn't the drive. I reinstalled the drivers for my USB controller, and it still said 180 minutes. I tried copying a 700MB Ubuntu ISO to my thumbdrives, just to see if it would say 300 minutes, and for some reason it only took 3 minutes to copy that ISO. I tried again with my portable apps folder, and it still took 10 minutes to copy 25 megabytes of the files. I then went and copied a 500 MB group of video/audio/text/compressed files, which only took 5 minutes to copy to the USB, compared the the 3 hours of PA. Do any of you know what it could be, or have you had this problem before? Is this even normal? Is there a windows update that makes copying multiple PA files a painfully slow process? Or am I so stupid that I overlooked something completely obvious?


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Big vs Small Files

Howdy nmanguy. You've noticed what lots of manufacturers don't talk about... the way they measure speed. They usually measure it by copying one big file, which makes them look good. Some drives that skimp on the other chips end up with a dirty little secret, though... they're incredibly slow when copying lots of little files. OpenOffice.org Portable for instance is 218MB. A single file of that size would copy pretty well on drives with lesser chips in them. But OpenOffice.org Portable is actually made up of 3,640 files in 407 folders, which will really tax such a drive. I'm not sure what your drive is rated speedwise, but it's definitely not 400MB/s.

Hopefully, your drive will be fast enough switching from reading and writing to perform well with the apps once they are installed, but it may not. But at least this will help you understand the slow install speed.

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Just to be clear, the

Just to be clear, the slowness is in Windows Explorer (My Computer) when it copies, not in any PortableApps program, right?

There are a bunch of benchmarks in one of the topics. You can use that to see how your drive compares, and add your results.

Thumb (flash) drives are much slower on "writes" than on "reads". If the Data Traveler is really rated at 400 Mb/s (= 50MB/s) it is likely slower on writing at any rate. Most drives come in much slower on either.

Are you "copying" or "moving"? Windows Explorer sometimes meditates for a while before beginning either task, I think longer on a move.

One would also expect a single ISO or small group of large files to go faster than a large number of smaller files. That may or may not be a factor.

You could try xcopy (from the command line) if you want a really geeky test. Or one of the alternative file manager/explorer programs, which sometimes copy faster. The idea there would be to see if they copy/move appreciably faster than Explorer in the same circumstance.

Is there anything else different? You haven't reformatted the drive with NTFS, or changed the write-behind caching, or any of those geeky settings?

edit: Sorry John, you must be able to compose answers faster than I can.

MC

Thanks guys. It's weird

Thanks guys. It's weird though, because I can still copy thousands of tiny files faster than this. I guess I'll just have to wait it out. I just hope that in the future when updates roll out, that they can auto-update only small parts of their code instead of making total re-install updates.

is it...

is it usb 2.0 or Hi-Speed USB 2.0? cuz that makes all the difference, the gap between the two is huge.

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We already sorted out the

We already sorted out the issue, but since you want to know; It's 2.0. USB High Speed. And it wouldn't actually make a difference seeing as there's no way a thumb drive like mine could get anywhere close to 480 Mb/s. The thumbdrive itself would probably cap out at 20Mb/s. Seeing as not that many people are hooking up USB ports to an SSD drive, 480 is pretty rare. At least for me it's rare.

After a certain point, it

After a certain point, it doesn't matter how fast the USB channel is, if the device at the other end can only handle data at a slower rate.

MC

That's what I already said.

That's what I already said.