USB Slowth - Causes, Cures?
I've been using PortableApps since 8/27/2007 - at least, that's the file date on the PA directory on my USB stick, a 4GB ummm errr ahhh, hell, I forget what it is (the print's all worn off it) but when I checked last year sometime, it showed as one of the faster ones, and I've never had any complaints about transfer rates... I hadn't even thought about it at all until a friend complained about taking 20 minutes to back up to HIS "flash drive", and when I looked at them both, mine took about a minute to get the same files that took 18 minutes on his. I just tested it yesterday, and it took only a couple of seconds to get a 5MB file on a USB 2.0 port on an office notebook, so I'm fairly confident the problem's not the drive itself. What I use it for mainly is Thunderbird, FireFox, and puTTY, and pretty much in that order, although I use the Notepad++ some, and the OOo apps rarely.
A few weeks ago, I started noticing slowth when loading and running FF... I mean unacceptably slow performance - you know, when you start talking to it: "So, are we going to do this TODAY some time?" And then long pauses while it's actually running and browsing. I usually run anywhere from 3 or 4 up to 7 or 8 tabs, and no, none of them are on sites d/l'ing streaming video or sound...
In thinking about it, this is around the same time I updated the FF 2 to FF 3, and I have a feeling the same thing - that is, slowth - happened with FF on my desktop versions on Windoze machines, although I haven't noticed it at all on my Linux boxes.
So, WTF is going on? Is it the stick? I try to keep it around 50% free, pretty successfully, but does it need to be cleaned up? Is fragmentation an issue with USB drives? I suppose I could copy all the files off to an HDD, reformat it and copy them back and see if that helps. But I also think I've heard that they degrade over time as the same bits are flipped repeatedly. So, I could spend the $20 or $30 and buy a new stick (not from the only computer store in 100 miles, though, because they sell the brand that was taking 20 times as long to transfer as mine was, last year) and see if that's what's up. Or is it just that FF 3 is doing something with tons of "disk" access to the stick and slowing things down?
If anyone's got some information, I'd love to hear it. I'll see if I can get some actual benchmarks and try the cleanup thing, and let you know how that works, unless someone comes back with a solution in the next day or two.
Thanks - longtex