Microsoft has acknowledged that installing Service Pack 1 on Windows XP can make USB ports so slow that they almost seem to have frozen. This occurs because the “lazy write” cache gets confused about what information has been written to disk, with the result that the same bits are sent many times over.
Reader Dan Landiss of St. Louis, Mo., describes how he discovered this and what he’s done about it so far:
- Has Microsoft broken USB?
“Specifically, writing a large number of small files to a USB Flash RAM under WinXP takes over twenty times as long as under Win2000. Writing to the Flash RAM is actually slower than to a ZIP disk! The actual write speed worked out to about 4 Kbps, roughly the same as a decent V.90 modem, and about 0.05% (1/2000) of the rated speed (8000 Kbps) of the USB2 Flash RAM.
“A possible cause is discussed in MS KB 828012. After a few messages back and forth, I got MS to authenticate me to download the patch mentioned therein (it is not public), but it does not solve the problem.
“When I contacted MS, the first support rep that responded did not even understand the problem. He insisted that the slowdown I was seeing was ‘normal.’ I eventually got him to escalate the issue to a higher level, a ‘Microsoft Windows Escalation Support Professional.’