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Slow accessing network drives when some others are disconnected


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#1 infobleep

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 03:08 PM

Dear all

I have a problem regarding shared network drives and speed. I did some searching on-line but couldn't find what I was looking for.

I have a copy of Windows 7 set up as a guest on my Mac running Snow Leopard. This is run using VirtualBox. To connect to my Mac partition of my internal drive and my external drives, all of which are HSF+ formatted, I have set up a host only adaptor in Windows 7. I have set my drives to share in Snow Leopard. Both Snow Leopard and Windows 7 have the same user name and passwords. I do not always have my external hard drives connected and when they are not connected Windows 7 shows them as disconnected.

The problem I'm having is that I'm finding the opening and copying of files from my Mac partition within Windows Explorer or within programmes on Windows 7, as very slow when I have some drives disconnected. I believe there may be an issue with Windows 7 and having mapped drives that are disconnected. I am wondering if Windows 7 keeps trying to access them every time I try to open a file. I ran an EXIFTOOL batch file from Windows Explorer and it took a while do simple tasks. The same tasks were much quicker when I ran the same batch file from an opened command prompt.

Am I correct in thinking the problem is Windows related and if so, is there anything I can do about. I don't wish to un-map the drives because I'll only have to remap them every time I go to use them. However being a laptop, my computer is not always connected to them and the speed is far too slow.

Another issue I have is that the credentials are not being stored, even when I tell Windows 7 to store them. I did see a comment on another Web Site about a piece of software called Network Drive Manager. Would that help resolve my speed issues?

Kind regards

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#2 cryptodan

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 03:28 PM

What is the speed of your network?

#3 infobleep

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 04:17 PM

Thanks for your reply cryptodan.

What I failed to mention was that I had set up a host-only adaptor and this was used to link to the hard drives. This doesn't of course use the physical network. I had a NAT adaptor which I use to connect to the Internet sharing capabilities of Snow Leopard.

Although I believe not part of the issue, the router is a Draytext 2820n. I know it's wired ethernet speed but not it's wireless speed. I don't have access to the router setting as it belongs to someone else I live with.

Kind regards

#4 cryptodan

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 04:49 PM

Wireless speed is denoted by the letter 802.11a/b/g/n N is faster A is slowest.

What Adapters did you set up?

#5 infobleep

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 03:48 PM

Hi Cryptodan

It is a N series wireless. The Adaptors I set up are Host-only, which is a virtual link between Snow Leopard and Windows 7, for the purposes of sharing my external and internal HFS+ hard drives. This works regardless of whether my network is running or I'm connected to it as it's purely a virtual internal link between the to OS's.

The other adaptor is a NAT adaptor, which takes it's Internet connection from Snow Leopard as I have Internet sharing switched on in Snow Leopard.

The hard drives are not shared via the NAT adaptor, as this is not possible without bridge networking, so the issue is with the host-only adaptor and/or Windows 7.

Kind regards

Infobleep

Edited by infobleep, 21 November 2010 - 03:49 PM.


#6 cryptodan

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 07:23 PM

Well I would get rid of the NAT adapter and get a router with a 4 port switch on it and do it that way.

#7 infobleep

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 08:46 AM

Thanks for reply CryptoDan.

I'm confused by your reply. I can't see how a 4 port router switch, which I assume is physical, can help me. Especially as the NAT adaptor is virtual. If I remove the NAT adaptor I have no way of connecting to the Internet in Windows 7. I could set up a bridging network but that caused problems in Windows 7 when I wasn't connected to a physical network. It was more complicated to manage than using a NAT adaptor with my Internet shared by Snow Leopard.

However I may misunderstand what you are on about. I do have a 4 port USB hub but as my hard drives are firewire enabled, which is quicker than USB, I use that. I also have a firewire hub but as my hard drives have firewire sockets, I have daisy chained then.

So my question I guess is, am I right in thinking that Windows 7 is slow to accessing network drives when some are disconnected?

Kind regards

Edited by infobleep, 27 November 2010 - 08:48 AM.


#8 cryptodan

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 11:13 AM

The reason why I would recommend a router with a 4 port switch to share your internet is the fact that you will no longer need the "NAT Adapter" on Snow Leopard. It is far easier to share things across a network when there are physical connections instead of virtual ones.

#9 infobleep

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Posted 28 November 2010 - 02:44 PM

Hi CryptonDan

Thanks for your reply. Their is a wireless router used which shares the Internet around the house. That is then taken into Snow Leopard, which then also shares it with Windows 7, which is installed in a virtual machine on my Mac. As the wireless router is in a different room to my laptop, I cannot connect wired to it. However the Internet itself works fine. The problem is hard drives, which are shared using a host only network adaptor and not a NAT adaptor. The NAT adaptor is purely for the Internet, not the external hard drives.

If I set up bridged networking, that caused problems when I was using my laptop on the train as there was no physical network to connect to, in order to share the hard drives.

Kind regards

#10 cryptodan

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Posted 28 November 2010 - 03:19 PM

So your windows 7 is a virtual machine and you are wanting to share your drives via an external device like firewire or usb from within your windows install?

If that is the case then yeah you will have slowness issues especially over a wireless network.

#11 infobleep

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 01:38 PM

Cryptodan. Thanks for reply. You are is correct. The link is virtual so no wireless network is used to access the drives.

Whilst the drives are of course slower to access, that is not the problem. The issue is the fact Windows is spending 30 seconds doing something when I first try to access a drive in an application. Here's an example:

1. I go to open a document from recent documents, and 1 which I have moved;
2. Windows offers me the chance to locate it;
3. I click browse;
4. In the file window I click on the drop down list of hard drives and network drives;
5. Windows now spent 30 seconds doing something - what I don't know;
5. I have already accessed drives in the Windows Explorer file manager and also in Excel so why the additional wait now?
6. Once finished I can then see the list of drives and access them;
7. Every time I re-click on the drop down list it appears instantly without a 30 second wait;
8. I locate the file and open it. It opens slower but it doesn't take an additional 30 seconds before opening.

I am trying to figure out what is causing the 30 second period of activity. I plugged in my external hard drive and I was still getting a 30 second wait. However it was plugged in after I started windows and not before. Not that it makes much difference because Windows can never reconnect to my drives when I start up. It always wants the password, even though it's the same as the Windows one and I have told it to save my credentials.

I have another example. I have a copy of Excel and the backup folder is located on my HFS+ internal ard drive which is shared. I do the following.

1. Start up Windows;
2. put my computer sleep until later on;
3. Wake up my computer;
4. Start Excel in Windows 7;
5. Open a document;
6. Attempt to work on it;
7. Every option I do, be it go to enter text, right click and clear cell contents or even duplicate small rows of data, is proceeded by a 10-15 second wait whilst Windows does something;
8. It doesn't matter how many rows I have in an operation, the proceeding waiting time is the same;

Should Windows 7 abort for any reason and I reopen Excel, I find that no backup of my work was saved. I was never given any warning saying that it could not be saved and at all times I was still able to open documents in Windows 7.

Kind regards

[Edited post to give another example].

Edited by infobleep, 29 November 2010 - 02:35 PM.


#12 cryptodan

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 04:06 PM

I think your issue stems from the connection to the drives being done through the virtual network adapter setup via your virtual machine, because it is using processor power to create and maintain that link. I think if you want to share these drives out that you need to have them mounted via some sort of external SAN Array.




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