Earlier this month I bought a new Dell XPS desktop computer. It came with an NVme boot drive and no other SSD/hard drive. It has a built-in reader for SD memory cards.
I installed a 2TB Sandisk SSD as E:.
Since I do a lot of photography, I wanted to see how fast the SD card reader was. I copied the contents of a Sandisk Extreme Pro card to the E: drive. It took nine and a half minutes.
I continued with setting up the system and loading my programs and data. I installed Acronis Drive Image, Sandisk SSD Dashboard, WD Discovery (because I bought an EasyStore drive to sneakernet my data over), Photoshop, Lightroom, etc.
Once I got everything working, I repeated the performance test with the SD card (same card, same data still on it). Now it took over thirteen minutes to copy the data. I started looking for the problem, and Windows Task Manager showed that during the copy operation, data would be copied steadily for about 40 seconds, and then there would be a 20 second hang with no data being moved. Then it would go again for 40 seconds, then hang for 20 seconds, and so on. The hand only affected the copy operation; other programs that might be running at the same time were not affected. And the hang happened the same whether the copy operation was done with Windows Explorer drag & drop, or xcopy, or Lightroom.
I could not find any reason for the hang, so I decided to remove some software I thought might be messing with disk I/O on the system. I removed Acronis, SSD Dashboard, and WD Discovery. I still had the problem. I then spent many hours reading about Windows, performance tools, safe mode, selective startup, yada yada yada. I still had the problem (but not in safe mode or selective startup).
Eventually I found that I had a program called WDDriveAgent on my system, that was being automatically started every time. I disabled it (using the startup tab on Task Manager), and the hangs went away.
So WD Drive Agent is defective.
I re-installed Acronis, SSD Dashboard, and WD Discovery. Things work OK as long as I keep WDDriveAgent disabled.
I don’t know what Drive Agent is supposed to do, so I don’t know if I care whether Western Digital fixes their defective software or not. But I suppose there is probably some value in that program I am missing out on.
By the way, I also have a WD My Cloud Home. I don’t’ know if that has anything to do with this issue.
And let me point out there are two different defects here
- WDDriveAgent causes 20 second hangs
- The uninstall process for WD Discovery leaves behind the defective WDDriveAgent program, and WDDriveAgent does not appear in the Windows Add/Remove Program menu.
I will open a second new topic about item number 2 so that it does not get overlooked.