Solving slow or stuttery firewire transfers on Windows 7

Just a tip for any googlers experiencing trouble with Windows 7 and slow firewire transfer speeds: setting the firewire drivers to their ‘legacy’ versions solved the problem for me.

Ever since setting up W7 I’ve had issues with large files transferring very slowly from my external firewire drive. Smaller files fly across, but anything over roughly 100mb seemed to get bogged down, and took way longer than it should have – a 450gb transfer last month was very frustrating. I forgot all about the problem until this evening, when I finally got around to setting up my backup system; SyncBack reported it would need 10hrs to transfer 200gb, and I could see it stalling on large files. I wondered whether there was a problem with the firewire drivers, and a bit of googling turned up this forum post, which seems to have fixed it.

It recommends changing the firewire drivers to the ‘Legacy’ versions. To do this, go to Device Manager and find your firewire device. In my case it was ‘1394 OHCI Compliant Host Controller’. Right-click it and hit ‘Update Driver Software’, then ‘Browse my computer for driver software’ and ‘Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer’. Select the version with (Legacy) at the end and click-through to install it.

For me, that was all it needed. I didn’t even have to restart. My backup is now going to take 4hrs, and it’s not pausing. In fact, lots of smaller files are increasing the estimated time, which is the complete opposite of its previous behaviour. Wish I’d discovered this last month…