Quick diagnosing of slow file copy in OS X

When I wanted to transfer some large Aperture catalogs this weekend, I discovered that the file copy was progressing at an alarmingly slow rate.  56 GBs was going to take 8 hours!  A ballpark guess of the uptick on the file copy counter looked like I was getting 0.01 MB / s.

I fired up fs_usage in a terminal and looked all all the file accesses and quit each application / service one by one.  First off I stopped dropbox and killed its background service, next I stopped backblaze and its associated service, stopped Sophos Anti-Virus.  All this resulted in no changes in file copy speed.  Finally, I was left with a service that I hadn’t recalled installing “WDSmartWareDaemon” and the WD “StatusMenu”.  This was part of the software that came with my ultra-portable WesterDigital MyPassport hard drive.  WesternDigital tried to be helpful by providing backup software with its portable drive.  Killing WDSmartWareDaemon and its related processes saved the day.  My file transfer instantly sped up and would complete in 40 minutes instead of 8 hours.

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