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I need to connect large external hard disks (with many many files) to a system running Ubuntu. I have no idea how the Linux kernel is treating the inodes for the external drives, but attaching huge external drives significantly slows down my system.

How can I avoid this slowdown? I need to keep the hard disks connected while I'm working.

Ubuntu: 10.04 32-bit
HD: 2TB via USB
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How big are the external HDDs you are attaching? How are you attaching the HDDs to your system (usb, eSATA)? What version of Ubuntu? 32 or 64-bit? Some additional information in your question will help you get better answers. – uther Apr 26 '12 at 16:52
I don't think that just the mere fact of attaching a hard drive should slow down your system at all. Linux won't cache any inodes or dentries unless you actually use them, and even if you do, it will free the memory it you need it. – Celada Apr 26 '12 at 16:58
Any error message appears in dmesg? – Renan Apr 26 '12 at 18:26
Are you sure locate or something similar isn't running over the drive? Also: is the drive actually showing activity? What does iostat or vmstat show? – ckhan Apr 28 '12 at 5:38

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