My XP machine has decided to slow down on all SMB related activities - bummer.
At first I laid the problem squarely at the feet of my humble Atom based Linux server and spent endless hours tinkering to try and get transfers going at any speed above a crawl - but to no avail. Then I stupidly tried connecting to said machine via another PC and it fair hammered along - all the time I wasted and there was nothing wrong with the server and Linux - double bummer.
I then tried cleaning, uninstalling, re-installing various software on my XP machine - again all for no gain. I even tried setting up NFS on the server and using MS's Unix tools - again I drew a blank and the speed of transfers was dismal. I was beginning to fear a total rebuild of poor old XP was in order but I really can't face that but then again I really need to keep my XP backed to my server for remote access to my files. I guess the old leave it on all night for a few megabytes of transfer was just going to have to do - do, that is, until I decided to set up WebDav on Apache2.2.
After a few hours tinkering - and a bit of bodging - I've managed to get WebDav to my home directory and low and behold the speed of the backup - using AllwaySync in WebDav mode - is twenty times as quick as poor old SMB on my XP machine. I haven't fixed XP but for now I will get by on a bodge and a prayer...