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Hard Disk Is "thrashing"


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#1 I_am_CanadianEh?

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 02:06 PM

Hello everyone! :huh:

Lately, I've been experiencing unusually excessive hard disk activity. The drive is constantly being accessed even when I'm not doing anything. Long after I boot up and all my security software checks for updates, the sound continues.

I'm not sure when this started, but I'm hoping someone can offer insight:

- Dell 5150 Dual Core Pentium D. 2.8 GHz
- 2 GB DDR-2 SDRAM, 533MHz
- 512MB ATI Radeon PCIe Video Card
- runs Vista Home Premium, fully patched.

C Drive - Primary - Active, NTFS, 55GB - contains Op System & Applications
- paging file is set constant to approx. 5.3GB and has been defragmented.

Extended Partition containing 2 logical drives, both formatted to NTFS. These contain:

D Drive - Logical, NTFS, 40GB - Music, Videos, Photos & Media temp files
G Drive - Logical, NTFS, 50GB - Backups & Images
Acronis Recovery Partition - FAT32, Primary 40GB
50GB unallocated space

Task Manager does not show any unusual processes or startup enteries. CPU is usually around 5 - 20%. I've disabled all non-essential services. All virus and spyware scans show up negative.

Note: I installed Diskeeper Pro 2007 to auto defrag my drives. Disk activity was "aggressive". I've since turned off auto and will defrag as needed.

The computer does not seem to slow down and responds well to commands and internet browsing.

I'm very annoyed at this disk activity. Any thoughts? :huh:

Thanks.

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#2 usasma

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 08:01 PM

Go to the Processes tab in Task Manager
Click on View
Click on Select Columns
Click on IO Reads
Click OK to close the dialog

See what process has the highest disk reads when your hard drive light is blinking away. Let us know what it is and we'll see if we can troubleshoot it further.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#3 I_am_CanadianEh?

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 07:48 AM

Well...low & behold, the thrashing seems to have stopped. :huh:

I ended up disabling some non-essential services recommended in the book "Hacking Windows Vista" and also disabled Diskeeper and run that manually. Now the Hard Drive is active just at boot time and while it's updating. Other than that, the thrashing seems to have stopped.

I'm not sure if Diskeeper was the culprit or not. I doubt it was the services I disabled because I did not have the thrashing when Vista was first installed and I've trimmed the fat for my startup programs as well.

Thanks anyway. If the problem re-surfaces, I'll come back to this topic.

Cheers. :huh:

#4 I_am_CanadianEh?

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 01:36 PM

Even though I seemed to have stopped the constant thrashing, it appears that this is a major bug in the Vista Operating System. If you google "Disk Thrashing in Vista" (without the quotes) you will get a ton of links for this specific problem.

It's all over the forums and the internet. It appears to be 1 or more services/processes that causes the thrashing most notibly the Superfetch service.

I'm not sure if Microsoft is aware of this problem.....this should not be happening on a system with 2 or more GB of Ram with an adequate paging file size. Something is very wrong here.....

Anyone else have these symptoms with their hard drive.....at it's worse, my HD sounded like "a thunderstorm that would never end".

#5 figgis41

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 02:23 PM

Hi Canadian, i also have this going on with my new comp, i also have 2 gig ddr2 ram & core 2 duo processor & 350gig hd, its my second one as i took the other back after the HD went totally nuts then crashed ( blue screen ) never to recover. the second comp is nowhere near as loud or bad as the first, but in idle the activity button is flashing away like a beacon. I looked this up on a forum site & one answer sed it was the vista defrag, so i looked at the new vista defrag on the MS site and they say that its an auto defrag and runs when your system is idle, hense the activity when your not doing anything. I dont know if this is true or not but after about 5-10 minuits mine stops the activity so i left it alone. Like you i have trimmed down all unnecessary services and start up programs, so i would like to know more if you find out,,,,, thanks ,,,, Ian
Figgis,,,, LUFC

#6 I_am_CanadianEh?

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 03:24 PM

Hey Ian.
I'm glad I'm not alone...

After reading up on this common problem in Google I've come to the conclusion that Vista is "much smarter" than previous OS, and that it's good intentions (like indexing, auto defrag, etc.) but the HDD is sweating and causing all kinds of I/O read/write requests.

This problem did NOT occur (or I didn't notice it) when I first installed Vista. Now that I have gradually added all the applications I need, it thrashed very loudly. I could here the drive from across the room, outside the door. After leaving it alone for about 30 minutes or so, the HDD settled down, but the light was always on. When I came out of the screensaver and moved my mouse....it started all over again.

I did the following and it seems to have worked:
- disabled auto-defrag in Diskeeper 2007 Pro (this is a very good 3rd party defragmenter that can defrag your boot files and paging file as well - www.diskeeper.com Pick the PRO version...currently testing it on a 30 day free trial...will probably keep it)

Disabled these services:
- Application Layer Gateway
- Application Management
- Bluetooth support (I have a desktop)
- Certificate Propagation
- Distributed Link Tracking Client
- Windows Fax
- Function Discovery Provider Host
- IP Helper
- Media Center Extender
- Offline Files
- Policy Agent
- ReadyBoost (I have 2GB of Ram and an adequate page file)
- Remote Registry
- Security Center
- SSDP Discovery
- Tablet PC Input
- WebClient
- Windows Defender (I use Spy Sweeper as my protection)
- Windows Error Reporting
- Windows Remote Management

This seems to have worked but I will keep a close eye over a few days. The computer is much more stable especially at bootup and shutdown. Maybe I found the culprit or perhaps Microsoft mis-calculated an algorithm or something that causes thrashing when it shouldn't happen if the Vista code is correct. :huh:

I'm thinking of also disabling Superfetch as well and maybe adding 1 more GB of RAM. But I doubt it's the RAM.

Cheers. :huh:

#7 usasma

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 06:23 PM

Try http://www.blackviper.com for a good discussion of Vista services. IMO the thrashing isn't caused by Vista, but rather by other programs that aren't quite "Vista ready". I uninstalled Diskkeeper for this reason - and I only have disk thrashing when my antivirus or defragger kicks in.

As suggested in my previous post, the use of the IO Reads column in the Processes tab of Task Manager will reveal the disk hog. And from there it's fairly easy to take steps to prevent it.

BTW - I've also turned off the Indexing Service as it has a tendency to make the disk work overtime.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#8 I_am_CanadianEh?

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Posted 05 September 2007 - 07:51 AM

Thanks for the tip. :huh:

I'll check this out when I get back home from work. I agree with your opinion especially on the defragmenting part.

Cheers. :huh:

#9 figgis41

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Posted 05 September 2007 - 10:58 AM

Hi Canadian & usasma, i have googled the thrashing HD thing and looked at some of the forum links there and noticed that a lot of the probs are on notebooks with vista with not much RAM & smaller processors, i have a desktop thats quite good speck so its not as bad as some of the probs i've read, yours seem's overly loud to say the least. I think mine only dose it when the auto defrag kicks in when idle because when i use it the thrashing stops. This could be because the site that usasma has posted the link for, i have alredy been there and shut down services that i dont need or use. I have also shut down Win Defender as i think its its next to usless and according to some of the posts this also causes some thrashing,,, i now use Super Antispyware insted of WinDef.
As i posted earlyer this is my second pc of this type as the other one thrashed its self to death befor i could do any of the tweeks, the noise was realy loud on that one,,,,, it sounded like a biscuit tin with marbles in wraped in a towell being shaken,, right up untell it went to the pc graveyard ( back to the shop ). Let me know how you get on,,,,,,
Regards ,,, Ian
Figgis,,,, LUFC




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