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something is accessing my hdd constantly, prevents computer from sleeping


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#1 Steevow

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 11:46 PM

This is an old XP Media Center PC, dual core Athlon 4200+ with 2 GB RAM.

 

It has been running ok, it's connected to a tv and is used mostly to stream media. Light web surfing. I am posting this from it.

 

It has always gone into sleep mode regularly and is easily brought back to life by moving the Logitech Bluetooth Mouse.  Or matching Bluetooth keyboard.

 

About 2 or 3 weeks ago it stopped going to sleep.  It never seemed to go idle.

 

I have been looking into it for all that time and I am getting nowhere.  As I type this the hdd is being accessed constantly.  It sounds like it's indexing, but that was the first thing I shut off, indexing.  Kind of obvious. 

 

The next thing I tried was system restore, just rolling it back to before this started.  None of the restore points worked.  Suspicious.

 

I am not really aware of it being "slow" or anything like that, though these kind of activities always do take their toll.

 

I downloaded and ran a program called "what's my computer doing" and I see a lot of MSMPengine and a lot of SVCHOST.exe and Services.exe.

 

I shut down the realtime protection in MS Security Essentials, but that didn't stop the accesses. No change. I thought that would be it.

 

I ran sysinternals process monitor and used the tools menu to sort by file accesses.

A lot of data there, I have to say nothing looks suspicious to me.  Lots of MSMPengine and SVChost.

I went through the services and disabled them one by one.  No difference.

I went into msconfig and disabled all the startups.  No difference.

 

These problems are often malware related so that's why I came here. But I can't find malware!

 

I ran TDSSkiller and it didn't find anything.

I ran Rkil and it didn't find anything.

I ran ComboFix and it didn't find anything.

I ran Chkdisk and it found some irregularities, fixed them, but that didn't resolve anything.

 

So it's still banging away.  Since this is in the living room and with the TV I don't really want it clanging away all the time. 

 

I am going to reboot into safe mode and see what happens.

OK, this is pretty suspicious.  I pressed F8, got the menu offering safe mode, etc.  While that screen was up and the computer had not booted yet, the HDD accesses are still constant. 

 

What would account for that?  I expected silence before boot.  But it's the same. That seems suspicious.

 

I rebooted and ran TCPView, if there was malware it's usually connected out.  There were no outbound connections after a reboot until I started firefox.  Nothing.  So not malware, I'd have to say.

 

Ah, it could be the Logitech Bluetooth Mouse.  But it didn't used to do this and that's been around a long time.  That can't be it.  I did take out Logitech Setpoint, it works just fine without it.  No change.

 

Any ideas as to how to find what's going on here? Steps to isolate?

Thanks in advance. 


Edited by hamluis, 22 January 2014 - 07:57 AM.
Moved from XP to Internal Hardware, moved back to XP - Hamluis.


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#2 Steevow

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 11:33 PM

Dead silence on this one.  I guess after all the testing I did no one knows more than that?

I hope someone knows more than I do, I am stopped.


Edited by Steevow, 22 January 2014 - 12:32 AM.


#3 Netghost56

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 06:14 PM

It's possible you need some Windows Updates. I've worked on a few Media Center XP systems and found them to be slow and clunky.

 

Try downloading and running Process Explorer by sysinternals. I believe it's available here. It will tell you which programs are eating up your CPU.

 

Ultimately, I would say that Media Center is too outdated to 'comfortably' handle MSE. And you've said that the system is old, and I agree. It's possible your hard drive has some bad sectors, which would jive with having to constantly access the data.

 

I would say you need a new hard drive, possibly new RAM, and maybe a CPU upgrade. Does that seem practical to you? Or would that money be better spent on a new (or newer) system?



#4 Steevow

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 11:42 PM

By old I mean it's been around a while, but it is a dual core Athlon.  It's plenty fast for what it's doing.  Plenty fast.

 

As to updates, it has all it needs. That is not the problem. 

When this failure to sleep started the first thing I did was try to roll it back with system restore. 

None of the restore points were usable, which is why I suspected virus activity. 

But I have about ruled that out. I can't find malware. 

 

As you can see from the original post, I am not new to this or new to posting to forums. I checked it all out before posting.

I realize my OP was different from most, it said what I had done to try to resolve this, in detail.  A far cry from most posts, asking for help.

 

This all said, last night I told it to standby and put the mouse in it's charger, and it's been sleeping since then.

I am flummoxed.


Edited by Steevow, 22 January 2014 - 11:44 PM.


#5 tos226

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 12:06 AM

Maybe this will help sleep in the long run:
In device manager, under USB section in Properties of each hub, select Power management and place a check (if not already there) to Allow the system to shut it off since when you want computer to take a nap you don't want a USB gadget to talk nor keep computer polling it all the time.

 

Whether it's related to the harddrive activity, I don't know and don't think so.

svchost - multiple instances are ok, it runs a bunch of services. If you hover over the entries using Porcess Explorer you'll see what svchost runs.
I'm not familiar with Media Center but I suspect MSMPengine might be from Windows Defender or MS security essentials, in which case the engine should stay running.
 


Edited by tos226, 23 January 2014 - 12:07 AM.


#6 Steevow

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 01:09 PM

I have been watching this.  I did find out that I can pick turn off computer / and then standby, and it would try to standby but come alive again immediately.  As I mentioned I have a logitech Bluetooth Keyboard and Mouse.

 

I discovered that if I can put the mouse in it's charger quickly enough after picking  standby, it will indeed go into standby.  It will stay sleeping until I wake it up by picking up the mouse from it's charger.

But that is pretty hard.  If I don't get it in it's charger quickly enough, the computer comes back on.

 

So the problem is likely the Logitech Bluetooth Mouse.

I can't turn off the wake on mouse, because I do need it to wake up.

Interestingly, the Logitech keyboard, you have to press a number of keys before that will start typing, even if the computer is not sleeping.  So they put a delay on the keyboard, but there is apparently none on the mouse.

The mouse is keeping the keyboard on.

 

So I think I have identified the problem, at least the standby problem. 

The HDD is still accessing constantly as I type this, no idea why.  I'd like to stop that.

 

As I said this all started one day.  Before that this computer was quiet.  Now, it's banging away.


Edited by Steevow, 09 February 2014 - 01:10 PM.


#7 Steevow

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 01:29 PM

Well, this is interesting.

I pulled out the Logitech bluetooth mini receiver, and the HDD accesses stopped abruptly. Like turning off a switch.

 

I plugged it back in and the accesses started again. 

I have another same receiver, so I swapped them.  The new receiver updated it's firmware automatically through the Logitech SetPoint utility, and I am using it now.

The HDD accesses are the same with the changed receiver.  Banging away.

 

Hmm.



#8 OldPhil

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 03:43 PM

If the access is evenly timed little blips it can be the router/computer talking to each other, shut the router off fo a minute see if it stops.

 

Phil


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#9 HandSolo

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 04:33 PM

Pardon me for going old school on you, but the USB ports on that "old" Dell are likely just lightly corroded -- not like a used car, but just hazed enough to build some capacitance into the socket.  Stray capacitance makes things witchy. 

 

Get out a can of your favorite contact cleaner.  Clean the socket twice.  Do the other sockets while you're at it. 

 

I suspect the mouse itself, especially since the problem breaks when you rack the mouse to charge.  Too bad you cannot pop the battery out.  Does the mouse have an On/Off switch? 

 

Come to think of it, and you may laugh, wrap it one time in aluminum foil and listen for the drive. 



#10 Steevow

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 11:57 PM

Let me just post what the problem turned out to be: 

 

The system has a Logitech Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

I disabled the wake on mouse and the sleep problem went away. 

The wake on keyboard works and does not seem to cause any problem.

So to wake the system I have to press a key, the mouse movement no longer wakes it.

 

The issue was likely caused by the Logitech Bluetooth Mouse driver.



#11 OldPhil

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Posted 13 March 2015 - 11:16 AM

Cool!  Thanks for getting back you cure may also help others.


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