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Unidentified process choking hard drive twice each day


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#1 Ant S

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 05:11 PM

If someone could help me with the following, I'd really appreciate it...

My hard drive is being choked by a process that runs for about 30 to 40 minutes at a time. It renders my laptop virtually impossible to use. It's been happening for a few months. It used to be once a day but it’s since doubled in frequency.

Details

When the problem occurs, my HDD light is almost constantly lit. Exactly what's going on--scanning, writing a big file, relocating data, etc.--I don't know. Demand on the CPU, by contrast, is minimal. It’s when an application or the operating system needs to access the disk that progress grinds to a halt. Importantly, it only happens when I'm connected to the Internet, often not long after I connect, usually if I've been off-line for a few hours.

Cause

There are a few things that I don't think are responsible...

Virus: the same thing has happened with three different operating system installations, two of which were fresh. (Also, scans with Microsoft Security Essentials, Malwarebytes' Anitmalware and ESET Online Scanner found nothing.)

Disk failure: the aforementioned three installations were on three separate disks, one of which was new.

Disk fragmentation: I defrag and optimise fully (using MyDefrag) every two or three day. (I also have plenty of free disk space.)

Automatic updates: I've tried disabling the service that looks after Windows' automatic updates without effect.

Anti-virus updates: it’s true that antivirus updates can put a strain on my hard drive but the update timings don't always coincide with the choking; also, updating manually has no such effect. (I'm keeping an open mind about this, though.)


How can I tell which process is doing this? Task Manager is of limited use as the draw on CPU resources is minimal so the process is inconspicuous. Or does anyone know what this is, or have this problem themselves?

 

The impression I get is that it is a genuine system process, but that's the case, I can’t understand why it’s so disabling. It’s true that my laptop is quite old but it is otherwise very capable. It's annoying as I'm effectively losing about an hour a day to this.

System

I'm running Windows XP (Service Pack 3) on a Toshiba Satellite S1800-314. My anti-virus is Microsoft Security Essentials.
 



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#2 hamluis

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 07:08 PM

Please download MiniToolBox  , save it to your desktop and run it.
 
Checkmark the following checkboxes:
  List last 10 Event Viewer log
  List Installed Programs
  List Users, Partitions and Memory size.
 
Click Go and paste the content into your next post.
 
Also...please Publish a Snapshot using Speccy - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic323892.html/page__p__1797792#entry1797792 , taking care to post the link of the snapshot in your next post.
 
Louis



#3 Ant S

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 01:37 PM

Thanks very much for stopping by, hamluis.

 

Speccy snapshot

 

http://speccy.piriform.com/results/oZTbMWhcXwDOTO8MqWZ3dJ8

 

 

MiniToolBox log

 

MiniToolBox by Farbar  Version: 23-01-2014
Ran by Ant (administrator) on 03-04-2014 at 19:32:51
Running from "C:\Documents and Settings\Ant\Desktop"
Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 3 (X86)
Boot Mode: Normal
***************************************************************************

========================= Event log errors: ===============================

Application errors:
==================
Error: (04/01/2014 09:25:24 PM) (Source: Application Error) (User: )
Description: Faulting application wmplayer.exe, version 9.0.0.4503, faulting module unknown, version 0.0.0.0, fault address 0x00000000.
Processing media-specific event for [wmplayer.exe!ws!]

Error: (04/01/2014 09:23:10 PM) (Source: Application Error) (User: )
Description: Faulting application wmplayer.exe, version 9.0.0.4503, faulting module unknown, version 0.0.0.0, fault address 0x00000000.
Processing media-specific event for [wmplayer.exe!ws!]

Error: (04/01/2014 09:21:16 PM) (Source: Application Error) (User: )
Description: Faulting application wmplayer.exe, version 9.0.0.4503, faulting module unknown, version 0.0.0.0, fault address 0x00000000.
Processing media-specific event for [wmplayer.exe!ws!]

Error: (03/23/2014 11:04:57 AM) (Source: NTBackup) (User: )
Description: End Operation: Warnings or errors were encountered.

Consult the backup report for more details.

Error: (03/23/2014 10:57:52 AM) (Source: NTBackup) (User: )
Description: End Operation: Warnings or errors were encountered.

Consult the backup report for more details.

Error: (03/23/2014 10:57:49 AM) (Source: NTBackup) (User: )
Description: End Backup of 'C:' 'Warnings or errors were encountered.'


    Verify:  Off

    Mode:  Append

    Type:  Normal


Consult the backup report for more details.

Error: (03/22/2014 09:28:07 AM) (Source: Application Error) (User: )
Description: Faulting application , version 0.0.0.0, faulting module unknown, version 0.0.0.0, fault address 0x00000000.
Processing media-specific event for [!ws!]

Error: (03/21/2014 01:46:07 PM) (Source: Application Error) (User: )
Description: Faulting application ntbackup.exe, version 5.1.2600.0, faulting module ntbackup.exe, version 5.1.2600.0, fault address 0x000aca4f.
Processing media-specific event for [ntbackup.exe!ws!]

Error: (03/21/2014 01:00:23 PM) (Source: Application Error) (User: )
Description: Faulting application ntbackup.exe, version 5.1.2600.0, faulting module ntbackup.exe, version 5.1.2600.0, fault address 0x000aca4f.
Processing media-specific event for [ntbackup.exe!ws!]

Error: (03/21/2014 00:59:46 PM) (Source: Application Error) (User: )
Description: Faulting application ntbackup.exe, version 5.1.2600.0, faulting module ntbackup.exe, version 5.1.2600.0, fault address 0x000aca4f.
Processing media-specific event for [ntbackup.exe!ws!]


System errors:
=============
Error: (04/03/2014 09:55:53 AM) (Source: Service Control Manager) (User: )
Description: Timeout (30000 milliseconds) waiting for the Google Software Updater service to connect.

Error: (04/03/2014 09:55:35 AM) (Source: DCOM) (User: S1800-314)
Description: DCOM got error "%%1053" attempting to start the service gusvc with arguments ""
in order to run the server:
{89DAE4CD-9F17-4980-902A-99BA84A8F5C8}

Error: (04/02/2014 06:58:46 PM) (Source: 0) (User: )
Description: \Device\CdRom0

Error: (04/02/2014 06:58:37 PM) (Source: 0) (User: )
Description: \Device\CdRom0

Error: (04/02/2014 06:58:30 PM) (Source: 0) (User: )
Description: \Device\CdRom0

Error: (04/02/2014 06:58:24 PM) (Source: 0) (User: )
Description: \Device\CdRom0

Error: (04/02/2014 06:58:16 PM) (Source: 0) (User: )
Description: \Device\CdRom0

Error: (04/02/2014 06:58:09 PM) (Source: 0) (User: )
Description: \Device\CdRom0

Error: (04/02/2014 06:58:02 PM) (Source: 0) (User: )
Description: \Device\CdRom0

Error: (04/02/2014 06:57:54 PM) (Source: 0) (User: )
Description: \Device\CdRom0


Microsoft Office Sessions:
=========================
Error: (04/01/2014 09:25:24 PM) (Source: Application Error)(User: )
Description: wmplayer.exe9.0.0.4503unknown0.0.0.000000000

Error: (04/01/2014 09:23:10 PM) (Source: Application Error)(User: )
Description: wmplayer.exe9.0.0.4503unknown0.0.0.000000000

Error: (04/01/2014 09:21:16 PM) (Source: Application Error)(User: )
Description: wmplayer.exe9.0.0.4503unknown0.0.0.000000000

Error: (03/23/2014 11:04:57 AM) (Source: NTBackup)(User: )
Description: Warnings or errors were encountered.

Error: (03/23/2014 10:57:52 AM) (Source: NTBackup)(User: )
Description: Warnings or errors were encountered.

Error: (03/23/2014 10:57:49 AM) (Source: NTBackup)(User: )
Description: C:Warnings or errors were encountered.OffAppendNormal

Error: (03/22/2014 09:28:07 AM) (Source: Application Error)(User: )
Description: 0.0.0.0unknown0.0.0.000000000

Error: (03/21/2014 01:46:07 PM) (Source: Application Error)(User: )
Description: ntbackup.exe5.1.2600.0ntbackup.exe5.1.2600.0000aca4f

Error: (03/21/2014 01:00:23 PM) (Source: Application Error)(User: )
Description: ntbackup.exe5.1.2600.0ntbackup.exe5.1.2600.0000aca4f

Error: (03/21/2014 00:59:46 PM) (Source: Application Error)(User: )
Description: ntbackup.exe5.1.2600.0ntbackup.exe5.1.2600.0000aca4f


=========================== Installed Programs ============================

3Connect (Version: 3.0.0)
Adobe Flash Player 12 ActiveX (Version: 12.0.0.38)
Adobe Flash Player 12 Plugin (Version: 12.0.0.44)
Adobe Reader 9.5.5 (Version: 9.5.5)
ALi Audio Accelerator WDM Driver
ALPS Touch Pad Driver
AutoIt v3.3.8.1
CCleaner (Version: 4.10)
ClearType Tuning Control Panel Applet (Version: 1.01.0000)
CmdHere Powertoy For Windows XP (Version: 1.00.0001)
Defraggler (Version: 2.14)
Drevitalize 2.42 demo
DVD Decoder Pak for Windows XP (Version: 1.0.0)
ESET Online Scanner v3
Exact Audio Copy 0.99pb5 (Version: 0.99pb5)
GetDataBack for NTFS (Version: 4.33.000)
GIMP 2.8.10 (Version: 2.8.10)
Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer (Version: 1.0.0)
Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer (Version: 7.5.5111.1712)
Google Update Helper (Version: 1.3.23.9)
Huawei modem
IrfanView (remove only) (Version: 4.36)
Java 7 Update 51 (Version: 7.0.510)
Java Auto Updater (Version: 2.1.9.8)
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware version 1.75.0.1300 (Version: 1.75.0.1300)
Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Service Pack 2 (Version: 2.2.30729)
Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 Service Pack 2 (Version: 3.2.30729)
Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1
Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 (Version: 3.5.30729)
Microsoft Application Error Reporting (Version: 12.0.6012.5000)
Microsoft Base Smart Card Cryptographic Service Provider Package
Microsoft Office Converter Pack (Version: 11.0.0.0)
Microsoft Security Client (Version: 4.5.0216.0)
Microsoft Security Essentials (Version: 4.5.216.0)
Microsoft Text-to-Speech Engine 4.0 (English)
Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable - x86 9.0.30729.17 (Version: 9.0.30729)
Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable - x86 9.0.30729.6161 (Version: 9.0.30729.6161)
MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition 8.1.1
Mozilla Firefox 28.0 (x86 en-US) (Version: 28.0)
Mozilla Maintenance Service (Version: 28.0)
MyDefrag v4.3.1 (Version: 4.0.0.0)
Network Device Switch
Paint.NET v3.5.11 (Version: 3.61.0)
PartitionMagic (Version: 8.02.000)
PowerQuest PartitionMagic 8.0 (Version: 8.02.000)
ReadPlease 2003/ReadPlease PLUS 2003 (Version: 2003.1.10)
Recuva (Version: 1.50)
Revo Uninstaller 1.95 (Version: 1.95)
R-Studio 6.3 (Version: 6.3.154025)
SKTimeStamp (Version: 1.3.3)
Speccy (Version: 1.24)
Spotify (Version: 0.9.7.16.g4b197456)
STARWARS: The Battle of Endor version 2.1
STARWARS: The Battle of Yavin version 1.1
TOSHIBA Console
TOSHIBA Controls
Toshiba Manuals
TOSHIBA Power Saver
Toshiba Soft Modem AMR
TOSHIBA Software Modem
TOSHIBA Utilities
Tweak UI
Update for Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 (KB963707) (Version: 1)
Update for Windows XP (KB2345886) (Version: 1)
Update for Windows XP (KB2492386) (Version: 1)
Update for Windows XP (KB2661254-v2) (Version: 2)
Update for Windows XP (KB2749655) (Version: 1)
Update for Windows XP (KB2808679) (Version: 1)
Update for Windows XP (KB2863058) (Version: 1)
Update for Windows XP (KB2904266) (Version: 1)
Update for Windows XP (KB2934207) (Version: 1)
Update for Windows XP (KB898461) (Version: 1)
Update for Windows XP (KB951978) (Version: 1)
Update for Windows XP (KB968389) (Version: 1)
Update for Windows XP (KB971029) (Version: 1)
Update for Windows XP (KB973815) (Version: 1)
Visual Basic 5.0 Enterprise Edition
VLC media player 1.0.5 (Version: 1.0.5)
WebFldrs XP (Version: 9.50.5318)
Windows Backup Utility (Version: 5.1)
Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool (KB892130)
Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool (KB892130) (Version: 1.7.0069.2)
Windows Media Encoder 9 Series
Windows Media Encoder 9 Series (Version: 9.00.2980)
Windows Media Player 9 Series TweakMP PowerToy
Windows XP Service Pack 3 (Version: 20080414.031525)
Wireless Hotkey
WordWeb (Version: 7)

========================= Memory info: ===================================

Percentage of memory in use: 89%
Total physical RAM: 495.48 MB
Available physical RAM: 53.86 MB
Total Pagefile: 1436.62 MB
Available Pagefile: 903.68 MB
Total Virtual: 2047.88 MB
Available Virtual: 1989.03 MB

========================= Partitions: =====================================

2 Drive c: () (Fixed) (Total:58.59 GB) (Free:26.03 GB) NTFS
4 Drive e: (3Connect) (CDROM) (Total:0.02 GB) (Free:0 GB) CDFS
6 Drive s: (Storage) (Fixed) (Total:25.04 GB) (Free:8.6 GB) NTFS

========================= Users: ========================================

User accounts for \\S1800-314

Administrator            Ant                      ASPNET                   
Guest                    HelpAssistant            SUPPORT_388945a0         


**** End of log ****
 


Edited by Ant S, 03 April 2014 - 01:41 PM.


#4 hamluis

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 04:14 PM

Total physical RAM: 495.48 MB
 

This is a problem (IMO), insufficient resources for much of anything, IMO.

 

You have a large number of errors involving NTBackup...I suggest you uninstall it, reinstall it.

 

Only 1 instance of Malicious Software Tool install...10/2013.    Definitely abnormal.

 

CPU appears to approach maximum temp ceiling (77 Celsius).

 

As for the "choking"...that would strictly be a guess on my part.  Too many things could be going wrong with this system, IMO.

 

You have a troublesome backup program, multiple defraggers, outdated apps like Partition Magic, Adobe Reader,

 

Hard drive appears to be problem-free.

 

Louis



#5 Ant S

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 08:48 PM

Thanks, Louis.

 

The disk choking isn't down to anything that you mention, at least as far as I can tell. That said, I'm not ruling out it being a genuine system process that's being overoptimistic about available resources.

 

The reason there's little evidence of Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool is that the system installation is recent (last October) and I avoid downloading the tool as I'm on pay-as-you-go Internet. The CPU was near it's ceiling temperature because when I ran Speccy I had a number of other applications active. CPU throttling has never been a problem--and, as I said, when the disk choking occurs, CPU demand is low.

 

Adobe last issued an update for Reader 9 not so long ago (although admittedly it was the last update). I've been hanging onto it because later versions don't allow Windows' search tool to search .pdf file content. Partition Magic I don't use. Regarding defragmentation, I use a modified MyDefrag script to defragment and optimise. Use of Defraggler I reserve only for an automatic Command Prompt defrag on shut down for which MyDefrag isn't suitable. I don't use the Windows defragmentation tool.

 

What I think I'm saying here is that I run a very tight ship. My system may be modest, but it isn't unhealthy--at least not due to wear and tear. The disk choking happens twice a day for 30 to 40 minutes at a time, regular as clockwork. This is too consistent not to be a specific process. This problem aside, my laptop performs well for what I need.

 

Do you--or does anyone else know--how I can identify this process? Hopefully then I can do something to ameliorate the effect it's having. Help would be appreciated. In the meantime, I will re-install Backup Utility, update Adobe Reader and remove Partition Magic.


Edited by Ant S, 03 April 2014 - 09:03 PM.


#6 hamluis

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 11:08 AM

I can only state the paths that I see...which I would pursue :).

 

Others here may have some insights above and beyond my comments.

 

Louis



#7 Ant S

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 05:45 AM

Thanks, Louis.

 

Yes, if someone could help identify this process, it would be appreciated. There must be someone out there that knows how to do this. Is there a tool I can use, or perhaps there are operating system logs that can help? (This is assuming there isn't someone out there that already know's what's going on.)

 

If you want to elucidate on your "paths", Louis, I would be happy to consider pursuing them. For the record, I have re-installed Backup Utility and removed Adobe Reader and Partition Magic completely. The problem persists.



#8 hamluis

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 11:08 AM

I don't have any ideas that would have a solid foundation to build upon...other than those already mentioned by me.

 

Louis






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