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Windows 7: Fresh Install of 7 - blinking HDD every few seconds

12 Jul 2010   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 + Linux Mint 9
 
 
Fresh Install of 7 - blinking HDD every few seconds

Hi all,

I recently (about 3 days ago) did a fresh install of 7 on my Dell Latitude E6410. All drivers are up to date, and this problem does not occur when I boot to my Linux partition. When I'm in 7, my hard disk sits there blinking constantly, whether the machine is idle or not. It's a bit annoying. I've tried turning of the paging file, system restore, superfetching and search indexing, but it still doesn't seem to make any difference. I initially thought it was my AV software (freeware version of Avira), so I uninstalled that just to see if it made any difference, which it doesn't either. Task manager seems to report csrss.exe is making all the I/O reads. Is there anyway I can stop this, it's very annoying. The only other thing I can think of which this could be is Prefetching - but does it usually take this long for it sort itself out?

Thanks.

Post script edit - Another tidbit of info, the drive is definitely *not* doing load-unload cycles. That's the first thing I checked since my previous laptop had this problem and that's certainly not it. I even forced the power settings on the drive using QuietHDD (since this corrected the problem on my previous laptop) just to be sure and it makes no difference.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

12 Jul 2010   #2
Microsoft MVP

 

How was Windows 7 activated?

Did you reinstall with just the OS DVD, or Recovery?

If you clean reinstalled did you keep the Dell Utility partition?

Has the problem been there since the reinstall or did it possibly begin after your changed out a driver given by the installer or optional Windows Updates?

Run a virus scan with Malwarebytes and MSE, which is a better free AV solution than Avira.

Google repeat errors in Event Viewer>Admin VIew and Performance Diagnostics log at Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Performance Information and Tools\Advanced Tools where you can also Generate a System Health Report.

Try a clean boot procedure: How to Troubleshoot a Problem by Performing a Clean Startup in Windows 7 or Vista

Uncheck all items at msconfig>Startup except AV and gadgets.

Run chkdsk and maker's HD diag/repair full CD scan: Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities (Storage) - TACKtech Corp.

Run sfc /scannow to make sure nothing has already corrupted System Files.

Finally, if nothing else helps then run a Repair Install which is next best thing to reinstall.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jul 2010   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 + Linux Mint 9
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
How was Windows 7 activated?

Did you reinstall with just the OS DVD, or Recovery?

If you clean reinstalled did you keep the Dell Utility partition?
Was already activated when I installed it from the Dell supplied OS DVD (not a recovery disc either). I nuked the Dell utility partition because I could create my Linux partition with it still on there. The machine is brand new btw.

Quote:
Has the problem been there since the reinstall or did it possibly begin after your changed out a driver given by the installer or optional Windows Updates?
Since the reinstall I've noticed it.

Quote:
Run a virus scan with Malwarebytes and MSE, which is a better free AV solution than Avira.
It's clean as a whistle.

Quote:
Google repeat errors in Event Viewer>Admin VIew and Performance Diagnostics log at Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Performance Information and Tools\Advanced Tools where you can also Generate a System Health Report.

Try a clean boot procedure: How to Troubleshoot a Problem by Performing a Clean Startup in Windows 7 or Vista

Uncheck all items at msconfig>Startup except AV and gadgets.

Run chkdsk and maker's HD diag/repair full CD scan: Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities (Storage) - TACKtech Corp.

Run sfc /scannow to make sure nothing has already corrupted System Files.

Finally, if nothing else helps then run a Repair Install which is next best thing to reinstall.
Couldn't find any errors at all that seem related (one of my USB external disks gives controller errors, but I'm not sure that's related), so I opened up Perfmon to see what it's actually doing. I also reinstalled some Intel drivers, and it seems to have made it slightly better. The activity isn't just slight pulses any more, it's basically constant now. Windows seems to be indexing constantly now, whereas it was just trying to do it intermittently before. I wonder whether that had something to do with the driver reinstall or just coincidence.



I personally can't see anything out of the ordinary going on.....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


12 Jul 2010   #4
Microsoft MVP

Win 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

How large is your documents folder? Most of those reads/writes showing in that screen shot have to do with the Windows Search and Indexing, and depending on the size of the folders included in the index can take a few days on a clean install to complete. Once the index is finished the hard drive activity will fall off.

Don't forget that most of that sort of process is a background task and will be paused if something else requires the resources.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jul 2010   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 + Linux Mint 9
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by stormy13 View Post
How large is your documents folder? Most of those reads/writes showing in that screen shot have to do with the Windows Search and Indexing, and depending on the size of the folders included in the index can take a few days on a clean install to complete. Once the index is finished the hard drive activity will fall off.

Don't forget that most of that sort of process is a background task and will be paused if something else requires the resources.
I've got just over 143gb of stuff on my Data partition + 2.5TB of external storage. Everything seems to have settled off again now, and it's still flashing occasionally but I think that's just because I'm doing the initial update on MSE. It's certainly better than it was, csrss.exe isn't chewing on it constantly now. This is certainly not something I've seen before.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jul 2010   #6
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Go to the "Reliability and Performance Monitor > Disk (Start > right click on "Computer" > Manage > R&P Monitor) and check who is doing all the reads or writes.

See also:
Resource Monitor
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jul 2010   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 + Linux Mint 9
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
Go to the "Reliability and Performance Monitor > Disk (Start > right click on "Computer" > Manage > R&P Monitor) and check who is doing all the reads or writes.
Isn't that what I've got here? I can't seem to find it the way you listed it.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Zaraphrax View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
How was Windows 7 activated?

Did you reinstall with just the OS DVD, or Recovery?

If you clean reinstalled did you keep the Dell Utility partition?
Was already activated when I installed it from the Dell supplied OS DVD (not a recovery disc either). I nuked the Dell utility partition because I could create my Linux partition with it still on there. The machine is brand new btw.

Quote:
Has the problem been there since the reinstall or did it possibly begin after your changed out a driver given by the installer or optional Windows Updates?
Since the reinstall I've noticed it.

Quote:
Run a virus scan with Malwarebytes and MSE, which is a better free AV solution than Avira.
It's clean as a whistle.

Quote:
Google repeat errors in Event Viewer>Admin VIew and Performance Diagnostics log at Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Performance Information and Tools\Advanced Tools where you can also Generate a System Health Report.

Try a clean boot procedure: How to Troubleshoot a Problem by Performing a Clean Startup in Windows 7 or Vista

Uncheck all items at msconfig>Startup except AV and gadgets.

Run chkdsk and maker's HD diag/repair full CD scan: Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities (Storage) - TACKtech Corp.

Run sfc /scannow to make sure nothing has already corrupted System Files.

Finally, if nothing else helps then run a Repair Install which is next best thing to reinstall.
Couldn't find any errors at all that seem related (one of my USB external disks gives controller errors, but I'm not sure that's related), so I opened up Perfmon to see what it's actually doing. I also reinstalled some Intel drivers, and it seems to have made it slightly better. The activity isn't just slight pulses any more, it's basically constant now. Windows seems to be indexing constantly now, whereas it was just trying to do it intermittently before. I wonder whether that had something to do with the driver reinstall or just coincidence.



I personally can't see anything out of the ordinary going on.....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jul 2010   #8
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

There is a lot of system log activity. For a test, disable the System Event Notification Service and see whether that helps. But reenable it later because there are some services that depend on it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jul 2010   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 + Linux Mint 9
 
 

Nope, that didn't do anything. Although it's less busy now, the drive light still pulses constantly even at the desktop with nothing running except MSE in the tray.

Here's a screenshot with that service stopped, and only Firefox, Task Manager and Resource Monitor running. I'm starting to wonder if I borked something when I resized the partition to install Linux (I defragmented first though, and it let me shrink it down so there can't have been anything in it's road, right?).

EDIT - sfc didn't find any errors, so perhaps not. Hmm.
EDIT2 - Neither did chkdsk.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jul 2010   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 + Linux Mint 9
 
 

Ooh, I think I've solved it.

I did a bit more Googling and came across this thread (and being a computer engineer, I don't know why I didn't think of this). It says in a post in there that it's more of "I/O" light, rather than just purely disc activity. It talks about it polling the DVD drive to see if a new disc has been inserted. So, I clicked Safely Remove Hardware and "ejected" my laptop's DVD burner. Now the light pulses at a much, much less frequent rate. It was pulsing at a rate of about 1-2 pulses per 2 seconds before, I've just timed in and it's pulsing at about 1 pulse every 5 or 6 seconds, which is more what I was expecting under general use conditions. I guess I didn't notice it because the seeking on this hard disk is very quiet, even in my nice quiet room.

I wonder if it's a bug in Dell's latest BIOS or something (this is a brand spanking new model, so I guess that's possible).

Brb, rebooting to "re-attach" the drive.

EDIT - And sure enough, light goes berserk again. Ejected the drive again and it stops. That's incredibly weird.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Fresh Install of 7 - blinking HDD every few seconds




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