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Windows 7: Windows hangs up / won't start due to constant HDD thrashing

21 Sep 2012   #1
ontheroad

Windows Premium x64
 
 
Windows hangs up / won't start due to constant HDD thrashing

A few days ago I awoke my Toshiba laptop in the morning, only to find it hanging up with continuous HDD activity. After a while I did a hard shutdown and tried to restart, but the HDD activity continued, and after an hour of trying, it was barely past the start screen - zero chance of any useful activity.

It performs normally in command prompt, and I can barely get it booted in safe mode (HDD thrash eventually stops until I ask it to do anything). Task manager doesn't show any unusual processes or services, but the resource monitor does show the HDD activity. Chkdsk (thru command prompt) on the X and D partitions came out fine, but on the C drive it doesn't even get to 1% and slows to about 1 file/minute. I attempted a Start Repair, but it said nothing was wrong. Tried a System Restore, but for some reason no restore points could be found.

The HDD seems to be performing OK (I'm using robocopy/cmd prompt to copy all I can to an external HDD), with only the occasional I/O error. It's possible I caught a virus, although I'm generally cautious (Ad-Aware antivirus, all updates ASAP, regular scans with this and Malwarebytes).

I'd really, really like to find a way out of this without a complete reformat. I've tried stopping everything I could in Safe Mode, but to no avail. Also tried to uninstall my AV software (and anything else that seemed to be running at startup), but was denied there as well. Anyone got any ideas?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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23 Sep 2012   #2
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

Hello ontheroad. Welcome to the forum.

Did you try running chkdsk /r on the C: partition?

You will also want to download and run a hard disk diagnostic program offered by the hard disk manufacturer. Use the one that can be booted from CD or USB stick to test the drive from outside of Windows.

You might also run System File Checker at boot, using option one below:
SFC /SCANNOW Command - System File Checker
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Sep 2012   #3
4wd

W7, W8.1
 
 

Quote:
the resource monitor does show the HDD activity
Post a snip from Resource Monitor > Disk ?
With constant activity the origin should be very visible in the list.
May give someone a clue as to the cause.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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23 Sep 2012   #4
ontheroad

Windows Premium x64
 
 

Thanks TVeblen and 4wd for your suggestions. I'd run chkdsk on the C drive without any switches, and it hung after about 30K files examined. Also tried sfc/scannow - I believe it gave a positive response, but I can't honestly remember if it gave an OK or failed to work under the HDD load. I do recall it didn't advance my understanding of the problem - should have taken better notes. Also, as far as a snip of anything, that would have been totally impossible in Safe mode - even a right click to get a context menu on an item locked the system up for about 5 minutes as it thrashed.

So, I finally got back home to my external HD - robocopied the essentials in command prompt and reformatted the drive. 24 hours later I'm almost back to normal ops. Now, all I need is a little sleep. Thanks a lot guys for the suggestions - wish I could tell you exactly what the problem was, but it appears I may never know.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Sep 2012   #5
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

Glad to hear you have resolved it. The nuclear option is sometimes the faster approach. Good work!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Windows hangs up / won't start due to constant HDD thrashing




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