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Windows 7: Constant Hard drive access


16 Jun 2013   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 
Constant Hard drive access

First post on here. Hi everyone!

I was wondering if any of you might be able to help identify a problem I'm having. A couple of weeks ago I upgraded my graphics card and PSU and noticed hard drive activity when my PC was idle. About three little clicks every 2-5 seconds (The hard drive light doesn't always come on). There isn't any effect on Performance. CPU usage is usually at 0% like normal. When I boot up it goes abit crazy with disc access, but it settles down after abit. Programs are maybe a little slow to start, but it's just so borderline I just don't know.

I wondered if it was because of downloading a new driver for my graphics card, so I tried system restore, but it still did it. I've also scanned for viruses with Avast and security essentials but nothing has come up. I don't use this machine for web browsing really, and havent downloaded any mods recently or visited any spurious webpages. Maybe I should mention I uninstalled some antivirus software I had called webroot not long before. I've heard that some antivirus sabotages your computer when you uninstall it?

I read on the net that the clicking noise might be the "click of death" so I downloaded SeaTools and HD Tune and it passed tests from both of them except one on HD Tune - CRC Interface errors. It suggested that it was a faulty cable but I didn't touch the hard drive other than to connect the power cable to it, which wasn't anywhere near the drive itself. After a bit of research I read that it might be indicative of windows becoming corrupt. Is that correct?

I've done a couple of other things aswell. I had a look in Process Explorer for what might be accessing the disc so much. (read a tutorial that you should look for I/O reads and read bytes) and saw two culprits - steam and explorer.exe. Closed both of them, still no joy. What else? Hmmm... Oh yeah, I've scanned for errors with HD Tune and it didn't show any damaged sectors. Also run Check Disc aswell. And I've defragged the drive. Tried CCleaner aswell. And, just out of curiosity I tried disabling Indexing and Superfetch*. That didn't work either.

Help!

(As you can probably gather I'm not the most technically minded person. I've just been bumbling along with what I've read on the net. I'll my best to follow up on anything you suggest.)

*Read that sometimes it's responsible for thrashing the HD when idle.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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16 Jun 2013   #2

Win 7 Pro 64-bit 7601
 
 

CRC interface errors are usually because the SATA cable has issues. Those cables are very very picky, must do smooth curves, hate to get bent like a spiral or do straight 90 degress turns. Can you make sure that the cable is mounted according to what I said? Try cleaning the interfaces of the cable with compressed air and also changing sata port on the mobo.

Also, can you post a screenshot of Resource Monitor's tab about disk usage when you notice such things?
write "resource monitor" in the search box of Start menu to open it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jun 2013   #3

Windows 7 64 bit
 
 

That's interesting about the SATA cables and might explain my disk activity as well. Thanks bobafetthotmail.

I've just been doing some repairs on my machine and I know that the cable routes are somewhat convoluted. I'll check it out over the next couple of days.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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16 Jun 2013   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bobafetthotmail View Post
CRC interface errors are usually because the SATA cable has issues. Those cables are very very picky, must do smooth curves, hate to get bent like a spiral or do straight 90 degress turns. Can you make sure that the cable is mounted according to what I said? Try cleaning the interfaces of the cable with compressed air and also changing sata port on the mobo.

Also, can you post a screenshot of Resource Monitor's tab about disk usage when you notice such things?
write "resource monitor" in the search box of Start menu to open it.
I've straightened out the cable as much as I could and also tried a different SATA port on the mobo. It hasn't completely stopped doing it, but I think it has possibly alleviated the problem. I watched it for a while and it went a full minute without doing anything, whereas before it was literally all the time. I had a look in HD Tune, and it's still got CRC errors. Hm. Interesting. I'll post a screenshot of the Resource monitor when there's activity tomorrow, but I think the fact that it's not as bad as before points to a problem with the SATA cable like you said?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jun 2013   #5

Win 7 Pro 64-bit 7601
 
 

Maybe the SATA cable got damaged by bending it and while you alleviated the issue it's still damaged. Replacing it with another you are sure works (the one of the second HDD or of the DVD burner for example) is what I would try first.

And when you post resource monitor we'll see if it has something to do with a program. But CRC errors are hardware miscommunications so likely hardware-related.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jun 2013   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bobafetthotmail View Post
Maybe the SATA cable got damaged by bending it and while you alleviated the issue it's still damaged. Replacing it with another you are sure works (the one of the second HDD or of the DVD burner for example) is what I would try first.

And when you post resource monitor we'll see if it has something to do with a program. But CRC errors are hardware miscommunications so likely hardware-related.
I've tried swapping the SATA cable over from my DVD drive, and the CRC errors are still there.

See attachment below. I've also got a screenshot of the disc usage whilst it's idle but with the hard drive access going on.

Thanks for helping me by the way, bobafetthotmail. I've got no clue what's going on.

Moving the sata cable to a different slot like I did before might not have alleviated the problem. I'm not sure. Maybe I didn't listen to it for an extended period of time.


Attached Thumbnails
Constant Hard drive access-crc-errors.jpg   Constant Hard drive access-discusage.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jun 2013   #7

Win 7 Pro 64-bit 7601
 
 

The stuff in Resource monitor is ok. You have some spikes at 100 KB/s but it's normal when at idle (total bandwith is around 10 MB/s or more, note that the graph resizes dynamically). That disk is pretty much sleeping. Disk access at boot is normal to be high. Needs to load windows 7 and stuff from it.

If you have more than 1 GB of RAM "thrashing" at idle doesn't happen. It happens when you are running out of RAM, which happens when you open a lot of programs at the same time.

Now about the CRC errors: that is a log over the whole life of the drive, and it seems to me that the number is 3 (the Data entry of the CRC error count), so it's pretty low. As long as it isn't increasing over time it may be something that happened in the past when you bent the cable or something completely unrelated happened. Keep an eye on it in the next days/weeks and it should not increase. You cannot delete that log as it involves HDD firmware hacking and is unnecessary anyway. If it does and replacing SATA cables does not work you can try updating chipset drivers (as the chipset is responsible to operate SATA ports). If you don't know what that means, look at the specs of your motherboard and there will be an entry about what chipset is mounted, then searching on the chipset manufacturer's site (in your case AMD) for drivers for that particular Chipset.

If that does not solve again, I'd start thinking about buying a new HDD.

In any case it's a good practice to make sure you have backups of all the important stuff in case the drive fails. There is no reason to think it is going to happen given the scans you did, but HDDs can fail with little warning anyway.

If you are annoyed by the sound, rubber vibration-dampening things like these might solve the issue. You can try to put the HDD temporarily on a soft surface while running to hear if it stops clicking. Some whirring is normal though.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jun 2013   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

I thought it was going wrong as it started to behave a bit differently when I put in my new PSU and graphics card. I just thought it was weird. If you say it's ok that's great.

I've added to your rep. Thanks very much!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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