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Windows 7: My PC won't idle! And I think it's trying to kill me/sp

01 Apr 2010   #1

Windows 7 x64
My PC won't idle! And I think it's trying to kill me/sp

Hey all -

I have a real brain tickler of a Windows 7 issue to run by you.

I've been running Win 7 x64 on an OCZ Vertex 60GB, with FW 1.5. During a routine health check in the last couple of week , I noticed a slight drop (maybe 5%) in AS SSD results - especially random writes/reads. Which confused me, because the one-two punch of GC+TRIM had kept my performance incredibly stable prior to this. Around the same time, I noticed that my PC won't go to sleep (it's set to sleep automatically after 3 hours of idle time). Since both GC and automatic sleep don't seem to be working, I started to wonder if the machine wasn't idling correctly.

Sure enough, that seems to be the case. Keeping an eye on the box, I noticed that even when I'm logged off, not running any tasks (I even disabled MS Security Essentials), the hard disk access light was blinking periodically - a consistent, slow pulse. Convinced I was losing my mind, I would immediately check the Resource monitor and discovered that indeed, there is a consistent stream of low-level (maybe a few dozen KB/s) disk activity, all related to various system initiated processes - writing to various log and .dat files.

Even more disturbingly, there is now a corresponding amount of continuous network activity. Even with the browser closed, etc. Seriously.

I have not installed any software that would do this, nor would I need to. Like a good SSD user, I have disabled search indexing on my SSDs (although it remains enabled for my HDDs). I have installed the Intel RST 9.6 drivers recently (and was very happy with the performance initially), and that is the only user-affected change that coincides with this issue arising.

The only other thing I can think of is related to the MS spyware and Windows Anti Hack Update, as I do keep the machine routinely updated via Windows update. Like a big trusting idiot, I installed the really obnoxious KB971033 update, since I have absolutely nothing to hide, and all my software/media is paid for.

Now, I realize Windows 7 is a pretty "noisy" OS with all the stuff that is happening automagically, but this is something different. My PC used to idle reliably (ie, after a few minutes of being left alone, the disk access light would stop showing, the machine would sleep eventually, GC seemed to be working well, etc), and now it doesn't.

Something has changed. What, I wonder? Any thoughts? I have the ugly suspicion that something vaguely awful is happening behind the scenes here.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

02 Apr 2010   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, clean install, upgrade disc


Although you mentioned it already, I think its a case of the naties, download and run this.

Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware : Malwarebytes

and be sure to run a thorough AntiVirus scan. If positive you have to get rid of those nasties before anything else. If negative it is a matter of finding out the cause.

Perform a clean boot, this may help determine the cause
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Apr 2010   #3

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86

In addition to following richc46's advice, do the following.

1) Download and install Sysinternal's Process Monitor, that'll help identify the activity.

2) Disable Superfetch and Indexing.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

02 Apr 2010   #4

XP Pro SP3 X86 / Win7 Pro X86

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by andrewa View Post
Hey all -

I have a real brain tickler of a Windows 7 issue to run by you.
See the thread "Quieting Windows 7 Down" also in this section of the forums...

Quieting Windows 7 down....

In brief the conclusions I reached were these:

1) If you have an optical drive on your SATA interface, the drive light is going to blink once a second no matter what you do. It's the system polling for disk insertions and SATA has no hardware way to do that. (i.e. live with it)

2) Task Scheduler has a huge load of crap in it you can safely disable. If you plot the events vs time you'll find there's something scheduled almost hourly. (not to mention the spyware events....)

3) There is a timestamping routine running that you can shut down without consequence.

4) There are numerous Services you can shut down... Windows Search being the prime offender as it continuously indexes and re-indexes your drives. Next on the list is the Windows Media Player's media sharing service which also continuously scans your disk and those on other machines.

5) In Power Management there is a "Wake Timer" feature that will wake your system up to make it run a scheduled task. Obviously you want to disable that.

This doesn't solve all the problems... but it does quiet the system down considerably.

From your first note, I would suggest that 3 hours before standby is a horrificly long time and it's very likely that within that time something is going to happen to keep it awake... I have my screensaver set to 10 minutes, drives turn off after 10 minutes and my system is asleep in 20... So far so good.

For your suspicion that something has happened behind the scenes... My answer is "Probably". It is not beyond Microsoft to re-enable services and create scheduled tasks via Automatic Updates...
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 My PC won't idle! And I think it's trying to kill me/sp

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