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Windows 7: Intermittent hanging with no CPU usage but 100% HDD

05 Apr 2010   #1
Reo Baird

Windows 7 X64 build 7600
 
 
Intermittent hanging with no CPU usage but 100% HDD

This has been a very frustrating ongoing problem i have been trying to solve for almost a month now, and i am just about ready to give up and switch back to Vista.

The problem:

About a month ago, i noticed firefox would hang intermittently while browsing. Maybe once every half an hour or so for maybe 20-30 seconds. It would generally occur when browsing pages with lots of images, or pages i was visiting for the first time (ie: nothing cached).

Nothing else would hang (i could play new release games on max settings, use photoshop all day long, etc.). After a week or so, the problem got to the point where it was getting pretty frustrating (ie: freezing up every few minutes... sometimes for up to 5 minutes), so i figured firefox was at fault and i tried internet explorer. Same problem (at this point the problem was still localized to web browsing). I then downloaded google chrome. Still same problem.

Shorty after, the problem spread to the rest of the system, worst when web browsing, or using explorer to browse folders.

Now, the system is pretty well unusable. It hangs once every couple minutes (sometimes it will get on a roll and go 5 minutes without issue)... sometimes it freezes up for up to 10 minutes.

The system never "crashes" or hits a blue screen. Nor does the event viewer pick anything up.

When the system hangs, processor sits idle, memory usage stays the same. The only indicator is hard drive active time jumps to 100%, hard drive response times jump to over 3000ms, and hard drive transfer rate slows to a crawl (under 1mb/s).

During the hangs, mouse stays responsive, but as soon as i click anything in any program, that program goes unresponsive.



What i have tried:

- Boot into seperate vista install. Problem is not present in Vista (vista is on a seperate hard drive)
- Install and run Kaspersky Antivirus, both from windows 7, and also scanning the win7 drive while booted into vista. Nothing.
- Do an overnight ram test
- test hard drives (have checked the drive with chkdsk, as well as a third party tool, run from vista). Hard drives all report OK with normal response times and no slow downs
- Physically swap SATA interfaces, cables, power cables, physical drive locations with the Vista drive)
- uninstalling/ rolling back/ updates SATA drivers in win7
- updating all drivers
- safe mode (problem still exists)
- messing with every possible bios setting


At this point i am at an utter loss as to what to do. All my programs/settings are in windows 7 and i really would prefer to continue with 7 rather than roll back to an older O/S or reinstall (only to possibly encounter the same issue... i've had windows 7 for less than 2 months so the install is pretty fresh). I am out of ideas. I have searched for this problem extensively online, and tried all suggestions i found. I cannot figure this out.

Some quick, possibly relevant, backstory: When i first installed windows 7, the system was slow, and randomly had hang-ups and slow disk transfer rate, sort of like it does now. I solved it initially by installed all the chipset drivers.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Apr 2010   #2
Shardx1

 

I have the same problem, but when I tried explaining it to others, no one seemed to know what I was talking about... glad to know it isn't just me (yet, sorry because you're having the same problem!).

Though my problem didn't happen with browsing first -- it started happening occasionally when I ran Skype. Now it happens once every couple of hours, and usually lasts about 5 minutes (though it can happen directly after I login to Windows, in which case it never recovers and I have to manually shut the computer off).

The hanging seems to just manifest itself as it pleases, regardless of what I've done to the computer. The first time I restored my computer to the factory image (for an unrelated reason), I installed updates, configured the AV, then restarted the computer. Indefinite hang on next login.

My problem isn't nearly as common or severe as the OP's, but needless to say it can be very frustrating.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Apr 2010   #3
not so gray matter

W7 Ult. x64 | OS X
 
 

I've seen this issue before, mostly on older computers. It's most likely a virus/malware. I'd run Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and whatever AV program you use. Make sure you do a full scan. If that doesn't show anything, then do a complete format. That should solve your problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Apr 2010   #4
e044529

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

I have this exact problem on my laptop too. I am certain it is not virus or malware related. This is a freshly formatted drive prior to installing win 7 just a few weeks ago. I have also done full scans on it with a few different AV products and done all the OS disk scans to check for disk errors, found none.
When this happens, I see the same as the previous posters. The hard drive light stays on full, not flashing like its actually doing something. If I don't do anything, it can stay that way for quite some time. The mouse still works though and I have found that it is related to a single program that I have open. If I find the program that is not responding and kill it, the hang clears up right away.
It's not a particual program though, sometimes its IE or windows explorer or just about anything else.
This is not the drive that came with the laptop. It's possible I need to change something in the BIOS, I don't know. I'm getting just as tired of this as the rest so any ideas I'd like to hear them.

Thanks
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Apr 2010   #5
Reo Baird

Windows 7 X64 build 7600
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by notsograymatter View Post
I've seen this issue before, mostly on older computers. It's most likely a virus/malware. I'd run Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and whatever AV program you use. Make sure you do a full scan. If that doesn't show anything, then do a complete format. That should solve your problem.
I am almost 100% positive it is not a virus. Also, the computer is not old at all. I will attach specs at the end of this post.

Aside from already having run two kaspersky full scans (one from win7 and one from vista on the win7 drive), i've also run the microsoft malware finder or whatever it is called from the microsoft website.

Additionally, the problem did not begin upon using any new software. Also, during the hangs, i cannot find any evidence of any process using up hardware time. I also see no suspicious processes or services anywhere.

The only virus-related possibility i can see is perhaps a very advanced root kit which is able to hide all its activity from within windows, and is still undetectable when booted into the alternate O/S. I have carefully gone through all the win7 system folders from within vista looking for possible suspicious files that do not exist when booted into win7.

At this point i am fairly confident it is not a virus-related problem.

I really would like to avoid reformatting. I've just got the O/S set up the way i like it and i absolutely hate reformatting... it takes months to get everything back to where i had it (all the little tools i use installed, all my passwords and such remembered in browsers, all the little tweaks i like to do, etc.)


Specs on my system:
OS
Windows 7 X64 build 7600
CPU
AMD Athlon Phenom 9950 Black Edition
Motherboard
Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe
Memory
4GB Corsair
Graphics Card(s)
2x nVidia 9800 GTX in SLI
Sound Card
SB X-fi Elite Pro Monitor(s)
Displays
1x Samsung 226BW, 1x Samsung 2443BW
Hard Drives
2x WD15 EADS-00P8B0 1.5TB SATA Drives
2x WD25 00KS-00MJB0 250GB SATA Drives
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Apr 2010   #6
Dave Hirschman

Windows 7
 
 
Sounds like the same thing ...

is happening on our new Dell Inspiron 17 X64 notebook. At random intervals, it will freeze for up to 30 seconds, usually when opening a new tab in IE or other browser, but sometimes even when no browser is running. The hard drive light is on continuously throughout the episode. Apparently everything is waiting on the hard drive. For example, if you haven't clicked the "Start" button since the last boot, it will not work, but if you have, it will (because it's already in memory?). But if you click on a game or something, nothing happens. In Google Chrome, sometimes pages that are already loaded will not scroll, and Chrome will say that the page is not responding and offer to kill it.

When the freeze ends, the HD light blinks, the game then loads, the scroll operations happen, etc. The cooling fan is often on during a freeze, and seems to shut off when it ends.

I too have tried everything I can think of - antivirus, no antivirus, uninstalled windows messenger, uninstalled Chrome made sure space for "shadow storage" not too high, turned off drive indexing, disabled "super fetch," disabled IP6, and so forth with no luck. The laptop is wireless, but the problem still occurs if I disable wireless and plug into my home network.

I've tried leaving the task window up (since you can't get it up once a freeze has started), and it operates normally during a freeze, but I can't see any pattern to the tasks that are running, and I can't see any pattern when I leave the Performance/Resource Monitor/Disk tab running either. The bytes per second of disk activity doesn't seem like it's very high.

I've tested the HD several times (using the test built into Windows) and that does not reveal an error. And if there were HD errors requiring retries or something like that, you'd think that would be revealed/reported elsewhere.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Apr 2010   #7
Reo Baird

Windows 7 X64 build 7600
 
 

I figure i'll post again to say, i still have not found a fix.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Apr 2010   #8
zigzag3143

Win 8 Release candidate 8400
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Reo Baird View Post
I figure i'll post again to say, i still have not found a fix.


RB

Have you looked in event viewer to see what errors are logged? Type eventvwr in search>windows logs?application tab.

You are looking for critical errors (they have red in the left hand column) that say pp hang, app crash, etc.

When you find them Note the event ID and source codes and relay them to us.

let us know if you need help


ken
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Apr 2010   #9
Reo Baird

Windows 7 X64 build 7600
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by zigzag3143 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Reo Baird View Post
I figure i'll post again to say, i still have not found a fix.


RB

Have you looked in event viewer to see what errors are logged? Type eventvwr in search>windows logs?application tab.

You are looking for critical errors (they have red in the left hand column) that say pp hang, app crash, etc.

When you find them Note the event ID and source codes and relay them to us.

let us know if you need help


ken
Nothing in event logs, as mentioned in original post.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jun 2010   #10
necroticism

Windows Vista 64 bit ultimate
 
 

I'm having the exact same issue, with x64 bit seven, the same CPU, the same GPU and same mobo (m2n32). I have swapped CPUs, GPUS, Ram to no avail, I can pretty much leave it at the motherboard having an issue with seven. This already has cost me a brand new 1TB hdd. It has happened on every install on 3 different disks with this board.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Intermittent hanging with no CPU usage but 100% HDD




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