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Windows 7: Trying to determine if my hard drive is about to die

18 Nov 2013   #1

Windows 7 64 bit Home Premium
Trying to determine if my hard drive is about to die - Memory problems

I don't know if this is a hardware or a software issue, so I put it in this section. I'm really worried that one of my hard drives is failing, but I don't know for sure. Here's the story:

Fed up with Windows 8.1, I decided to go back to Windows 7 Pro. So I copied all my personal files onto my second drive and wiped out the main drive with diskpart and the Clean command. I installed Window 7, then did all Windows updates, installed all drivers and all my programs. After that, I proceeded to copy all the files from my second drive to my user folder in the main drive. I left that working overnight knowing it would take a while because it was over one terabye.

This morning I had to go out and I didn't come back until 12 or so, and I didn't turn on the monitor until then. When I turn it on I see a message that the computer is low on memory and that I might want to close some programs to make space. Well, no matter how large the copy operation is, my computer has 32 GB of RAM, so this shouldn't happen.

But even more weird is that I try to launch Task Manager and the screen goes blank; the computer is sending a signal to it, but it's completely blank. Then a moment later it stops sending a signal so the screen turns off. Then it comes on again, but with a blank signal. This keeps on going on and on. I turn on the second monitor to see what is doing, and it's the same thing.

I figure I let it work, but after several minutes I get fed up and I press the power button. So I hear that the hard drive starts working harder, and I think, great, now it's going to do the shut down process. But no. So far it's been an hour of the hard drive working hard and the screens were turning on and off, but now the main screen is on with an almost blank signal, except in the middle there's the "busy" round cursor, and the start orb is also there, but nothing else.

After having one hard drive die on me over a year ago I'm really worried that this might be a sign that this one is about to die. A computer with 32 GB of RAM should never run low on memory just for a copy operation, in fact I never had any computer over the years do this to me, even on computers with 4 GB of RAM.

So what do you guys think?

Update: shortly after writing this, the main screen started showing up in pieces, and eventually Task Manager came up and it was showing that Windows Explorer was using 32 GB of RAM. After a minute, it closed task manager and the two windows explorer windows, probably because of the shutdown that I had triggered by pressing the power button, but for the past twenty minutes the screen has been blank except for the mouse pointer.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Nov 2013   #2
x BlueRobot


It may not mean physical memory, it could be virtual memory. It could be some kind of memory leak, what program(s) did you leave running?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Nov 2013   #3

Windows 7 64 bit Home Premium

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by x BlueRobot View Post
It may not mean physical memory, it could be virtual memory. It could be some kind of memory leak, what program(s) did you leave running?
Nothing except whatever background programs run on startup. The only two things open were two Windows Explorer windows.

I finally got fed up with waiting and I forced a power off. Now it's running, but I'm going to install the Seagate Seatools to run diagnostics of the two Seagate drives to see if anything comes up. What I fear is that the low memory error came up because Windows tried to use virtual memory and the drive is failing so it couldn't use it properly. But also I don't understand why would Windows Explorer need 32 GB of RAM for a simple copy operation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

18 Nov 2013   #4

Windows 7 64 bit Home Premium

I'm checking the logs before installing SeaTools, and I see that the first low memory condition was 8:06 AM, at which point the copy had to be long finished. Here's the message from that log:

Windows successfully diagnosed a low virtual memory condition. The following programs consumed the most virtual memory: dllhost.exe (1908) consumed 133798776832 bytes, svchost.exe (1108) consumed 800153600 bytes, and MsMpEng.exe (460) consumed 225787904 bytes.

Something's really fishy here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Nov 2013   #5
x BlueRobot


Yes it is, and at least my assumption about virtual memory was correct. Post a screenshot of your System Configuration Startup tab.

Trying to determine if my hard drive is about to die-2013-11-19-19_55_34-system-configuration.png

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My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Trying to determine if my hard drive is about to die

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