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Windows 7: System hangs by higher HDD Activity!! Please Help!?

08 Nov 2010   #1

Windows 7 Pro x64
System hangs by higher HDD Activity!! Please Help!?

Hello guys,

I've been banging my head with this one for days now

Here are the simptoms:

1. Copying/Reading/Writing large files (Installing/Uninstalling large applications, etc.) makes the system almost freeze - doing anything else on it at the meantime is really hard! I can hardly switch between opened windows (for example Mozilla windows) and starting a new program or even a new Mozilla window is impossible until the HDD transfer finishes! Even website scripts stop responding! On the other hand transfer speeds are normal.

2. This one is hard to explain - programs that are started but haven't been used for a while (Minimized Mozilla or IE windows, Skype, etc.) take time to open while the HDD activity at this time appears hard! For example I maximize a Mozilla windows that hasn't been in use for some time - the window maximizes right away but it remains blank for up to maybe 1 second while the HDD is reading something (based on the LED). Maximizing skype (especially one with more contacts) also takes up to one seconds to fully display the content. Once the program or windows has once recently been used it works as it should - minimizing and maximizing it works right away with no delay... I assume cache memory is used??

I have a Hitachi 7K500 7200rpm drive, 4GB DDR3 RAM and i5 520M CPU.

Here's what I've done so far:

1. Cloned my entire system to another HDD (5400RPM) - problem persists. Both HDDs have no SMART warnings and show typical benchmark results and speeds.

2. Funnily when I clean-installed the system (used Vaio restoration DVDs) I was not able to experience the problems... until I updated Windows (54 Updates) and drivers and installed all programs I need and use. As you can see I am not able to install each program and update one by one and check as they are a lot...

I have the latest SATA Controller drivers (Intel Rapid Storage Technology

Any suggestions where the problem might be !??? It is driving me crazy!!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Nov 2010   #2

Win 7 64 bit professional

Sounds like a memory availability issue. How many programs are starting up in msconfig? Have you checked the memory utilization graphs in task manager when these symptoms occur?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Nov 2010   #3

Windows 7 Pro x64

If you mean StartUp in MsConfig - checked are 12 and I have unchecked another 7-8 that I don't need starting.

When those issues occur, the RAM is still at about 50% utilization... or do you mean something else?

If it helps - the lag/freeze occurs a few seconds after the copying process is started - for example I start copying 10GB from D: to E:, first say 5-10 seconds everything works fluently, after that freezes/lags start to occur with variable strength...
My System SpecsSystem Spec

09 Nov 2010   #4

Win 7 64 bit professional

Try the following (long shot but you never know).
Temporarily uncheck all 12 startups in msconfig and your antivirus. Then try copying a large file.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Nov 2010   #5

Winbdows 7 ultimate x64 | Ubuntu 12.04 x64 LTS

Have you ran chkdsk /f?
How old is the HDD? Could be a faulty memory too.. Diagnose your memory with Memtest86.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Nov 2010   #6

Windows 7 Pro x64

I don't use any Antivirus software.

The HDD is nearly 6 months old, but the problem isn't new - I have been noticing it for at least 5-6 months now, just decided I should do something about it now...

As I said it is not the HDD though - read my first post - I cloned the entire system to another HDD and there was no difference.

Have checked the RAM - no errors. Same for CPU.

Will try Snakeyeskm's idea a bit later.

Any other suggestions?

I guess it is still normal for the system to react a bit slower when the HDD is busy!? Just shouldn't be that extreme IMO... am I right?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Nov 2010   #7

Winbdows 7 ultimate x64 | Ubuntu 12.04 x64 LTS

What about CPU usage? Does it reman normal or go extreme when the lag or blank window (in case of firefox) appears?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Nov 2010   #8

Windows 7 Pro x64

It remains absolutely normal - 5-10%

Here a screenshot I just took - this is my mozilla windows while copying a large folder and switching between opened windows. Mozilla seems to be affected the most - I managed to start Opera and partially to work with IE...

Attached Thumbnails
System hangs by higher HDD Activity!! Please Help!?-screenshot001-small-.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Nov 2010   #9

Winbdows 7 ultimate x64 | Ubuntu 12.04 x64 LTS

Please try clean boot.
How to troubleshoot a problem by performing a clean boot in Windows Vista or in Windows 7
You said, you use no antivirus, eh? Have you tried running some scans as some threats tend to slow down your system. If not, then before you do clean boot, download MBAM, update and do full scan. Also, i'd like to see a snip of your all running processes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Nov 2010   #10

Windows 7 Pro x64

OK, another experiment just performed:

I closed Mozilla Firefox and opened a few tabs and windows of Opera, as well as IE.

Started copying process (12 GB from D: to E:)

* Opera works just fine (I am writing this while the transfer is still active - no delay at all!).
* IE has some delay - I managed to reply a mail with it , but after I just opened another tab there it went to (not responding) on top and blank just like Mozilla.
*Tried to maximize Skype - no-go! The frame showed after maybe 20 seconds but remains empty and unusable.

Once the transfer finished (right now) - everything cured - IE opened the address in the new tab and Skype showed up.

Is this normal?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 System hangs by higher HDD Activity!! Please Help!?

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