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Windows 7: Memory usage maxes out 100% during file transfer, computer freezes

30 Oct 2011   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
Memory usage maxes out 100% during file transfer, computer freezes

I'm really hoping someone can help me with this.

I've got 4 internal sata drives in my computer. A 80GB SSD, 1TB HDD, 2 TB HDD and 3TB HDD.

I recently moved overseas. For the move, I removed all the hard drives and the video card.

When I arrived, I reinstalled everything. Windows boots fine. All drives are accessible. All files on all drives are readable. It's when I started transferring files between drives is where the trouble began.

I think it's important to note that before I moved, everything was working fine. Now here's the problem:

I tried to transfer about 10GB of files from my 2TB to my 3TB. Transfer speed was fine in the beginning, starting at around 120mb/sec. But the speed quickly slows, goes to a crawl and eventually the transfer freezes, the computer freezes and the only thing I can do is a hard reset.

After a couple attempts, I launch Windows Task Manager to try to figure out what is going on.

Looking at the performance tab of Task Manager during the transfer, I can see that the Memory level steadily climbs until it reaches its maximum (8GB memory). It's at this point that the computer freezes.

If I transfer a lower amount over, for example 3GB of files, the memory level grows by 3GB. The transfer completes, but the memory level does not go down after the transfer has completed. Clicking on the resource monitor I can see that the memory is being held in the orange "Modified" portion of the RAM. It just sits there. It does not go back down. (see screen shots below)So if I tranfer 4GB to the 3TB drive, the memory usage will climb up to around 6.5GB cached. After the transfer, it remains at 6.5GB for the session and only goes down once the computer has been restarted.

I've tried switching sata cables - no change in behavior.

I've tried adding full permissions to all users in the hard drive properties - no change in behavior.

I've tried disabling AVG antivirus - no change in behavior.

Note: This ONLY happens when I transfer files to the 3TB drive. When I transfer files, for example, FROM the 3TB drive to another drive, the memory usage spikes a little, but goes down once the transfer is complete, which I believe is normal behavior.

Can anyone please help me?! I've looked all over the net trying to find an answer. I've found posters with similar problems, but no fixes.

Dell Optiplex 980
Windows 7 Professional 64bit, Service Pack 1
Intel i7 860@ 2.8GHz

Attached Images
Memory usage maxes out 100% during file transfer, computer freezes-task-mgr1.jpg Memory usage maxes out 100% during file transfer, computer freezes-task-mgr2.jpg 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Oct 2011   #2

Windows 10 Pro x64

Looks like file caching behavior - you say everything worked fine before the move, but did you do this (copy large amounts to the 3TB drive) like this? Also, does this repro if you use xcopy or robocopy from a cmd prompt?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Nov 2011   #3

Windows 7 Professional 64bit

Hi cluberti. Thanks for the reply.

Yes, I work in video production, so most transfers to this drive have been large (8GB+).

I'm afraid I'm not very versed in cmd prompt. I googled robocopy, ran a test, and still had the same results. I tried to copy over a folder of around 10GB from my 2TB drive to the 3TB drive and had the same results - the cached memory just grew to the full 8GB and the computer froze, requiring a hard reboot.

Would really appreciate any further advice/help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

01 Nov 2011   #4

Windows 10 Pro x64

Would you be willing to take a trace (xperf) of the file copy for me? If you are willing, I will post installation instructions and the command line to run before starting the file copy.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Nov 2011   #5

Windows 7 Professional 64bit

Yes! No problem for the trace (xperf). I don't know what that is, but if you post instructions, I'll get it done.

Thank you again!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Nov 2011   #6

Windows 10 Pro (x64)

In Disk Management, on the bottom pane clicking on properties of Disk 0, or any other corresponding to your drives do they have the options in the image blow checked or unchecked? (Now if the 3TB has no onboard memory like 16-32 MB then it won't do much good)

Attached Images
Memory usage maxes out 100% during file transfer, computer freezes-untitled.png 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Nov 2011   #7

Windows 10 Pro x64

You will need to install the Windows Performance Toolkit as per the first part of my guide, here ("Installing the tools") to take a trace. What you will need to do, considering you have an 80GB drive, a 2TB drive, and a 3TB drive, is to copy a very large file from your 80GB drive to your 3TB drive, and save the resulting trace file you will take during this time to your 2TB drive (make sense?).

Follow these instructions, if you will:
  1. Place a large file (2GB+) on your 80GB drive - copy a file of approximately this size there if one does not already exist; this is the file we will use during the test. Make sure this file will NOT cause you to be out of memory during the test, so be careful how much larger than 2GB this file is!
  2. Reboot, to be sure you've startingn from a clean slate (don't start any other applications other than what loads with Windows).
  3. Open resmon, and switch to the memory tab, so as to watch the memory issue happening (also to verify this test reproduces the issue).
  4. Open a Windows Explorer window; we will use this window to do the file copy.
  5. Open an elevated CMD prompt open, from which you will run the following command to start the tracing (if this wordwraps, be aware that the following command is all one line):
    xperf -on base+dispatcher+latency+syscall+disk_io_init+file_io+file_io_init -stackwalk readythread+threadcreate+profile+cswitch
  6. Next, copy the large file from your 80GB drive to your 3TB drive from Windows Explorer to reproduce the memory consumption issue.
  7. Last, execute the followingn command from the elevated CMD prompt to stop tracing and save the trace file:
    xperf -d <x>:\filecopy.etl
    (replacing "<x>" with the drive letter for your 2TB drive)
Please be aware that the resulting "filecopy.etl" file will take some time to initially create after you execute the last command, and it will be VERY large. You will need to compress this file (as highly as possible with a tool like 7-zip or WinRar) and upload it somewhere that I can get to it (a file hosting site is fine, and I have an FTP site available if that is easier to do). Any questions, please ask. Otherwise, I hope to see that you've generated a trace file shortly!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Nov 2011   #8

Windows 7 Professional 64bit

Hello logicearth. Thanks for joining in. I checked the 3TB hard drive.

Checked: Currently the box "Enable write caching on the device" is checked.

Not checked: "Turn off Windows write-cache buffer..." is not checked.

Of note: I looked at all my other drives (the two 2tb drives and the 80GB ssd drive, they have the same setup as the 3tb drive - "Enable write caching" is checked).

cluberti, I'll get going on the Toolkit and get back to you.

Thank you again!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Nov 2011   #9

Windows 7 Professional 64bit

Hi Cluberti. I've created the filecopy.etl. I've ftp'ed it a site. I'm not sure how to get the link to you. I don't want to post it publicly. I tried to send a PM, but it told me I didn't have permission.

Let me know how I can send you the link to the file.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Nov 2011   #10

Windows 10 Pro x64

Sorry, indeed you would not. Send me an email at cluberti [at] cluberti [dot] com with the information.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Memory usage maxes out 100% during file transfer, computer freezes

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