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Hard Disc Thrashing Vista

 
Ankit Garg
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This is like the V. 1000000 of this problem. The net is filled with this.

History
In my desktop I had a 160GB HDD. I bought an extra internal 1TB HDD (Western Digital). Everything was fine but about 10 days ago my system's performance went deep in the bottom of the sea. The HDD LED was on most of the time. I installed AnVir and checked to find that C and D partitions had 100% activity without any software using them (these two partitions were on 160GB HDD). After some testing I found out that 160GB HDD has some problem in writing data, it was taking 15 minutes to write 50MB of data, reading was fine and 1TB had no issues at all. So I backed up all 160GB HDD's data on 1TB, removed the 160GB and installed Vista Ultimate on 1TB.

Current Issue
The installation of Vista on 1TB took almost double than usual. After finishing installation, when windows started for the first time, the C drive on 1 TB HDD again had 100% activity. Vista was eating my HDD too much. So I disabled every service which could be a possible culprit: Windows Search (Indexing service), Windows Defender, Windows Update, Windows Security Center, Superfetch feature and User Access Control. Now the problem that remains is after the system boot up is complete, the HDD has 100% activity in C drive for about 10 minutes. The system is very slow during that time. After the 10 minutes it performs fine while using but its still a little slow. I checked and writing/reading/deleting large files is working fine, but it takes the system around 5-10 seconds to delete a mere 10kb file (on C drive). On my laptop deleting 10kb file takes milliseconds (I have Vista Home Basic on laptop). I'm worried that there might still be some issue.

Possible reasons
The possible problems that might be causing this are: Rootkit Virus, Windows has some sort of Write cache which sometimes creates problems, Problem with my Motherboard, the File Allocation Table of C drive is too small (C partition is 50 GB). I don't have any clue what to do now. For both Rootkit virus and write cache my friend suggested me to install XP, but I don't want to downgrade (I know everyone says vista sucks but its not that bad). Is there any software which can tell what's wrong with my HDD, I don't know how to increase the size of File Allocation Table if it has problems. Any clues??
 
Joe Ess
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Ankit Garg wrote: For both Rootkit virus and write cache my friend suggested me to install XP, but I don't want to downgrade (I know everyone says vista sucks but its not that bad).


How about Windows 7? It's supposedly a step up from Vista (I skipped Vista, so I can't compare).
 
Ankit Garg
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Thanks Joe for the answer. The thing is I'm interested in finding the cause of this issue first. I have installed quite a few apps in Vista. So before I re-install the OS, I want to make sure the error is indeed related to Rootkit. And Windows 7 is like new-and-improved-Vista, god knows if there are same problems related to HDD thrashing in 7 like Vista (in case the problem is not due to Rootkits)...
 
Joe Ess
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Ankit Garg wrote: The thing is I'm interested in finding the cause of this issue first..


Bah! I've never met a problem that a format couldn't fix!
 
Ankit Garg
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Well I formatted it once when I changed from 160GB to 1TB. A fresh installation is behaving like this so I'm sure another format won't change much. If this is an issue with Vista, then I might go for Windows 7. I just don't want to waste my money in Windows 7 if its not much better than Vista. I'm more worried about the HDD's health than the performance, I don't want my 1TB to fail like the 160GB...
 
Joe Ess
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Ankit Garg wrote: I just don't want to waste my money in Windows 7 if its not much better than Vista..


Ask your employer for an MSDN subscription. That's what I did.
How much RAM does your machine have? How much free memory once everything starts up?
 
Ankit Garg
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I'm a freelancer, so no employer :-)

I have 2GB RAM, generally more than 1GB RAM is free. I've not changed the Page File size, its what Windows set it i.e. approx 2GB. My 160GB also started to fail in similar fashion, it used to have 100% HDD activity for small periods but in just 2 days it became a permanent thing. As I write this the problem on my 1TB is increasing, it has 100% activity for 15 minutes now (and for 15-20 seconds every now and then), the system is almost unresponsive during that time...
 
Peter Johnson
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After an initial install of either Vista or Win7, the indexing service scans the hard drives building it index. It takes it a while, and it is supposed to be indexing only when you are doing anything (which usually means you are not typing or moving/clicking the mouse). I wonder if this could be the activity you are seeing.

Once the indexing is finished, disk activity should return back to "normal," which in Windows means "more than what you would like."
 
Ankit Garg
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Well as I said, I disabled Indexing Service (and any other services which I thought might be the culprit).

Once the indexing is finished, disk activity should return back to "normal," which in Windows means "more than what you would like."

I read everywhere that windows hogs the HDD too much, more than anyone would like, but 15 minutes of continuous 100% activity is going over my head. I'm upgrading to Win 7, even if it doesn't solve the HDD issue, its a better OS I think. I'll post an update here after upgrading...
 
Vijitha Kumara
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How many times you formatted the new disk? Isn't it worth reformatting it completely and try reinstalling the OS again (you may have tried it many times )? I have Vista & Fedora both in 160 GB with not much of a problem, though I don't use Vista much
 
Ankit Garg
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Well I bought the 1TB due to lack of space. So its filled with things I need, I can't delete the partitions as they have important data. I'm hoping Win 7 upgrade will help otherwise I'm screwed and I might do
 
Janeice DelVecchio
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I gotta say, if it's worth anything... I had a laptop that came with Vista. It ran bad and sluggish...

I upgraded to 7 and it solved a bunch of the issues I had. I love windows 7.

Then again, you can always go Linux... Ubuntu is sweet.
 
Ankit Garg
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I've upgraded to Win 7, disabled all services like Indexing, Superfetch etc. There is still HDD Thrashing but not as much as before. All I can say right now is I'm not going to throw my computer out of the window.

Now I know why people hate Vista, it is indeed a crappy OS...
 
Maneesh Godbole
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You could have saved yourself all this trouble if you had opted for Ubuntu in the first place
It has everything Windoze has to offer...and much more. Yeah and no viral troubles.
 
Ankit Garg
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Maneesh Godbole wrote:You could have saved yourself all this trouble if you had opted for Ubuntu in the first place
It has everything Windoze has to offer...and much more. Yeah and no viral troubles.

I'm not that familiar with Linux, and I'm not really sure if I can run all my windows apps on Linux (I know WINE can do this but I'm not familiar with it). If it is easy to run windows apps on WINE, I'll install Linux on my Laptop (if not that I'll downgrade to XP soon )...
 
Maneesh Godbole
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You don't need to run your Windoze apps on Ubuntu. What's the point? Ubuntu already has Linux replacements. e.g M$Office->Open Office
If you can list down all the apps you want I am sure you will find the corresponding replacements.
Give it a try. I am sure you wont regret it.
http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop/features
 
Eric Pascarello
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Ever think it was an issue with the hard drive and not the OS?

I use spinrite http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm to deal with hardrive issues. Saved my butt a few times on my drives and friends' drives.

Eric
 
Joe Ess
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Maneesh Godbole wrote:You could have saved yourself all this trouble if you had opted for Ubuntu in the first place


I'm as big a fan of Ubuntu as one can be, but I am very cautious about recommending it to people. Most Windows users want their computers to "just work" and when they say "just work", they mean "work like the Windows computers I'm used to using at home and at work". Though Linux has made strides in usability in recent years, it is still not "like windows" and I don't think it should be.
Where's Ankit? I want to know how the upgrade went!
 
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