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Computer just slowed way down

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by ThinkOfTheChildren, Aug 13, 2005.

  1. ThinkOfTheChildren

    ThinkOfTheChildren C.E. Moderator

    May 2, 2000
    Ok, I'm stumped. Starting recently (maybe a week or so ago) my system starting slowing way down. I checked all the usual stuff: running processes, spyware, adware, virii, ram use, etc etc etc. Even checked CPU and HDD temps. Everything appears normal from a diagnostic point. But in real use it's nasty. Songs and videos are skipping and lagging because the computer doesn't seem to want to keep up. I defragged both my primary and secondary HDD and that seemed to help but hasn't put my performance back to where it used to be. As I type this I'm listening to music that is skipping out (the songs are fine) and my CPU use is showing only 21% and ram commit charge is only 648/2928.

    Now, I noticed that reading and writing to my second HDD seems worse than on my primary (they used to be equal) and I'm wondering if this could be indicative of a HDD that is about to fail. Any thoughts?!?!? I just got this HDD less than a year ago so I'd hate to think it's crapping out on me.

    Please advise me on some things to try so that I might be able to nail this problem down.

    Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, the ONLY thing that I changed on my system recently was to start using a USB card reader. I even stopped using that fearing that there was some remote chance that the machine just wasn't playing nice with it, but it made no difference once gone.
  2. AZ-Boog


    Apr 19, 2002
    Chandler, Arizona
    system specs??

    Intel P4??

    If so it may be throttling back because of a temp. issue.

    Check your cpu temps.

    If ok, remove all recently installed hardware devices and see if things improve.

  3. Tennessee Slim

    Tennessee Slim Señor Member CLM

    Apr 14, 2004
    Mucus City, USA
    Do you have any system functions writing to that secondary HDD or apps installed on it? If the answer is no, I doubt that that’s the cause. If that answer is yes, that could well be your culprit.

    I ask it that was because, if I’m running 2 (or more) HDDs, I always move the page file and temp directories to the alternate HDD(s). If that were the case, a decay in performance of the 2nd HDD definitely would impact the overall performance of the system. If that's not the case, I'd run a backup NOW and have a replacement handy for my primary HDD.
  4. This anti virus program has the best detection of any I've tried.It's good to install and run in your system.
  5. ThinkOfTheChildren

    ThinkOfTheChildren C.E. Moderator

    May 2, 2000
    Pentium 4 @ 2.41 GHz which is reading 35 degrees celsius.
    Secondary HDD is showing a temp reading of 38 celsius.
    1 Gig of onboard ram
    WinXP Pro
    Page file is 2 gigs and yes, it is on the secondary HDD.

    All of my multimedia is also on the secondary HDD, which is another reason I thought it might be the culprit. None of it will play as well as it used to.

    I will move the page file to the primary drive and see if I can notice a difference in performance.

    What kind of diagnostic tools can I run to find out if the secondary HDD is, in fact, failing or dying?

    (And again, it's definitely not a virus or spyware issue. I maintain my system fairly well: even give the registry a regular cleaning.)
  6. ThinkOfTheChildren

    ThinkOfTheChildren C.E. Moderator

    May 2, 2000
    Ok, I just moved the entire page file to the primary drive, rebooted, and now I'm seeing a night and day difference. My computer is back to its top performance level. Multimedia runs fine off of the secondary HDD, but it concerns me that the performance of the drive started suffering.

    How seriously should I consider this drive on its way to the grave? The drive has way too much to be able to back-up onto writeable media (over 200 gigs of data). I don't want to send it in for warranty with all my crap on it, and I really don't want to have to spend the money to buy another hard drive to grab all the stuff off this one :(

    I just bought this secondary HDD a couple months ago (maybe a year... can't remember) to replace a really old HDD that crapped out on me. It's a Western Digital and they have never given me a problem before.
  7. *
    Restart in Safe Mode
    (Warning - Colors will look wierd in safe mode and everything will be bigger, it will go back to nomral when you are done.) You may have to rearrange your icons, but everything will be there.
    o Use the mouse to press the START button on the task bar
    o Select SHUTDOWN
    o Select RESTART. Windows will shut down and you will see a black screen with white text or a logo.
    o Press F8 every second or two until you see a menu
    o Select SAFE MODE and press ENTER.
    Disable your screensaver
    o Right click on the desktop.
    o Select PROPERTIES
    o Select the SCREENSAVER tab.
    o Select None from a drop down list on the left labled Screensavers.
    o Press the Apply button and then the OK button
    Run the hard drive checker:
    Press the Windows Start Button
    Double click on My Computer
    Right click on your C drive.and select Properties
    Click on the Tools tab.
    In the Error Checking section click on the Check Now button.
    Do not place checks in either checkbox:
    to automatically fix errors or scan bad sectors
    If the hard drive checker finds one or two problems, let it fix them. If this happens often, you have a power, software or hardware problem. Do not ignore it, have it looked at.
    When the hard disk checker finishes close it.
  8. ThinkOfTheChildren

    ThinkOfTheChildren C.E. Moderator

    May 2, 2000
    Thanks for the programs, D.C.
    I ran HDTune for benchmarks and got these values:

    Primary HDD:
    Transfer Rate Minimum : 25.0 MB/sec
    Transfer Rate Maximum : 47.2 MB/sec
    Transfer Rate Average : 39.2 MB/sec
    Access Time : 14.2 ms
    Burst Rate : 78.4 MB/sec
    CPU Usage : 7.5%

    Secondary HDD:
    Transfer Rate Minimum : 2.9 MB/sec
    Transfer Rate Maximum : 3.1 MB/sec
    Transfer Rate Average : 3.1 MB/sec
    Access Time : 21.1 ms
    Burst Rate : 3.1 MB/sec
    CPU Usage : 99.7%

    As you guys can see, the secondary is clearly sloooow. It used to perform identically to the primary.
    I ran just about every one of those other programs and they all say that the health of both drives is good and that neither one has any problems according to all SMART data, etc. No errors are found on the drives either.

    So wtf is going on then???

    Any ideas? Why would the secondary HDD suddenly and permanently drop down to less than 10% of what its performance should be? And why is it taxing the CPU so much when it tries to transfer?
  9. ThinkOfTheChildren

    ThinkOfTheChildren C.E. Moderator

    May 2, 2000
    Ok, ran their diagnostic tools and it still says all is fine. Couldn't run the "thorough" check because it said it would take 24 hours and while it was running the computer slowed to a crawl. I can't afford to have this machine out of use for 24 hours for what will probably amount to another claim that everything is "fine."


    Unless anyone can give me any other ideas to run with in the next couple days, I'm just going to go for the WD "Advance RMA" in which they send me the replacement drive before I have to send in the defective one. I get 30 days which will be more than enough time to dump everything off of this one onto the replacement.

    Hell, I even tried a different IDE cable on the off chance that was the problem. I'm stumped.
  10. If your drives are IDE switch them from Cable Select to Master and Slave.Also take a look at your bios and see what it says there.If they are SATA drives set both as Master and let the bios sort them out.From the way your system is described I'm guessing they are IDE drives.
  11. ThinkOfTheChildren

    ThinkOfTheChildren C.E. Moderator

    May 2, 2000
    Fixed it!

    Windows had changed the slave drive from DMA to PIO. I read up and it's apparently a known issue when there are x number of errors when using the drive. I had to uninstall the IDE controller in the Device Manager so that it would reboot, reinstall, and re-detect DMA.

    All is fine now :cool:
  12. mcole


    Jan 20, 2001
    i would suspicion that the one hard drive is going out. there are some diagnostic programs -- that can tell you if it is a hard drive problem -- can't remember what they are now though but you can do a google search for such programs.
    particularily if the various "detector" type programs are finding nothing. this happened to me a year or so ago; had to replace the hard drive and all was well again.
    just a curiosity, you might have windows do a search on both drives for a file titled; botzor.exe. one of the latest virii and attaches itself the the windows host file i believe.
    edited to add: well, sounds like you have solved it.