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SSD System Drive, HDD Data - W7 64Bit reinstall, HDD slow to start

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  • SSD
  • Storage
  • Hard Drives
  • Windows 7
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a b G Storage
a b $ Windows 7
December 4, 2013 2:47:52 AM

sounds like power management issue of the drive? is indexing on? try putting your power setting into high performance, make sure the disk, or the display never hibernate or go to sleep. use a program like slimdrivers to see if everything is up to date, run the usual virus scans. chkdsk for errors on both drives, turn off pagefiling off the ssd if its on...de fragment off on the ssd (no schedule). idk whathink of for now, other than try re installing windows again, and if it happens still it might be hardware or BIOS related somehow..
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December 4, 2013 8:24:53 AM

Indexing is on but minimal, restricted to the SSD. Hiberation is disabled, high performance on (monitor goes off after a while but no sleep). HDDs take this long to start up every time they've been left unused for a fairly short while.

Pretty sure I have all the updated drivers. Have an image of basic drivers + updates setup, but think this problem was here from the more or less the start. It's a clean install, with avast protecting (though may switch back to Avira if I go back to image), so viruses/malware shouldn't be a problem. Did a bit of fiddling with settings before I started installing programs though, so might have messed something up - might disabling prefetch and superfetch completely be resposible? Looking to see if symptoms sound familiar to anyone in case it's a pretty simple thing. Finding it hard to google for.

Here are system details, in case it's any use:

MB: Zotac H55-ITX-CE
CPU: Intel Core i5 661
RAM: 2x 2GB Kingston D3-1333
Graphics card: Radeon HD5770
System drive: SSD (80GB) Intel X25m-G2
Data drive (internal): HDD (1TB) WD10EARS
Data drive (external): HDD (2TB) WD My Book 1130
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December 5, 2013 9:58:14 PM

One other oddity - when I 'search programs and files' in the Start menu, it won't look in the internal or external HDD at all - if I search for a file I know is in either data drive it just tells me nothing had been found. I always had Windows Indexing/Search completely disabled on my previous Windows 7 installation (just used Locate32) so unfamiliar with it, but I think it's supposed to search everything, right? This ring any bells as to what my problem might be as it might be connected?

To briefly clarify the situation - the machine used to have a 500GB internal HDD. I removed this and replaced it with a 1TB HDD I had been using as an external data drive before. I am also using a 2TB external HDD, the configuration of which has been unchanged since before I reinstalled.

Trying to access a file from either the internal or external HDD under my previous W7 installation took a couple of seconds if the drive had been inactive for a while. Now that takes much much longer - explorer freezes up as the drive whirrs into action, and the file is often unaccessible for 10-15 seconds.

Physical errors with the drives are extremely unlikely as it's happening to both and both were fine a week or two ago. Malware, etc is very unlikely as it's a fresh install, well protected. I think it has to be something quite basic in the settings that I've changed, or perhaps in the BIOS when setting up AHCI to be on?

Any ideas very gratefully received!
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Related resources
December 6, 2013 6:37:44 AM

Does anyone know of a forum that deals with similar HDD problems but is a bit less swamped than this one?
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a c 268 G Storage
a b $ Windows 7
December 6, 2013 8:03:19 AM

BiffoGZ said:
Does anyone know of a forum that deals with similar HDD problems but is a bit less swamped than this one?


You might give Intel Tech Support a call.

Yogi

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December 6, 2013 8:07:43 AM

I don't think it's a hardware problem. Everything was working fine before the Windows reinstall. Or do you think something like this could only be a hardware problem?

Y0GI said:
BiffoGZ said:
Does anyone know of a forum that deals with similar HDD problems but is a bit less swamped than this one?


You might give Intel Tech Support a call.

Yogi



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a c 268 G Storage
a b $ Windows 7
December 6, 2013 8:14:47 AM

BiffoGZ said:
I don't think it's a hardware problem. Everything was working fine before the Windows reinstall. Or do you think something like this could only be a hardware problem?

Y0GI said:
BiffoGZ said:
Does anyone know of a forum that deals with similar HDD problems but is a bit less swamped than this one?


You might give Intel Tech Support a call.

Yogi





Like you, I doubt that it is a hardware problem. Prolly a Windows setting or a BIOS setting.

Yogi

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December 6, 2013 9:58:55 AM

Y0GI said:
BiffoGZ said:
I don't think it's a hardware problem. Everything was working fine before the Windows reinstall. Or do you think something like this could only be a hardware problem?

Y0GI said:
BiffoGZ said:
Does anyone know of a forum that deals with similar HDD problems but is a bit less swamped than this one?


You might give Intel Tech Support a call.

Yogi





Like you, I doubt that it is a hardware problem. Prolly a Windows setting or a BIOS setting.

Yogi



Cheers, that's what I was thinking. I've messed something up in the installation or set-up I think, and it surely has to be something simple as I've not done much, but can't figure it out at all! Do you think Intel would be much help if software is the issue?

Actually, I've just checked out my old internal data drive, and that's 7200rpm 16MB cache 500GB. The one in there now is 5400prm 64MB cache 1TB. That probably makes a noticeable difference in the time it takes the drive to awaken into loading something, right? Seems to take an awful lot longer now though.

Apologies to you and Beezy if I was a bit abrupt earlier, this is about the fifth unexpected problem with this reinstall and I've been irritated!
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a c 268 G Storage
a b $ Windows 7
December 6, 2013 10:17:15 AM

BiffoGZ said:
Y0GI said:
BiffoGZ said:
I don't think it's a hardware problem. Everything was working fine before the Windows reinstall. Or do you think something like this could only be a hardware problem?

Y0GI said:
BiffoGZ said:
Does anyone know of a forum that deals with similar HDD problems but is a bit less swamped than this one?


You might give Intel Tech Support a call.

Yogi





Like you, I doubt that it is a hardware problem. Prolly a Windows setting or a BIOS setting.

Yogi



Cheers, that's what I was thinking. I've messed something up in the installation or set-up I think, and it surely has to be something simple as I've not done much, but can't figure it out at all! Do you think Intel would be much help if software is the issue?

Actually, I've just checked out my old internal data drive, and that's 7200rpm 16MB cache 500GB. The one in there now is 5400prm 64MB cache 1TB. That probably makes a noticeable difference in the time it takes the drive to awaken into loading something, right? Seems to take an awful lot longer now though.

Apologies to you and Beezy if I was a bit abrupt earlier, this is about the fifth unexpected problem with this reinstall and I've been irritated!


I think that Intel TS is worth a call. They should have a lot of experience with such issues.

Yes, a 5400 RPM drive will have longer access times but it should not be 10 sec.

No apologies necessary. I didn't notice anything to take offense at.

Yogi

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December 6, 2013 11:41:43 AM

Y0GI said:
BiffoGZ said:
Y0GI said:
BiffoGZ said:
I don't think it's a hardware problem. Everything was working fine before the Windows reinstall. Or do you think something like this could only be a hardware problem?

Y0GI said:
BiffoGZ said:
Does anyone know of a forum that deals with similar HDD problems but is a bit less swamped than this one?


You might give Intel Tech Support a call.

Yogi





Like you, I doubt that it is a hardware problem. Prolly a Windows setting or a BIOS setting.

Yogi



Cheers, that's what I was thinking. I've messed something up in the installation or set-up I think, and it surely has to be something simple as I've not done much, but can't figure it out at all! Do you think Intel would be much help if software is the issue?

Actually, I've just checked out my old internal data drive, and that's 7200rpm 16MB cache 500GB. The one in there now is 5400prm 64MB cache 1TB. That probably makes a noticeable difference in the time it takes the drive to awaken into loading something, right? Seems to take an awful lot longer now though.

Apologies to you and Beezy if I was a bit abrupt earlier, this is about the fifth unexpected problem with this reinstall and I've been irritated!


I think that Intel TS is worth a call. They should have a lot of experience with such issues.

Yes, a 5400 RPM drive will have longer access times but it should not be 10 sec.

No apologies necessary. I didn't notice anything to take offense at.

Yogi



I'm based in Asia and the tech support likely isn't in English here. Not ever called tech support for anything before, usually can muddle through somehow. Used to work in tech support myself briefly, quite a long time ago.

So why do you reckon the problem is with the CPU or the SSD? And which one should I be asking about, if I had a number to call.
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a c 268 G Storage
a b $ Windows 7
December 6, 2013 12:03:03 PM

I don't think that the problem is with the CPU nor the SSD but rather the MB BIOS settings or Windows settings and I feel that Intel is the best source of a solution as it relates to the SSD and the SSD installation.

Yogi
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January 24, 2014 9:20:26 AM

Have you tried installing Intel RST(rapid Storage Technology) 10.6 or latest to identify your drives are in working order? Usually the case here would be that your HDD may be failing.

* BiffoGZ - how about now, does it work?
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January 25, 2014 10:24:42 PM

Reply

Y0GI said:
I don't think that the problem is with the CPU nor the SSD but rather the MB BIOS settings or Windows settings and I feel that Intel is the best source of a solution as it relates to the SSD and the SSD installation.

Yogi


Well, I gave up on doing anything about the issue for the past few weeks, but I have time now to revert to a bare Windows install image (or do a full reinstall if necessary). If possible, I'd like to find out what's causing the issue first though, so I can make sure it doesn't appear again. I contacted Intel as you suggested Y0GI, and as expected (after a few mails back and forth to get them to understand what the issue was) was eventually told:

"As much as I wanted to help but my support is limit to the SSD."

i.e. no help. My intial post seems to be missing, so to quickly recap my problem:

I used to have Windows 7 and Windows XP dual-boot on my machine (coming up to 3 years old). I never used Windows XP, and things were getting creaky, so decided to reinstall just Windows 7, and this time save an image of the clean install.

My internal storage consisted of an Intel 80GB SSD system drive and a 500GB HDD Data drive. I changed the 500GB HDD for a 1TB one that had seen a little use as an external drive (but not much). There were no other physical changes. I also have a 2TB external drive connected via USB 3.0.

After reinstalling Windows 7, both the internal and external HDDs take far longer than before to 'wake up' when I try to access them after they've been inactive for a while. Windows Explorer freezes up as the drive whirrs into action and it takes roughly 7 seconds for files on the internal drive to become accessible and 13 seconds for the external (just timed it!). Prior to the reinstall these both took just a couple of seconds.

The only (I think) change I made in the BIOS was to configure the SATA drives as AHCI rather than IDE which they had been previously (because I had been under the impression XP would not work properly if they were configured as AHCI).

Lutfij - I installed the latest Intel RST (12.9) as you suggested. It tells me everything is functioning normally (though it only seems to look at the two internal drives). I can't find any way of testing either HDD via this program. Once the drives 'wake up' there are no further issues with them, and neither had any issue at all prior to the reinstall and change to AHCI.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what might be causing this problem before I go back to the bare install? System details are below. Thanks!

MB: Zotac H55-ITX-CE
CPU: Intel Core i5 661
RAM: 2x 2GB Kingston D3-1333
Graphics card: Radeon HD5770
System drive: SSD (80GB) Intel X25m-G2
Data drive (internal): HDD (1TB) WD10EARS
Data drive (external): HDD (2TB) WD My Book 1130

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January 25, 2014 11:43:00 PM

Whats preventing you from performing a clean install altogether?

Intel RST informs you of when your drive is failing. I had a clients rig also show a message at startup but he didn't pay heed to it. Now he's left in downtime while his office machine awaits my attention :) 

You didn't state whether you changed the BIOS sata port settings while windows 7 was active or prior to install of OS? Since Win XP 64 bit's release, you had to use AHCI on your mobo otherwise it wouldn't allow you to install(as far as memory serves me).

Perform clean install with only your SSD attached to the first sata port(should be port 0). Install essential drivers first like the mobo chipset, AMT and then proceed with the onboard drivers like the audio and NIC and gradually work your way up by adding drives. Leave the external out of the equation and see if things hold up. Usually slow data speeds mean something is slowing your machine or a hardware is failing. Between the former and latter, there can be a number of variables like memory and ports since Zotac seemed to have an issue with QC, last I checked.

Post back with your results. I'd also ask you to post your ram timings and voltages in BIOS since Zotac itx boards are/were notorious for being overvolted.
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January 26, 2014 1:59:11 PM

Well, I was hoping to avoid a clean install as last time it took in the region of 6 hours to download and install all the various updates, but if you reckon it's necessary...

I think I changed to AHCI on BIOS after the install - if my scrawled notes are correct, I then used Microsoft Fixit 50470, then installed the relevant Intel drivers. I think I found a couple of webpages with instructions that were more or less the same for that and just followed those.

I'd normally install the drivers, essential software, etc from one of the HDDs - would sticking them on a USB flash drive be fine and not interfere? And I'd normally do the Windows updates before the drivers - should I do the drivers first this time?

I'm also keen to get Reflect (for clean install backup) and security software (not trusting being connected to Chinese internet for any length without it) on ASAP - is it fine to also do this as soon as the drivers are installed? Or would Windows firewall be enough for the time being?

Pictures of the relevant (and one perhaps not) BIOS screens below - everything look ok there? Still humming and hawing over whether to stay with Avast or revert back to Avira - will get down to it once I've made up my mind! Thanks.








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January 26, 2014 11:28:43 PM

1|
Quote:
I think I changed to AHCI on BIOS after the install
This was your first offence. Never change anything regarding drive layout/settings in BIOS after an OS install. Set them before OS install and in your case leave them at AHCI mode no matter what! :) 

2| Power down your machine and look at the stickers on your rams sticks. There should be an indication of the ram voltages. Once noted set that voltage in your BIOS. It'd also be a good idea to manually input your ram timings in BIOS for a good number of reasons but will detail them for you later. I'd also ask you to input your voltages on the Vcore, PCH and VTT manually. Auto settings tend to assign high voltages to your parts so they run stable but what this high voltage does is it kills your components slowly and over time it fails.

On a side note: you may want to look into this if your machine is more of an HTPC/office machine.

3| Loading/installing drivers off of a USB drive is perfectly okay - go ahead!

4| The idea of going through the procedure is to help you understand that it takes just a few clicks to get where you are and that the time your rig is down is most critical. If you're someone who uses his rig for multi tasking and project related works, then you'll also appreciate the need for a paid antivirus solution over a free one.

5| You're not using your discrete GPU?
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January 27, 2014 12:44:40 AM

1) Fair enough! Voltage etc can be changed afterwards though, right?

2) Will do this after I send this message - my machine is housed in a very compact small form factor box (Silverstone Sugo SG05) so even something as simple as this requires physically removing the hard drives and the front panel; quite the pita. It's my primary home machine - I just like the portability of that form factor. The most intensive thing I do on it is occasionally play Saints Row 3 and the like, and it coped well enough with these until quite recently - I assumed the deterioration in performance was due to the usual Windows wear and tear after 2+ years of use.

What should I set the PCH voltage to? The rest I don't think I can do; options for adjustments on this BIOS are very limited Will put up current RAM timings in next post. Just realised too there's an update for the BIOS, so guess I should flash that (though all it says it does is "Add support on "Multi Display Adaptor " - Integrated Graphic + Add-On Display Card, .Add support on PCI-E (x1) Cards - TV Card, RAID Card" - don't think I need any of that).

3) Good to know.

4) I've never had a paid anti-virus and have never had a serious infection. For the past couple of years I've been using Avira in conjunction with Comodo Firewall, but discovered on reinstall that the new version of Comodo's firewall is rubbish. Going to just stick with Windows Firewall (though with an additional utility to give me full control over outgoing connections) this time, with Winpatrol for HIPS. Changed from Avira to Avast for a number of reasons not worth going into here but might go back. Also use Noscript, etc in browsers, or Comodo Dragon if that's too awkward (visitors using it for example), don't install Java, and generally play quite safe. Use regularly updated on-demand scanners (e.g. Malwarebytes) every week or two, never find anything much besides the odd low-level PUPS or adware.

5) The monitor is running through it and 3D games have never been a problem, so assume so. What makes you think otherwise?

Cheers!
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January 27, 2014 12:58:12 AM

Your BIOS screenshot shows you're using the onboard GPU and have set aside 128MB of ram space towards that endeavor that's why I asked. If you have your discrete GPU plugged in then you should disable onboard graphics.

IGD graphics mode select > Disable

You can set voltages after you've finished with OS install on the SSD. I mentioned the voltages since I noticed they were off by a good margin. Later dug this up to confirm that they were. You have voltages capable of pushing your rig near a 4.4GHz mark(add a grain of salt to that number).

After you have your OS and drivers installed. Tweak your system to get teh lowest possible voltages and maintain stability to have a fully optimized rig and forget about it as you work on it.
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February 10, 2014 3:18:00 PM

Sorry about the long delay, had a number of complications, plus Chinese New Year brought distractions...

Anyway, up and running now, and the basic situation is that the internal HDD springs into action nice and promptly, so that's solved (though I'm unsure exactly how). Unfortunately the external HDD seems just as sluggish to get started as it was before, but that's not a huge problem as it's mostly just used for backups and storing video files. I'm quite sure it was 'waking' more quickly before though - is 15+ seconds what you'd expect from a WD MyBook connected via USB3?

Before I started the reinstall, I flashed the BIOS update, which turned out to contain more changes than advertised - recommended if you have this motherboard. I also then tried restoring the image of the fresh Windows 7 install I had made in December. It seemed fine and, to my surprise, the internal HDD no longer lagged in waking up! I'm not at all sure how to explain this (as it was happening from the start the last time) - maybe the BIOS update did something? Yet I'd never had this issue in the previous 2.5 years.

After turning off the IGP, I pressed ahead with a fresh install anyway, following this guide designed for those with SSDs and HDDs - so first Windows, then the drivers (including Intel RST), and then the Windows updates. After all this was done and I had installed security software, I saved my new image, plugged in the internal HDD, and the problem with slow waking was still gone.

I did have some issues that forced me to restore the image a few times before I figured them out though. These were connected to with installing Intel RST this time. For the benefit of anyone who might be in my situation, don't disable IAStorIcon from the start menu! And especially do not install MagicDisc (a freeware multiple DVD drive emulation utility) as this seems to irreparably destroy the installation! I had always used it before I had Intel RST on the system without a hitch. Anyway, there's another freeware program I found called WinCDEmu that does the same job almost as well.

The external HDD is still very slow in waking, but it seems to be the same now when connected to the netbook. I'm keen to hear any ideas on that. I tested it with HDDScan, seemed fine, graph below:



I haven't touched the BIOS yet, but I'm not sure there's much I can do. The RAM sticks say 1.5v, but is set in BIOS to 1.56v and while I can increase the voltage in increments of .02v, I can only decrease in .1v increments! Seems ridiculous, but there you go - should I leave it as is or go down to 1.46v?

Will paste below anything else I can change voltages on or that I might be able to make positive changes to - please let me know if you think there's anything I can adjust there and thanks again for the help!







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February 10, 2014 3:59:51 PM

If system holds its ground/own with those decreased voltages and there aren't any BSOD's then you're fine. IF they do go awol, then set them back up to 1.5v or the closest you can get to that mark. Its not like the Sandy Bridge chips where you'd need to keep a constant 1.65v max otherwise you'd risk frying your board and chip. If the rams you have are generic dimms, then best stick to auto settings but at the 1.5v as stated on the sticker.

I've gone ahead and edited your image tags :)  Should work for you now.

All mechanical drives have an actuating arm. When this arm comes out of idle or goes into it you'll hear it. The reason I mentioned the arm is because the drives suffer from mechanical wear and tear. Eventually the arm or the platters will give out and you're left with paper weight. In terms of physics nothing operates at 100% efficiency but always below it. You'll also notice a sudden burst in speed when moving data from drive to drive but it gradually drops as the PCH can't sustain those read/write speeds over a long period of time.

So with all that said and all that you've posted, all I can say in conclusion is that the components are merely showing signs of their age :)  could be good if you cut them some slack or find a home?

Your IGD is enabled in BIOS! Disable it if you're using discrete GPU.

AS far as voltages go within BIOS, I'd ask you to do some trial and error runs. If you notice BSOD'ing when setting a corresponding voltage down try uping it gradually until you've reached a voltage lower than before but maintaining performance on your system. It'd be a good idea to have paper and pencil at hand to take down notes.

Hope this helps?
:) 
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