is there any way to have some sort of hard drive monitor to see what is slowing it down?
-> Press Ctrl/Shift/Esc to open Task Manager.
-> Click the "Performance" tab.
-> Click the "Resource Monitor..." button
-> In Resource Montior, click the "Disk" tab.
-> In the "Processes with Disk Activity" pane, click the "Total (B/sec)" column to sort by total disk activity.
...the process with the highest B/sec is probably the culprit.