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Hard Drive "Thrashing" on Vista Bootup

Last response: in Windows Vista
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January 27, 2008 6:17:33 PM

After booting to my desktop, which is not unusually long, my system is continuously accessing the hard drive for the first five minutes before it settles down. I have disengaged all start-ups to eliminate background applications but the rapid fire accessing still takes place. This occurs every time I boot or reboot. I am running Vista Business on a Thinkpad T60 with 2 gb RAM.

In previous versions of XP I remember going through a period of hard drive thrashing but such thrashing never seemed to stop. In this case the "thrashing" is over in about 5 five minutes (during which time the systems is sluggish) and everything is normal afterward. I have run registry scans, spyware scans and a variety of cleanups but nothing seems to eliminate the problem.

What should I be looking for and where should I look?
January 27, 2008 6:43:01 PM

i have the same problem, although its not on every startup. seems vista likes to do that. ive searched around the internet for a solution but i havent found any. sorry.
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January 27, 2008 7:10:18 PM

Vista indexes everything on your HDD by default. This is part of the new search functionality. You can turn it off in your Hard Drive preferences, but doing that cripples the search. Up to you.
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January 28, 2008 2:13:54 PM

It's just Vista saying hello to your hard drive. You probably have a 4200 RPM or 5400 RPM HD, so it is take a little longer. I tend to just turn on my computer in the morning and go take a shower and everything works out (except for the occasional ACPI error). Anyway, like the previous poster said, it's just indexing and starting up essential processes. I have a 10K RPM Raptor and it's a nice little drum roll while it starts up. Nothing to be scared of unless you're dropping and drop-kicking your laptop while it loads. :lol: 
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January 28, 2008 2:46:46 PM

Hard to say if it is indexing or not. My Vista system does not do this. It may have after first install. I can't recall. I index my entire system too.
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January 28, 2008 2:50:52 PM

I disengaged indexing shortly after buying the unit so I don't think that is the cause of all of the back and forth action. I realize that with a 5400 rpm drive it will take a little longer but boot time is reasonable. It is just the incessent drive hits after the desktop is settled down.

This situation didn't occur when I first started using the machine. Even with a long list of startups it didn't take this long to settle down.

While turning on the unit in the morning and letting it settle down works fine for a desktop machine it is not practical for laptop operation when you are on the go.
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January 28, 2008 3:34:39 PM

I think something is wrong. Possibly an installed app is misbehaving. Try hitting ctl+shift+esc to bring up a quick view of task manager. See what is using up the biggest resources.
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January 28, 2008 5:26:40 PM

From "Task Manager", select the tab "Performance", click on the button at the bottom and this will tell you who is using your HD. Click on the column's header to sort on "Read" or "Write".
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January 29, 2008 12:56:33 PM

I thought Vista loads your often used programs to memory when it boots. Mine certinaly has a lot of activity for the first few mins.
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January 29, 2008 7:58:05 PM

All you have had constructive suggestions, so I tried a more scientific approach. Your analysis would be helpful.

First, I turned off ALL startup programs, disconnected network and turned off wireless, and rebooted. From the time I hit the screen log until the "thrashing" stopped (which was an abrupt finish) it took 9:20 min.

Here is what I saw while watching the Disk information in Task Manager.

1. outlook.ost stayed at the top of the "Read" list for the longest period
2. Second longest consumer of read cycles was NTFS Master File Table

3. Pagefile.sys consummed much of the Write time
4. A System Vol Information (unknown) was a close second in writes

At times Read and Writes hit the top of the scale, i.e., off the charts.

Question: Why would Outlook.ost be running when the application had not been started?

Question: Should I be looking for another clue?

Once this 9+ minute thrash was completed the disk activity was only only on demand...only normal read/write hits.
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January 29, 2008 8:08:53 PM


- Disable Superfetch
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January 29, 2008 9:47:00 PM

1. Outlook.ost: Look like to be a offline database (google)? Did Vista crash? There are tools to reconvert it to a pst.
4. System Vol Information: System Restore - Everytime something change in Vista (Installing/uninstalling programs).

Did you find "Reliability and Performance Monitor"?

This is the same scenario after every boot???
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January 30, 2008 12:53:11 PM

The Outlook.OST is the offline Exchange DB (I am running Exchange as HTTP/RDP). It appears that even though the Outlook application itself is not running the prefetch is still moving things about.

Turning off Superfetch did in fact stop the OST handling but the thrashing goes on almost as aggressively for about 8 minutes. Turning off Superfetch changed the landscape so to speak but does not seem to be all of the answer.

I did find Reliability and Performance Monitor but not sure what to do with it.

And, yes, the same scenario after every reboot and restart.
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January 30, 2008 1:06:10 PM

It like Task Manager.

You should see groups like CPU, Hard Disk, Network, ...
You click on the header of Hard Disk and Vista will fetch all processes that have an open file. You can then click on the column's header to sort by Read or Write.
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September 19, 2008 7:00:57 AM

the problem is that vista uses the hard drives virtural memory more so then the system ram, so all you have to do is lower the virtual memory of the hard drive.. doing so will force the os to use the ram more conservingly and dump the not as important services and use the ram for more vital things and thus your hard drive will not be worked as hard.
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