Need help - hard drive slowing down

Built a new system about one month ago and all was fine. Over the past few weeks have been loading the software.

Just recently I noticed the hard drive is now being accessed about once per second or two, even when idle. I submitted a post in the software section and it was suggested this was nothing to worry about, quite commen.

Now, I re-ran my benchmark tests and the hard drive is significantly slower then the original benchmark (by 50% on sequential read and about 30% on sequential write). It is a Seagate Barracuda SATA drive - ST3250820AS. I downloaded the Seagate SeaTool - this would not run from Windows (just kept aborting). Ran the DOS version from boot and it reports the drive is fine. Leading me to believe I have a set-up or software issue.

Please any help would be appreciated - this thing is getting really slow.
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  1. what software did you load
    did you install the proper IDE/SATA/mobo drivers
    did you use the latest of the said drivers
    did you try a BIOS update
    does the said drive exhibit the same problem in another system
    is the drive adequetly cooled
  2. Might not be a bad idea to do a spyware scan.
    Have you looked at your task manager to see if there is a particular process going wild?
  3. if you havent disabled drive indexing yet, you should probably do so, as thats known for accessing hdds on a regular basis like youre seeing (you should only leave it enabled if you search your hdd often)
  4. I will try to address the questions as posted;

    The proper drives and bios updates are installed. This was done immediately after getting my system to post and XP loaded. The only software I loaded since the problem began was Fresh UI (only ran this to make sure it worked, no changes made). I haven't tried the drive in another system but good idea - will try this over the weekend. The drive is adequately cooled - running around 28C.

    Ran Norton and Spybot - neither found anything. I did check to see what was running but nothing stood out but I admit I am not real familiar with all of the processes.

    I did disable the drive indexing but not change. Also tried disabling SMART in the bios but no luck.

    Thanks for the suggestions - any other ideas??
  5. I know this might be a silly question but as you make no mention of it, have you defragmented your hard drive since installing the OS and updates? I find that files get heavily fragmented during installation and if you have also installed lots of application.

    Try something like Diskeeper, which I've found does a faster better job that the Windows version and it's also gives you fairly detailed analysis of the state of the drive.

  6. Here's a few ideas:

    1) If your disk is more than 80% full it will get slower, so that could be an issue. In any case, you should delete what you don't need and defrag - that will put all of your files closer to the outside of the disk (which is faster)

    2) Fire up Task Manager and see what's running in the background

    3) Run msconfig and disable startup tasks you don't need

    4) Check for spyware / viruses
  7. All my computers hit the hard drive one a second, the program that does this is lsass.exe.
    It's part of windows security, and needs to run.

    But get rid of junk on your drive that you don't need and defrag, it should show an increase in speed.
  8. Check in Device Manager - Disk Controller, Advanced tab, Is running in DMA mode 5 or 6. Check Event Viewer for Errors on HD.

  9. OK, it is getting worse. I am now 180% slower than the original sequential read benchmark - noticably slower on applications load.

    I ran the Windows defrag and then did this again today using the suggested Diskeeper software - performance is actually worse - but not sure this is becuase of the Diskeeper.

    The drive is not full - 250MB capacity and using about 35MB.

    Other than Norton - no other background tasks are running except System tasks, and these are fairly minimal. Tried uninstalling Norton and but had no effect on hard drive performance.

    This is a SATA drive and running UDMA 6. No errors on hard drive. Didn't notice before but there is a speed check in the Device Manager for the SATA controller. My theoretical limit is 300 and actual is 123 burst and 8 sustained - doesn't look good.

    Thanks again for all the suggestions but still struggling here - may just get a new hard drive and start over but hate the thought of going through all the set-ups again.
  10. 8 Mb/s would explain a lot. Re-enable SMART in BIOS, it may give you an error message. Try a new data cable. Sounds like the drive is having to make multiple attempts to read data. Some Diag programs don't pick this up, if data is read eventually. Buy a new drive and clone present drive to new, some manufacturers provide utility software, or you can buy Ghost or Paragon Drive Backup. Old drive may still be under warranty, get it replaced.

  11. Just finished installing a new hard drive and everything is fine again. mike99 was correct. The diagnostics did not pick up the error but it sure was a drive problem. Now I get to spend tonight reinstalling and re-registering all the software.

    Many thanks to all those that offered suggestions and help - the fast responses were greatly appreciated. Hope I can return the favor some day!!
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