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Hard drive light stays on and system slow

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January 1, 2010 10:21:01 AM

I have an issue with my Hard drive light staying on and my system is really slow. This has only happened recently and I am not sure what is causing it.
I have a SATA drive as boot drive (250gig) and I had an old 40gig drive for data from yonks ago. I though the data drive was failing so I replaced it with another 250gig drive but after a few minutes the red light came back on and the system lagged again.
I have set the boot sequence to the sata drive followed by rom and turned off the IDE drive. Still did not fix. I have checked all the cables and they are connected and not that old.
Any ideas??[
a b G Storage
January 6, 2010 6:55:53 AM

Are you able to test the drive on another computer? Based on the pattern you've shared I'm assuming there's an issue with your motherboard.
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May 13, 2010 10:02:24 AM

I have exactly the same issue, started last week. I have Windows 7 installed on a reasonably new 7,200rpm 500Gb 2.5" SATA drive in my laptop. Was working perfectly and now suddenly I have this issue. The hard drive light stays on permanently after start up and the computer is very slow, but I don't think there is any drive activity. Task manager shows no processes using CPU or Memory extensively, and resource monitor shows very low disc write/reads.

Problem does not occur during safe mode, or booting a different windows install (on a different drive).
Problem does occur when booting without loading startup programs. I guess this narrows it down to being a driver or a service?

I have performed full virus scan, defragmentation and error checks on the disc, all finding no problems.

Does this seem to match your symptoms deliriumdave?

Does anyone have any ideas, or know of any tools that may be able to diagnose or fix this problem. Failing this i guess I will be re-installing the OS.
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May 14, 2010 2:39:46 PM

I have found what seems to be a solution!

What seems to have been the problem is errors on the hard disc (file system I guess). I downloaded and ran the bootable SeaTools for DOS which was able to find and repair a number of disc errors. The computer is no longer slow after boot and the hard drive light does not stay on!

My computer seems to be running slightly slower, but this is probably the result of endless tweaking I did, and reverting to older drivers etc!

Hope this helps!
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August 2, 2011 8:04:09 PM

This is an old thread but it still comes up near the top of Google rankings for "HD light stays on" so I'll post my solution. My HD light was on continuously. My boot drive is a SSD and I was worried about that... and my other drives... but no amount of disk fixing made the light go off. No errant processes were showing in the task manager. At some point, though, I noticed my DVD drive was no longer showing up in explorer. When I disconnected it, the HD drive light went off. So now I have to replace the DVD drive, which is easy.

I was not noticing a performance hit, so this is not necessarily the same problem as the original poster on this thread. BUT... if you came here because your HD light is on all the time, check your peripherals and try disconnecting them. Obviously (from my experience) it is possible for something like a bad CD-ROM or DVD drive to make the HD light stay on, something I would not have previously guessed.
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August 20, 2011 4:28:42 PM

If the hd led stays light it is possible that you have installed a JMicron RAID driver.If you try to uninstall it nothing changes.So try to use the windows system restore at the point you installed it and the problem is fixed.
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August 22, 2011 3:22:44 AM

I tried the SeaTools for DOS solution that "lukeguk" recommended and it worked for me. (Thanks lukeguk!)

For 3 months I suffered with all of the problems and symptoms other users described. I would restore a known good image of my C: drive, which had only my operating system and programs, and the symptoms would disappear for anywhere from an hour to a week, and then they would reappear. After trying numerous other possible solutions, I was on the verge of giving up and buying a new computer.

Finally I downloaded SeaTools for DOS and created a bootable CD. I ran the "short" test on my C: drive and in 7 seconds got an error message stating that the drive had problems and should be replaced. (Other HD test software had not revealed a problem.)

Since I was 2 years into a 5 year warranty, Seagate replaced the drive and my problems have disappeared. BTW, I believe SeaTools for DOS will work on any brand of hard drive, not just Seagate hard drives. (Fortunately I had reliable OS images and backkups, so I didn't lose any data.)
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October 28, 2011 7:55:59 AM

rdewey said:
This is an old thread but it still comes up near the top of Google rankings for "HD light stays on" so I'll post my solution. My HD light was on continuously. My boot drive is a SSD and I was worried about that... and my other drives... but no amount of disk fixing made the light go off. No errant processes were showing in the task manager. At some point, though, I noticed my DVD drive was no longer showing up in explorer. When I disconnected it, the HD drive light went off. So now I have to replace the DVD drive, which is easy.

I was not noticing a performance hit, so this is not necessarily the same problem as the original poster on this thread. BUT... if you came here because your HD light is on all the time, check your peripherals and try disconnecting them. Obviously (from my experience) it is possible for something like a bad CD-ROM or DVD drive to make the HD light stay on, something I would not have previously guessed.


I think the DVD drive not working well is the culprit in my situation too!!
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December 1, 2011 3:13:11 PM

deliriumdave said:
I have an issue with my Hard drive light staying on and my system is really slow. This has only happened recently and I am not sure what is causing it.
I have a SATA drive as boot drive (250gig) and I had an old 40gig drive for data from yonks ago. I though the data drive was failing so I replaced it with another 250gig drive but after a few minutes the red light came back on and the system lagged again.
I have set the boot sequence to the sata drive followed by rom and turned off the IDE drive. Still did not fix. I have checked all the cables and they are connected and not that old.
Any ideas??[


I had the same problem and I discovered that the Windoes SEARCH program was indexing every time I tried to run a program. That meant it was taking 2-3 minutes for the program to begin -VERY annoying. So I switched off indexing on all drives and that solved the problem. Right click on the drive in My Computer and uncheck the 'Index this drive' box. Reboot.
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December 26, 2011 3:38:37 PM

Mine was doing the same thing. Found that I had Windows backup (wbengine) turned on. Try turning automatic backup off. If light starts acting normally, go into the backup settings and change it so only backs up at a time when you are now using it like 3 in the morning. Worked for me.
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January 14, 2012 11:05:01 PM

rdewey said:
This is an old thread but it still comes up near the top of Google rankings for "HD light stays on" so I'll post my solution. My HD light was on continuously. My boot drive is a SSD and I was worried about that... and my other drives... but no amount of disk fixing made the light go off. No errant processes were showing in the task manager. At some point, though, I noticed my DVD drive was no longer showing up in explorer. When I disconnected it, the HD drive light went off. So now I have to replace the DVD drive, which is easy.

I was not noticing a performance hit, so this is not necessarily the same problem as the original poster on this thread. BUT... if you came here because your HD light is on all the time, check your peripherals and try disconnecting them. Obviously (from my experience) it is possible for something like a bad CD-ROM or DVD drive to make the HD light stay on, something I would not have previously guessed.


Thank you, thank you, thank you. This was driving me mad. The solution was so simple. I just ejected the SD card (was in there after downloading all the photos from the camera and had not bothered removing the SD card althoug had finished using it days ago). The light immediately went out. I am so thankful.

I tried stopping services, using ResMon, A/V scans, checking my startup items and nothing worked. Such a simple solution.
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July 28, 2012 9:59:18 PM

Thank you to all. I have been plagued for a year or more by intermittent hard drive freezes. I have been trying to find some systematic way to troubleshoot this nuisance. Happening on this forum, I absorbed as much as I could grasp and first tried unchecking fast indexing with no change. Intending to work my way through the methods described here, I first tried unplugging a portable hard drive I have constantly hooked to a USB port. Somewhere in one of the tips here it suggests that or similar. Well, bingo, the problem cleared up just like that. Relatively speaking, the performance in high level image editing is light years better. Perhaps my stand-alone usb hard drive (a good make which I use for backup) needs a new driver or its frequent habit of going to sleep was the issue. In any event, I am so pleased. I recall in the past having plucked astute advice from Toms Hardware. This is an invaluable service and an example of real community at work. I am getting elderly, have limited resources and do some photography as a hobby. So much appreciated. Frank
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March 31, 2013 7:01:02 PM

try leaving the battery out for a couple of days
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August 29, 2013 9:16:41 AM

rdewey said:
This is an old thread but it still comes up near the top of Google rankings for "HD light stays on" so I'll post my solution. My HD light was on continuously. My boot drive is a SSD and I was worried about that... and my other drives... but no amount of disk fixing made the light go off. No errant processes were showing in the task manager. At some point, though, I noticed my DVD drive was no longer showing up in explorer. When I disconnected it, the HD drive light went off. So now I have to replace the DVD drive, which is easy.

I was not noticing a performance hit, so this is not necessarily the same problem as the original poster on this thread. BUT... if you came here because your HD light is on all the time, check your peripherals and try disconnecting them. Obviously (from my experience) it is possible for something like a bad CD-ROM or DVD drive to make the HD light stay on, something I would not have previously guessed.


Thank you for this post. Was really struggling with what was wrong. Unplugged the CD-Rom and now back to normal.
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October 20, 2013 7:31:57 AM

lukeguk said:
I have found what seems to be a solution!

What seems to have been the problem is errors on the hard disc (file system I guess). I downloaded and ran the bootable SeaTools for DOS which was able to find and repair a number of disc errors. The computer is no longer slow after boot and the hard drive light does not stay on!

My computer seems to be running slightly slower, but this is probably the result of endless tweaking I did, and reverting to older drivers etc!

Hope this helps!

Same issue, Sony Vaio laptop 2 yrs old, HDD LIGHT on solid and the laptop is painfully slow! My wife is so done with this thing.

Turned off file indexing and got a slight performance gain, but not even close. Removed the optical drive, no improvement. Nothing but the power cord is plugged in.

Then I tried chkdsk /r, I didn't want to pony up $90 for Spintire just yet. Found 8 bad sectors involving some system files! 44kb in bad sectors with a few system files having been repaired, but now it is working like a champ!!! I'm so happy! Thanks for the tips, everyone.
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November 18, 2013 10:26:29 AM

rdewey said:
This is an old thread but it still comes up near the top of Google rankings for "HD light stays on" so I'll post my solution. My HD light was on continuously. My boot drive is a SSD and I was worried about that... and my other drives... but no amount of disk fixing made the light go off. No errant processes were showing in the task manager. At some point, though, I noticed my DVD drive was no longer showing up in explorer. When I disconnected it, the HD drive light went off. So now I have to replace the DVD drive, which is easy.

I was not noticing a performance hit, so this is not necessarily the same problem as the original poster on this thread. BUT... if you came here because your HD light is on all the time, check your peripherals and try disconnecting them. Obviously (from my experience) it is possible for something like a bad CD-ROM or DVD drive to make the HD light stay on, something I would not have previously guessed.


Thank you so much for posting this. This has been driving me mad for some time! I too noticed that sometimes my DVD drive wasn't showing up in explorer, but never connected that to my 'hard drive' troubles. I had been been cursing my hard drives and RAID for a while now. Glad I looked up the problem on the off chance of finding a cure :) 
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November 24, 2013 6:01:58 AM

rdewey said:
This is an old thread but it still comes up near the top of Google rankings for "HD light stays on" so I'll post my solution. My HD light was on continuously. My boot drive is a SSD and I was worried about that... and my other drives... but no amount of disk fixing made the light go off. No errant processes were showing in the task manager. At some point, though, I noticed my DVD drive was no longer showing up in explorer. When I disconnected it, the HD drive light went off. So now I have to replace the DVD drive, which is easy.

I was not noticing a performance hit, so this is not necessarily the same problem as the original poster on this thread. BUT... if you came here because your HD light is on all the time, check your peripherals and try disconnecting them. Obviously (from my experience) it is possible for something like a bad CD-ROM or DVD drive to make the HD light stay on, something I would not have previously guessed.


Great solution even 2 years later, what a simple fix. My light just starting staying on constantly and bogged the whole laptop down to a painful crawl. All I did was open the DVD drive , presto light went out and I went right back to normal operation.
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January 15, 2014 11:13:51 AM

I had the same issue but my solution was to remove the SD adaptor from the front of the laptop. It seems that the computer was searching for the card when none was installed.
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March 30, 2014 12:09:51 PM

lukeguk said:
I have exactly the same issue, started last week. I have Windows 7 installed on a reasonably new 7,200rpm 500Gb 2.5" SATA drive in my laptop. Was working perfectly and now suddenly I have this issue. The hard drive light stays on permanently after start up and the computer is very slow, but I don't think there is any drive activity. Task manager shows no processes using CPU or Memory extensively, and resource monitor shows very low disc write/reads.

Problem does not occur during safe mode, or booting a different windows install (on a different drive).
Problem does occur when booting without loading startup programs. I guess this narrows it down to being a driver or a service?

I have performed full virus scan, defragmentation and error checks on the disc, all finding no problems.

Does this seem to match your symptoms deliriumdave?

Does anyone have any ideas, or know of any tools that may be able to diagnose or fix this problem. Failing this i guess I will be re-installing the OS.


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May 20, 2014 7:39:51 AM

Had the same problem... but none of the solutions here seemed to fit.

My solution was to reconnect my DVD drive (no optical drives were connected).

For some reason Win7 was locking the hard drive light on for prolonged amounts of time... and in doing so locking up the system. It didn't help that it was a very fast SSD.

I had disconnected both internal optical drives as I suspect the BluRay is stopping the system from booting intermittently.

Win7 seems to be expecting at least one optical drive... and went looking for them.

My system is a X8 Phenom CPU, 8 GB DDR, DVD & Bluray and an Asus M5 A97 R2.0 motherboard with graphics card.

There seems to be nothing wrong with the hard drive or the SATA driver (that I can determine).
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June 28, 2014 10:32:11 AM

I know that this is an old tread but I am not running MS Windows but a flavour of UNIX586 called Linux Mint 16 MATE 64bit with 2GB of memory on a m2n68-la (Narra3) motherboard with the same WDC WD2500AAJS-60B4A0 (02.03A02) Hard-Drive and HL-DT-ST DVD-RAM GH15L (RA02), have not had the problem while running Ubuntu 12.04LTS or any orther flavout of Linux from Linux Mint 13 to Linux Mint 15 but the problem rears it's ugly head with Linux Mint 16 Petra 64bit and I thought that it was ether the kernel or the SATA driver, should I try and install the Linux version of Nvsata or should I stick with what I have got or is it terminal.
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July 28, 2014 10:20:16 AM

Thank u so much u just saved me a lot of ime and effort. Disconnected my dvd and laptop became normal in a jiffy

rdewey said:
This is an old thread but it still comes up near the top of Google rankings for "HD light stays on" so I'll post my solution. My HD light was on continuously. My boot drive is a SSD and I was worried about that... and my other drives... but no amount of disk fixing made the light go off. No errant processes were showing in the task manager. At some point, though, I noticed my DVD drive was no longer showing up in explorer. When I disconnected it, the HD drive light went off. So now I have to replace the DVD drive, which is easy.

I was not noticing a performance hit, so this is not necessarily the same problem as the original poster on this thread. BUT... if you came here because your HD light is on all the time, check your peripherals and try disconnecting them. Obviously (from my experience) it is possible for something like a bad CD-ROM or DVD drive to make the HD light stay on, something I would not have previously guessed.


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July 29, 2014 4:28:51 AM

talalmah123 said:
Thank u so much u just saved me a lot of ime and effort. Disconnected my dvd and laptop became normal in a jiffy

rdewey said:
This is an old thread but it still comes up near the top of Google rankings for "HD light stays on" so I'll post my solution. My HD light was on continuously. My boot drive is a SSD and I was worried about that... and my other drives... but no amount of disk fixing made the light go off. No errant processes were showing in the task manager. At some point, though, I noticed my DVD drive was no longer showing up in explorer. When I disconnected it, the HD drive light went off. So now I have to replace the DVD drive, which is easy.

I was not noticing a performance hit, so this is not necessarily the same problem as the original poster on this thread. BUT... if you came here because your HD light is on all the time, check your peripherals and try disconnecting them. Obviously (from my experience) it is possible for something like a bad CD-ROM or DVD drive to make the HD light stay on, something I would not have previously guessed.




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July 29, 2014 4:29:29 AM

Thank you Initated I think that I might get rid of my Rewriter or replace it but when moved to the other SATA2 or SATA3 then it is not detected at all by Linux Mint 17 MATE 64bit (Qiana)
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