XP freezing during disk access


Problem noticed while running WinRAR about 1 week ago. Noticed the process kept halting while extracting to SATA WD 250 G (main) HDD; no problem when extracting to USB External HDD.
This progressed to file copies and significant halting during any ap during access to that HDD.
drives C,E,F).

Scanned with AVG, Stopzilla, Spybot and others, nothing found.

Tested HDD with WD Data Lifegaurd and with Checkdisk. No drive issues, not even 1 bad sector.

I have even checked Mb for bad capacitors

Finally I ran repair from the xp CD which should have replaced any corrupted windows files or registry entries.

After all that, same symtoms. By this point that is freezing during boot or any ap starting, it comes out of it eventually on it's own, no blue sceens, etc. Interestly network access, once window launched is not bad. Another example, start a stored vid playing: takes forever for VLC to launch, it studers a couple of times, than plays fine. But at times the whole system freezes for 2 minutes while CPU usage at 0 to 3 %. I have also seen it hang at 50% (dual core)

What should I do next? Shouldn't the disk diags I ran also tell me if I have a controller problem on the motherboard? Shouldn't xp repair have fixed all OS conflicts?


5 answers Last reply
More about freezing disk access
  1. Is the .rar full of very small file? If it is so then you will see significant slow down due to the same drive being read and write and HDD don't like small file due to seek latency. You mention extraction to external HDD is ok this is because your internal HDD is being read and external HDD is writing, the I/O is less congested.
  2. It was one medium file (100mb) on the .rar. After noticing the problem I tried it Sata to USB, USB to SATA, SATA to SATA, USB to USB. Wherever SATA involved there was halting regardless of direction. Also got halting for any action / application using SATA drive, winrar just a handy benchmarking tool - Thanks
  3. Yes, if that is the case, it is either your HDD is really fragmentaed, full, or your HDD is on its way out.
  4. Pyree said:
    Yes, if that is the case, it is either your HDD is really fragmentaed, full, or your HDD is on its way out.

    Hey Thanks all! I came to that conclusion and bought another disk drive and rebuilt (still adding back aps) everything is fine with the new system built on new drive (I thought there may be a controller problem on the mobo, but no). But if I access the original disk drive to do a copy or something things will slow way down. Fortunately I am still able to get anything off of it that was not already backed up.

    My conclusion is that the problem is in the electronics (the buffering maybe) of the drive. Checkdisk and the manufacturer's diags give the drive a clean bill of health. But maybe they use just use short data bursts which do not really excercise the buffering mechanism. If that sounds feasible or not, let me know.
  5. Well if it is a bad sata controller, I would suspect that the DVD drive wouldn't work (but then again I assume you use sata DVD drive). As to what part of the HDD is defective, it is possible that it is the circuit and not the disk. But I don't have the knowledge and tool to do a postmortem and the cause will remain a mystery. There is just too many things in there that will go wrong.
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