Hard Disk Loads Windows and Programs Incredibly Slow - SATA

As the title says, I've got a Western Digital HD. It's a WD6400, 500gb hard drive. I've been recently looking into other similar problems with slow load times, windows loading very slowly, etc caused by the hard disk, and found that changing the plug that the drive is plugged into on the motherboard usually fixes the issue. So, I did this, and the computer loaded phenomenally fast; like it should. After playing a game for a while, I started having these odd freezes; any time the CPU demand increased. I then noticed longer load times again, and finally the inability to fully load the game (it loads between games).

As well, one of the big symptoms that was apparent in all these other threads was that the drive loads for a second, then ceases to load for minutes, then continues again.

I then restarted, and the long load time had come back.

I've looked everywhere for solutions, and I can't find any.

As well, I also saw that it might be running in PIO mode instead of DMA, but I was unable to find the properties under the Device Manager to change the setting. I'm currently running:

Nvidia GT 430, 1GB
4x1GB RAM
ASUS Motherboard (Unsure of model etc, came with this HP Pavilion)
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600@2400MHz
Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB SATA

I'm really at a loss for what I can do other than replace the HD, which is out of the question for the moment. Switching the cords to another Master SATA port doesn't work anymore as it's already installed on all of the other ports now. Using one it was already on presents the same problem.

I forgot to mention, this is an older (a few years) computer that I've updated with a newer video card and a new copy of Vista. I can't afford W7, sadly. Some of the components were from an HP Pavilion, and I'm using that case, mobo and HD.

I know for a fact the issue is involving the HD, although I don't know what the solution is, or where the problem is specifically.

Thanks!
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More about hard disk loads windows programs incredibly slow sata
  1. Well, from your description it sounds like a cabling issue. You moved the cable to a different SATA port, but have you tried using a different cable?

    You might also try downloading and running a utility such as "DiskCheckup" that can report the SMART error counters from the hard drive. If the drive is showing errors reading or writing the platters than it's a drive problem, but if it's showing SATA errors then it's a cabling problem.
  2. sminlal said:
    Well, from your description it sounds like a cabling issue. You moved the cable to a different SATA port, but have you tried using a different cable?

    You might also try downloading and running a utility such as "DiskCheckup" that can report the SMART error counters from the hard drive. If the drive is showing errors reading or writing the platters than it's a drive problem, but if it's showing SATA errors then it's a cabling problem.

    I just downloaded and ran DiskCheckup, and I've posted the results. I'm not sure what they mean, so I'll get you to help me out there. I've also reinstalled the most updated version of Intel Storage Manager which seemed to be the plug and play driver of the drive itself (it reinstalled after uninstalling it), and the load times have gone back to normal. However, I experience microstuttering in video games, now. I'm not sure if it's the drive dying, or if it's something else.

    This is what I've got back, I'm not really sure what to make of it.:

    [cpp]*** DiskCheckup V3.1 Build: 1000 Report ***

    SysInfo DLL Version: SysInfo v1.0 Build: 1014
    Time of export: 03:54:17 05-Sep-2011

    Device information:
    Device ID: 0
    Interface: RAID
    Device Capacity: 610477 MB
    Serial Number: WD-WCASY0987203
    Model Number: WDC WD6400AAKS-65A7B0
    Firmware Revision: 01.03B01
    Partitions:
    C: 598926 MB
    D: 11550 MB

    ATA information:

    Disk geometry:
    Cylinders: 77825
    Tracks/Cylinder: 255
    Sectors/Track: 63
    Bytes/Sector: 512
    Total disk sectors: 1250263728
    Logical sector size: 512
    Physical sector size: 512
    Media rotation rate: N/A
    Buffer size: 16384 KB
    ECC size: 50 Bytes

    Standards compliance:
    ATA8-ACS Supported: Yes
    ATA/ATAPI-7 Supported: Yes
    ATA/ATAPI-6 Supported: Yes
    ATA/ATAPI-5 Supported: Yes
    ATA/ATAPI-4 Supported: Yes
    Serial/Parallel: Serial
    SATA 3.0 Compilance: No
    SATA 2.6 Compilance: No
    SATA 2.5 Compilance: Yes
    SATA II: Ext Compilance: Yes
    SATA 1.0a Compilance: Yes
    ATA8-AST Compilance: No
    World Wide ID: 50014EE256FB2D65

    Feature support:
    SMART supported: Yes
    SMART enabled: Yes
    SMART self-test supported: Yes
    SMART error log supported: Yes
    LBA supported: Yes
    IORDY supported: Yes
    CFast supported: No
    DMA supported: Yes
    Maximum Multiword DMA mode supported: 2
    Multiword DMA selected: None
    Maximum UltraDMA mode supported: 6
    UltraDMA selected: 6
    Maximum PIO mode supported: 4
    SATA Compliance: Yes
    NCQ priority information supported: No
    Unload while NCQ commands are outstanding supported: No
    Phy Event Counters supported: Yes
    Receipt of power management requests supported: No
    NCQ feature set supported: Yes
    SATA Gen2 Signaling Speed (3.0Gb/s) supported: Yes
    SATA Gen1 Signaling Speed (1.5Gb/s) supported: Yes
    Software Settings Preservation: Supported, Enabled
    In-order data delivery: Not supported
    Initiating power management: Supported, Enabled
    DMA Setup auto-activation: Supported, Enabled
    Non-zero buffer offsets: Not supported
    Trusted Computing supported: No
    Host Protected Area (HPA) supported: No
    Read look-ahead supported: Yes
    Read look-ahead enabled: Yes
    Write cache supported: Yes
    Write cache enabled: Yes
    Power management supported: Yes
    Security mode supported: No
    Device Configuration Overlay (DCO) supported: Yes
    48bit Addressing supported: Yes
    Auto Acoustic Managment (AAM) supported: Yes
    Auto Acoustic Managment (AAM) enabled: Yes
    Recommended AAM level: Minimum acoustic emanation level
    Current AAM level: Minimum acoustic emanation level
    Power-up in Standby (PUIS) supported: Yes
    Power-up in Standby (PUIS) enabled: No
    Advanced Power Management (APM) supported: No
    CompactFlash Association (CFA) supported: No
    General Purpose Logging (GPL) supported: Yes
    Streaming supported: No
    Media card pass through supported: No
    Extended power conditions supported: No
    Extended status reporting supported: No
    Write-read-verify supported: No
    Free-fall control supported: No
    TRIM command supported: No
    SCT command transport supported: Yes
    NV Cache enabled: No
    NV Cache Power Management supported: No

    SMART ATTRIBUTES:
    ID Description Status Value Worst Threshold Raw Value TEC
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1 Raw Read Error Rate OK 184 184 51 311350 N.A.
    3 Spin Up Time OK 156 155 21 5158 N.A.
    4 Start/Stop Count OK 98 98 0 2756 N.A.
    5 Reallocated Sector Count OK 200 200 140 0 N.A.
    7 Seek Error Rate OK 200 200 51 0 N.A.
    9 Power On Time OK 88 88 0 9309 N.A.
    10 Spin Retry Count OK 100 100 51 0 N.A.
    11 Calibration Retry Count OK 100 100 51 0 N.A.
    12 Power Cycle Count OK 98 98 0 2191 N.A.
    192 Power off Retract Count OK 200 200 0 170 N.A.
    193 Load Cycle Count OK 200 200 0 2756 N.A.
    194 Temperature OK 108 101 0 39 C N.A.
    196 Reallocation Event Count OK 200 200 0 0 N.A.
    197 Current Pending Sector Count OK 200 200 0 2 N.A.
    198 Uncorrectable Sector Count OK 200 200 0 2 N.A.
    199 UltraDMA CRC Error Count OK 200 200 0 0 N.A.
    200 Write Error Count OK 179 179 51 2779 N.A.

    [/cpp]
  3. It looks to me like you've got a problem drive, judging from the values shown for counters like "Raw Read Error Rate", "Write Error Count", etc. The "Current Pending Sector Count" shows that you have sectors that the drive hasn't been able to read at all.

    In the situation you're describing I think I'd buy a new drive and transfer everything to it.
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