Sluggish performance on a SATA SeaGate Drive

About a year ago, I started receiving odd blue screens of death. I noticed that the the computer (excluding the cursor) would freeze, and a whooshing noise followed by a beep would occur before a blue screen would appear. This issued happened randomly at about intervals of once every 3 months.

One day, windows finally shed light on what happens with the drive. After sending an error, a web page came up that told me that the drive times out. Why does this happen do?

After it continued to happen persistently in one August day, I decided to collect information on the problem:

Before every blue screen, problems related to the hard drive are repeatedly recorded in event log. One of them is "An error was encountered while doing a paging operation", followed by "Device 0 [which is the hard drive] did not respond within the timeout limit.

Although the option for DMA is selected in device manager, the Primary IDE channel (where the hard drive is hooked to) is running in PIO mode. I cannot figure out how to change it.

The number of reallocated sectors (aka, the number of bad sectors) is at 434. It was at 350 back in August 18th :O.

Using HDTune, the hard drive's reading speed is measured at no more than 5 MB/s average, while the average reading speed is only 4 MB/s.

Most of the time, and specially when doing hard drive intensive operations (like defragging, for example), the processor usage shoots up to 50% due to "System Interrupts". I've tried to figure out their meaning, but I can't understand it at all.

My computer takes almost 6 minutes to boot up into a usable state. Even then, it is extremely slow. It takes about 30 seconds to open internet explorer.

Using HDGuru's MHDD, I had extremely fast response on the blocks of memory, and an average speed of more than 100,000 kb/s. Using HDScan (which runs IN windows) I saw the same results for the verify test. When I ran the read test however, I got a speed of no more than 4 MB/s and a response time of about 50ms on most blocks of memory.

During my analysis, I used SeaTools (the OFFICIAL disk testing utility for SeaGate hard drives) to test the drive. I used both the DOS (that runs from a floppy) and the windows version (which runs IN windows). The DOS application passed both (Short DST and long) tests quickly and effectively.

The windows version only officially passed the short test however. After leaving the long test on for more than an hour, with barely any progress made, I was prompted with a dialogue box saying that it was taking too long and that I could abort it. And so I did.

Right now I'm stompped. I don't know what to make of this information. I will contact SeaGate soon for their opinions, but could you guys please give me yours first? Thanks a lot

Here's some noteworthy SMART information on the drive:

NOTE: not all warnings are reflected on fitness and performance overall values as relevancy is based upon the settings from the hard disk manufacturer who is the best entity deputed to define such relationships.

NOTE : your hard disk has 434 reallocated sectors (this value is very large and your hard disk should be replaced). Hard disks do have spare sectors (usually from 256 up to 1024) used to replace bad ones. This remapping operation is transparent to the end user. Anyway, this can lead to degradated performances (because remapped sectors are in different places of the disk than the original ones and the head needs additional moving). If reallocated sectors grow over time, you might encounter some serious troubles. A backup of the most important data is suggested anyway.

NOTE : your hard disk Power On Hours Count attribute current value (95) is below the normal range (97 - 100) reported for your specific hard disk model. Basically your hard disk was powered on for more than the maximum time the average user did. This means that either all of the reports collected are from hard disks that were not powered on for too long (this is realistic for recent models) or that your hard disk is becoming old. Usually this is not considered as a pre-failure advisory, but you should check whether you want to replace the hardware or keep an eye on its performances over time.

NOTE : your hard disk Power Cycle Count attribute current value (96) is below the normal range (100 - 100) reported for your specific hard disk model. Basically your hard disk was power cycled more times than the maximum number the average hard disk was. Power cycles put some stress on the hard disk mechanic. Sometimes power cycles can be caused by a loose hard disk power connector. Make sure it is properly fastened.

The overall fitness for this drive is 13%.
The overall performance for this drive is 97%.
The link to get back and see a new report about this hard disk in the future is this. Consider that new hard disks and new checks are added over time.

And computer information:

Intel Desktop Board D945GPM, Intel Pentium D CPU (3.00GHz), Speed: Slow :S, 2.00 GB RAM, 250 GB Seagate SATA II Hard Drive.
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More about sluggish performance sata seagate drive
  1. Your drive cannot be trusted -- it has far too many bad sectors. I would replace it.

    As for your PIO mode problem, Windows XP will downgrade a drive's performance from DMA mode to PIO mode if it detects more than 6 CRC errors.

    DMA Mode for ATA/ATAPI Devices in Windows XP:

    DMA reverts to PIO:
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