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Hard disk stuttering / slowing down

Last response: in Storage
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October 2, 2012 12:53:30 PM

Hello everyone, this is my first post here, I've searched for my problem around the forums, but found nothing, I'm sorry if it's solved and I haven't noticed it.

I've had this problem for about 2-3 months now and it's driving me mad. All the games have a random stutter (1-5 seconds freeze) when something new should be loaded (even some small critter), regardless of the graphic quality settings, even games from the 90's (Diablo 2). It also happens when I play ".avi" files, but not with ".mkv" and ".wmv" files.

I've noticed that during these freezes, processor usage drops significantly (sometimes even to 0%). At first I thought that it could be processor or graphics related so I updated all of my drivers but that changed nothing at all. Then I made a clean install of my Windows 7 x64 Home Premium only to find the stuttering waiting for me there again :??: 

I started suspecting the HDD and made a simple test. I played the same .avi file from the DVD player and it ran smooth like it should.

I've run chkdsk /f /r. I've scanned for bad sectors with third party software, there are none.

However, HDTune Pro (trial) shows these warnings:
- Reallocated Sector Count (35 35 10 1340) warning
- Reallocated Event Count (100 100 0 286) warning

the numbers are for: Current | Worst | Threshold | Data.

Also, the weirdest part is that while I run the error scan option of HDTune, the stuttering disappears completely!
I mean the HDD runs like it should, no stuttering, no freezing, games load faster and the FPS are like they should be - quite high and fluid! Once the scan is over - it's back again.

My laptop is HP Pavilion DV6 6135dx.

-CPU: AMD A8-3500m @ 1.5 Ghz w/Turbo Core up to 2.4Ghz
-Memory: 6GB 667mhz
-Graphics: AMD Radeon 6620G integrated graphics
-Graphics 2: AMD Radeon 6750m dedicated graphics
-Hard Drive: 640gb 5400rpm HDD
-Screen: 15.6" 1366x768
-Optical Drive: Blu-ray
-HDD: 640 GB TOSHIBA MK6476GSX ATA8-ACS | SATA II | UDMA 5 | 5400 RPM |Sector size 512 bytes

OS: Windows 7 x64 Home Premium, the partitions are Dynamic, if that makes any difference.
C: "Programs" 100 GB /67.5 free || F: HP_TOOLS 100 MB || K: "Multimedia" 495 GB / 390 free


So, my question is this: What can I do to make the stuttering disappear completely so I don't have to run HDTuner Error Scan every time I want to play a game or play some .avi files? :) 

Thanks in advance, every tiny bit helps.

Cheers! :hello: 
a c 79 G Storage
October 2, 2012 3:58:41 PM

The drive may indeed be starting to fail, and never forget that all hard drives will fail eventually, it is only a matter of time (heck, even drives only a few weeks old have been known to fail).

You need to test the drive with the manufacturer's DOS-based diagnostic software which runs from a bootable CD (you can't test a system drive properly with any Windows-based software).

"SeaTools for DOS" can test any brand of drive. Get it here: http://www.seagate.com/support/downloads/seatools/

Then install "IMGBurn" from here: http://www.filehippo.com/download_imgburn/

Use IMGBurn to create a CD from the SeaTools ISO CD Image file.
Now boot your PC from that CD (you may have to set "CD/DVD drive" as the first boot device in BIOS Setup if your system ignores the CD during boot up).

I left the most important bit till last - back up all your data to another drive or optical discs as soon as possible, preferrably before testing.
a b G Storage
October 3, 2012 4:13:59 AM

I would possibly replace the hard drive. You have bad sectors and the hard drive is running into errors that is more then what the drive can handle. Better to back up any data and clone the drive if possible. If you don't have a recovery or an OS disk to reinstall windows you'll need to have cloning software to keep your OS, otherwise you'll be spending money on a OS as well.
!