I have a Toshiba Satellite L355D, Vista, about 5 years old, and if I leave it off (sleep mode, hibernate, shut down) for more than a half hour or so, when I turn it back on the computer will constantly be accessing the HD. If I leave it for 10-20 minutes it will finish what it is doing and the light will only come on every few seconds. While it is doing this, the hard drive light will be on almost constantly. It really bogs down my PC and would be really nice if someone knew how to fix it.
I think in Vista, the hibernate option is no longer available and has been replaced with Sleep.
If your desktop has been put to sleep (no pun intended), Sleep saves the data to your hard drive, which can be accessed again when the computer is turned back on.
I just updated my dad's 5-year-old Vista laptop to Windows 8 Pro ($40 digital upgrade) and it's working much better.
He had a Hard Drive issue I couldn't solve where it was very slow. It took 7 minutes and 40 seconds to do a REBOOT. Now it takes about 60 seconds.
If interested, here are some tips:
1) You MUST get the 32-bit version if you have 32-bit Vista or 64-bit version of W8 Pro upgrade if you have 64-bit Vista.
2) You will NOT keep any applications so you will need to reinstall them (and save all your data).
3) To install you do this:
- go online and follow the instructions to buy and download the IMAGE
- BURN the Windows 8 Pro upgrade image to a DVD
- Install W8 Pro
- get START8 to replace the Start Menu (Stardock for $5)
My dad's laptop is running much snappier. He was initially going to get an SSD to replace his HDD but it works so great now he's not bothering.
He, like myself, attempted to use the new Windows 8 Start Screen but we both gave up.
*EXPIRY for the special price upgrade to W8 Pro is January 31st 2013.
3GB's of RAM is not really much by today's standards.
It could also be that most of the available RAM is used by other System Resources and the HDD is is being throttled by the pagefile due to low memory.