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Who's grinding my HD?! (Virtual memory?)

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Anonymous
June 28, 2005 12:04:12 PM

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support,microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

My computer is incerdibly slow, and the culprit seems to be excessive
HD use. Every action leads to seconds or MINUTES of drive-grinding that
keeps the system floundering and faltering.

Case study: Rebooted a few minutes ago, ran IE with 2 simple windows
and an email client (Thunderbird, not Outlook). Ad-watch and antivirus
present. Actual pagefile usage: between 22 and 95 MB, while there also
dozens MB's of free RAM. When I closed one of the IE windows, the HD
embarked on continous activity escapade that of course almost froze the
computer, for - after 90 seconds I stopped counting.

Besides, every explorer drag&drop, every Start menu browsing takes a
little too long for what I know I should expect from my configuration.

So how can I know who (or what) the hell is grinding my HD?

P4 2GHz with WinXP SP2 fresh-installed a few months ago, 256MB RAM,
normal basic home use (by my mom & dad..)

Thanks.
Anonymous
June 28, 2005 3:16:18 PM

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support,microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

Possible!

However you would still need to check the fololowing:

1) Try removing spywares/hackwares/malwares with

Ad Aware SE 1.06
Spybot: Search and Destroy 1.4
CWShredder

Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta

2) Check with an anti-virus program, with up to date definitions

3) Check and turn off system indexing service.


"Binba" <drorworld@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1119971052.748279.277630@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
> My computer is incerdibly slow, and the culprit seems to be excessive
> HD use. Every action leads to seconds or MINUTES of drive-grinding that
> keeps the system floundering and faltering.
>
> Case study: Rebooted a few minutes ago, ran IE with 2 simple windows
> and an email client (Thunderbird, not Outlook). Ad-watch and antivirus
> present. Actual pagefile usage: between 22 and 95 MB, while there also
> dozens MB's of free RAM. When I closed one of the IE windows, the HD
> embarked on continous activity escapade that of course almost froze the
> computer, for - after 90 seconds I stopped counting.
>
> Besides, every explorer drag&drop, every Start menu browsing takes a
> little too long for what I know I should expect from my configuration.
>
> So how can I know who (or what) the hell is grinding my HD?
>
> P4 2GHz with WinXP SP2 fresh-installed a few months ago, 256MB RAM,
> normal basic home use (by my mom & dad..)
>
> Thanks.
>
Anonymous
June 28, 2005 7:09:33 PM

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support,microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

Binba wrote:

> My computer is incerdibly slow, and the culprit seems to be excessive
> HD use. Every action leads to seconds or MINUTES of drive-grinding that
> keeps the system floundering and faltering.
>
> Case study: Rebooted a few minutes ago, ran IE with 2 simple windows
> and an email client (Thunderbird, not Outlook). Ad-watch and antivirus
> present. Actual pagefile usage: between 22 and 95 MB, while there also
> dozens MB's of free RAM. When I closed one of the IE windows, the HD
> embarked on continous activity escapade that of course almost froze the
> computer, for - after 90 seconds I stopped counting.
>
> Besides, every explorer drag&drop, every Start menu browsing takes a
> little too long for what I know I should expect from my configuration.
>
> So how can I know who (or what) the hell is grinding my HD?
>
> P4 2GHz with WinXP SP2 fresh-installed a few months ago, 256MB RAM,
> normal basic home use (by my mom & dad..)
>
> Thanks.
>

In addition to the other replies:

The hard drive might be in the early stages of failing. SOME motherbaord
BIOS will run a test at power on that will display an error message
before the operating system starts to load. Check the hard drive
manufacturer's web site to see if they have a non destructive test
utility. A deteriorating hard drive may also show errors during the scan
utility that comes with Windows or be extemely slow loading Windows.

A deteriorating hard drive may need multiple tries to succesfully read
data or application code from the disk. The operating system will try to
read the disk sector multiple times before giving up and generating an
error message. If this repetitive process occurs in very many hard disk
sectors, hard drive performance will be severely affected.
Related resources
Anonymous
June 28, 2005 8:10:59 PM

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support,microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

"Binba" <drorworld@yahoo.com> wrote:

>My computer is incerdibly slow, and the culprit seems to be excessive
>HD use. Every action leads to seconds or MINUTES of drive-grinding that
>keeps the system floundering and faltering.
>
>Case study: Rebooted a few minutes ago, ran IE with 2 simple windows
>and an email client (Thunderbird, not Outlook). Ad-watch and antivirus
>present. Actual pagefile usage: between 22 and 95 MB, while there also
>dozens MB's of free RAM. When I closed one of the IE windows, the HD
>embarked on continous activity escapade that of course almost froze the
>computer, for - after 90 seconds I stopped counting.
>
>Besides, every explorer drag&drop, every Start menu browsing takes a
>little too long for what I know I should expect from my configuration.
>
>So how can I know who (or what) the hell is grinding my HD?
>
>P4 2GHz with WinXP SP2 fresh-installed a few months ago, 256MB RAM,
>normal basic home use (by my mom & dad..)
>
>Thanks.

256 mb RAM is pretty marginal for Windows XP if you want to avoid
actual pagefile usage. You should consider upgrading to at least 512
mb and see if that helps with your concerns.

But first do the double and triple checks for viruses and spyware as
suggested by Yves Leclerc

Good luck


Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
--
Microsoft MVP
On-Line Help Computer Service
http://onlinehelp.bc.ca

In memory of a dear friend Alex Nichol MVP
http://aumha.org/alex.htm
June 28, 2005 8:34:57 PM

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support,microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

In news:1119971052.748279.277630@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com,
Binba <drorworld@yahoo.com> had this to say:

My reply is at the bottom of your sent message:

> My computer is incerdibly slow, and the culprit seems to be excessive
> HD use. Every action leads to seconds or MINUTES of drive-grinding
> that keeps the system floundering and faltering.
>
> Case study: Rebooted a few minutes ago, ran IE with 2 simple windows
> and an email client (Thunderbird, not Outlook). Ad-watch and antivirus
> present. Actual pagefile usage: between 22 and 95 MB, while there also
> dozens MB's of free RAM. When I closed one of the IE windows, the HD
> embarked on continous activity escapade that of course almost froze
> the computer, for - after 90 seconds I stopped counting.
>
> Besides, every explorer drag&drop, every Start menu browsing takes a
> little too long for what I know I should expect from my configuration.
>
> So how can I know who (or what) the hell is grinding my HD?
>
> P4 2GHz with WinXP SP2 fresh-installed a few months ago, 256MB RAM,
> normal basic home use (by my mom & dad..)
>
> Thanks.

Hmm... When was the last time the junk files were cleaned? How about also
forcing a chkdsk and doing a defrag when done with those three actions. Do
those help? Before you do so read some of the other posts, one of the
mentioned possible drive failure. If the BIOS and drives support SMART (and
they likely do) you can find various hardware monitoring applications
(freeware) at snapfiles.com if you'd like and check the drive's health
situation. If it seems at all likely that there's a problem with the drive
then stop using it immediately and replace it with a new one. It's then a
simple process to clone the old drive to the new one and saves you
potentially thousands of dollars to get someone to remove the platters from
your old drive, place them in a new temp case, and to recover your data for
you should the drive stop spinning up.

Galen
--

"But there are always some lunatics about. It would be a dull world
without them."

Sherlock Holmes
June 28, 2005 9:23:48 PM

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support (More info?)

Hello,
Microsofts minimum memory for XP is 128MB, but the truth is that XP will
benefit from all the memory you throw at it. A lot of people regard 256MB to
be the true base minimum memory that allows you to do anything remotely
useful with programs. Using Task Manager is not actually a very accurate
guide to how much memory you really need. For example I am typing this on a
laptop with 1GB of memory. All that is running is Outlook Express, Zone
Alarm and Pest Patrol. The Task manager says that 274MB of memory is in use
and there is no noticeable hard disk activity. From that one could conclude
that your PC would run the same configuration with 100% memory usage and
still will need to find 19MB by paging the hard disk. Of course the reality
is that sophisticated memory management in XP distributes the availible
memory differently between the process'that make up the operating system and
programs and your machine would run the configuration comfortably with
memory to spare. So can I suggest buying another 256MB of RAM or more if you
can afford it. You are very likely to see a substantial jump in performance
with 512MB

When you say your Actual pagefile usage is between 22 and 95 MB are you
saying that the system is set up via My Computer to use a minimum of 22MB
and a maximum of 95MB for the pagefile? If thats the case increase the
pagefile maximum up to 256MB. If you have a defragmenter program like
Diskeeper or Perfect Disk defrag your entire system, then set it to do an
offline defrag of your directories, MFT and most importantly your pagefile.
Finally click the start menu and then click Run. In the box type MSConfig.
On the startup tab note down on paper the names of everything with a check
mark beside it. Now uncheck all those items and reboot your PC. The MSConfig
dialogue will appear again on restart, but just cancel it. Now the $64,000
question is the PC any more lively?

Chelsea
Anonymous
June 28, 2005 9:23:49 PM

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support (More info?)

On my laptop I have 512 Mb of memory, but I too have the similar problem of
'grinding' and a huge pagefile. Sometimes its up to around 600mb! Is this
normal? Is it because I have too much software installed on my laptop? I am a
pretty serious PC user as I'm a motion graphics designer and video editor, so
I have Maya, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, After Effects, and a host of other
applications installed, all trying to run on a centrino 1.6ghz. Am I
overloading it?

"Chelsea" wrote:

> Hello,
> Microsofts minimum memory for XP is 128MB, but the truth is that XP will
> benefit from all the memory you throw at it. A lot of people regard 256MB to
> be the true base minimum memory that allows you to do anything remotely
> useful with programs. Using Task Manager is not actually a very accurate
> guide to how much memory you really need. For example I am typing this on a
> laptop with 1GB of memory. All that is running is Outlook Express, Zone
> Alarm and Pest Patrol. The Task manager says that 274MB of memory is in use
> and there is no noticeable hard disk activity. From that one could conclude
> that your PC would run the same configuration with 100% memory usage and
> still will need to find 19MB by paging the hard disk. Of course the reality
> is that sophisticated memory management in XP distributes the availible
> memory differently between the process'that make up the operating system and
> programs and your machine would run the configuration comfortably with
> memory to spare. So can I suggest buying another 256MB of RAM or more if you
> can afford it. You are very likely to see a substantial jump in performance
> with 512MB
>
> When you say your Actual pagefile usage is between 22 and 95 MB are you
> saying that the system is set up via My Computer to use a minimum of 22MB
> and a maximum of 95MB for the pagefile? If thats the case increase the
> pagefile maximum up to 256MB. If you have a defragmenter program like
> Diskeeper or Perfect Disk defrag your entire system, then set it to do an
> offline defrag of your directories, MFT and most importantly your pagefile.
> Finally click the start menu and then click Run. In the box type MSConfig.
> On the startup tab note down on paper the names of everything with a check
> mark beside it. Now uncheck all those items and reboot your PC. The MSConfig
> dialogue will appear again on restart, but just cancel it. Now the $64,000
> question is the PC any more lively?
>
> Chelsea
>
>
>
Anonymous
June 28, 2005 9:23:50 PM

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support (More info?)

Hi, PhilJ.

Graphics and video are notorious users of RAM and disk space! I am not a
heavy graphics user, but from what I hear, 512MB RAM is woefully inadequate
for your purposes. And 600 MB is NOT "a huge pagefile". The default
pagefile setting is 1.5 x installed RAM, plus a little more for overheard,
so it would be nearly 800 MB in your case.

The classic explanation of virtual memory was written by the late MVP Alex
Nichol:
Virtual Memory in Windows XP
http://aumha.org/win5/a/xpvm.php

For my own system (1 GB RAM, 1.6 GB page file), I let WinXP manage the page
file and it handles it very well. Go to System Properties | Advanced |
Performance / Settings and click Change. Set all drives to zero except the
one you want to use, then set that one to System managed size.

RC
--
R. C. White, CPA
San Marcos, TX
rc@corridor.net
Microsoft Windows MVP

"PhilJ" <PhilJ@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message
news:000B9B6B-7BB0-44E7-B779-7598B58A5191@microsoft.com...
> On my laptop I have 512 Mb of memory, but I too have the similar problem
> of
> 'grinding' and a huge pagefile. Sometimes its up to around 600mb! Is this
> normal? Is it because I have too much software installed on my laptop? I
> am a
> pretty serious PC user as I'm a motion graphics designer and video editor,
> so
> I have Maya, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, After Effects, and a host of other
> applications installed, all trying to run on a centrino 1.6ghz. Am I
> overloading it?
>
> "Chelsea" wrote:
>
>> Hello,
>> Microsofts minimum memory for XP is 128MB, but the truth is that XP will
>> benefit from all the memory you throw at it. A lot of people regard 256MB
>> to
>> be the true base minimum memory that allows you to do anything remotely
>> useful with programs. Using Task Manager is not actually a very accurate
>> guide to how much memory you really need. For example I am typing this on
>> a
>> laptop with 1GB of memory. All that is running is Outlook Express, Zone
>> Alarm and Pest Patrol. The Task manager says that 274MB of memory is in
>> use
>> and there is no noticeable hard disk activity. From that one could
>> conclude
>> that your PC would run the same configuration with 100% memory usage and
>> still will need to find 19MB by paging the hard disk. Of course the
>> reality
>> is that sophisticated memory management in XP distributes the availible
>> memory differently between the process'that make up the operating system
>> and
>> programs and your machine would run the configuration comfortably with
>> memory to spare. So can I suggest buying another 256MB of RAM or more if
>> you
>> can afford it. You are very likely to see a substantial jump in
>> performance
>> with 512MB
>>
>> When you say your Actual pagefile usage is between 22 and 95 MB are you
>> saying that the system is set up via My Computer to use a minimum of 22MB
>> and a maximum of 95MB for the pagefile? If thats the case increase the
>> pagefile maximum up to 256MB. If you have a defragmenter program like
>> Diskeeper or Perfect Disk defrag your entire system, then set it to do an
>> offline defrag of your directories, MFT and most importantly your
>> pagefile.
>> Finally click the start menu and then click Run. In the box type
>> MSConfig.
>> On the startup tab note down on paper the names of everything with a
>> check
>> mark beside it. Now uncheck all those items and reboot your PC. The
>> MSConfig
>> dialogue will appear again on restart, but just cancel it. Now the
>> $64,000
>> question is the PC any more lively?
>>
>> Chelsea
Anonymous
June 29, 2005 7:59:24 AM

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support (More info?)

Thanks everyone...
I'll get to work and go through this series of check as soon as I can.
I also started suspecting the HD itself.

As my topic suggests, isn't there any program like netstat, that can
monitor HD usage? So I can know what programs/processes are using my HD
at any given time?

Drew
June 29, 2005 2:25:49 PM

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support (More info?)

"PhilJ" <PhilJ@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message
news:000B9B6B-7BB0-44E7-B779-7598B58A5191@microsoft.com...
> On my laptop I have 512 Mb of memory, but I too have the similar problem
> of
> 'grinding' and a huge pagefile. Sometimes its up to around 600mb! Is this
> normal? Is it because I have too much software installed on my laptop? I
> am a
> pretty serious PC user as I'm a motion graphics designer and video editor,
> so
> I have Maya, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, After Effects, and a host of other
> applications installed, all trying to run on a centrino 1.6ghz. Am I
> overloading it?
>
Hello Phil,
R.C's reply about covers it. Creating motion graphics really requires a
heavy duty computer. The programs you are using are presumably not all
running simultaneously, but individually are real memory hogs. I must say
that running them on a laptop is not ideal,but you probably have your
reasons. There are hardware accelerators such as the Matrox Parahelia range,
but that requires a desktop PC. Some graphics people use 2GB or more of
memory, which is fairly inexpensive with a desktop PC, but is likely to be
expensive on a laptop.

Chelsea
June 29, 2005 4:59:37 PM

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support (More info?)

FileMon from Systernals http://www.sysinternals.com/Utilities/Filemon.html
tells you which files are being accessed for read and write operations. The
trouble is the number of files in use tends to be overwhelming as there are
so many. It is a free utility by the way, but instructions are a little
sparse.

Chelsea
June 29, 2005 11:56:15 PM

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support (More info?)

With a slow laptop w/ min RAM, you need to trim down your system for max
efficiency.

Do a Disk Cleanup, check every box. Make a new System Restore Point, then
rerun Disk Cleanup, go to More Options tab and purge all but the latest
restore point (the one you just made).

In IE Options, flush the cache, and be sure that "OFFLINE CONTENT" is also
checked, to get rid of everything.

Now run chkdisk to validate the disk is error free.

Update defs and do a full virus scan. Get Ad-Aware, update its defs, and
do a full scan. If desired, go to sysinternals and get their root-kit
revieler. Run it. You should now be (reasonably) confidant thay you are
clean.

Try disabling your AntiVirus (as a test), reboot, see if it's better.
AV's can be big hogs. If you don't need email scanning (if using a web
email interface then you don't need it; they do only pop3 filtering), or
script blocking, then disable them.

Pop up the Task Manager (ctl-shift-esc), see what processes are running.
Google on any names that you don't understand. report back wierdness.
Because you cleaned everything, there should be no "nasty" processes;
they're all Windows Stuff, or things you've installed. Time to prune it
back!

Get Mike Lin's Startup Control Panel, use it to _SEE_ what processes are
loading at start up. Any that you feel you don't really need, go into
their Options menu and see if they offer the option to NOT load at
startup; check it. If they do not, then use Startup Control Panel to
TEMPORARILY disable their startup (uncheck 'em). Reboot and see if all
works ok. If not re-check 'em, else leave checked for a few days. Do this
one item at a time. The goal is to reduce the number of procesess running
in Task Manager. Don't forget that you've disabled some things this way,
review it periodically to stay on top of things. [You could use xp's
built-in msconfig32.exe to do these sort of things; it's intended for
debug purposes, Startup CPL is a better long term solution].

http://www.mlin.net/StartupCPL.shtml

The same can be done w/ "non-essential" Services; change their
startup-type from automatic to manual. A large topic unfortunately, and
black viper's site is gone. The elderGeek is still very good tho:

http://www.theeldergeek.com/services_guide.htm

Indexing service should be disabled. So should several security threats
(SP2 turns off a lot by default now); see eldergeek. If you are a stand
alone PC, not on a network, and have no need for file or printer sharing,
then remove them. Here's how:

control panel | network connections | any icon | properties | networking
tab;

if File and Printer Sharing Service is present, highlite and click
Remove.

if Client for Microsoft Networks is listed, highlite and click Remove.

Click OK, when prompted Reboot. You should now see that the Workstation
and Server services are no longer even listed in the services console.
That's good. Note that in the future you MAY see some errors occasionally
in Event Log complaining that these services are not running - it's ok,
they're not big errors. [Sometimes you'll encounter something that simply
INSISTS that they be running, even when you have no network [MS Baseline
Security Analyzer]. To get them back: repeat steps and "Install" this
network client and service. Or just rerun the Network Setup Wizzard, it'll
do it automatically].

That's a starting point, good luck....
!