Solved

100% Disk Usage--problem with OS or failing hard drive?

So, like many other people, I'm having issues with Windows 10 hogging up my hard drive. I didn't have these issues until I upgraded to Windows 10, however, my computer is close to ten years old (the driver date for my hard drive is 2006) and some of the issues I've had could also point to imminent hard drive failure. For example, I've gotten error messages that random programs can't be started or froze--including Windows 10 itself.

On the other hand, these are issues that I've only encountered while running my computer normally. My hard drive appears to be working just fine in safe mode, whereas it takes a good fifteen minutes just to open msconfig or task manager while I'm in normal mode. I've been working on this problem for a while, so I've already tried a few things. I have:

1. Disabled Superfetch, which didn't work, and later re-enabled it because I'm using an HDD and not an SSD.

2. Disabled Windows Defender and downloaded a different antivirus. Note: the process that I most often see hogging up my I/O read/write bytes is MsMpEng.exe, but even when it's not at the top of the list, my hard drive stays at 100%.

3. Changed the page file to a custom value. This made absolutely no difference at all.

4. Ran an sfc scan. It always says it found corrupt files but can't fix them. DISM gives me similar results.

5. Ran check disk. Several times. I've noted that running check disk seems to clear the problem up briefly, but by the next day my computer is unbearably slow again. This is one of the issues that makes me believe my hard drive might be about to bite the dust.

6. I have attempted to run an antivirus scan on several occasions, both in safe mode and normal mode. It always gets stuck, without exception, and can't complete the scan. I did have to go without an antivirus other than Windows Defender for a brief period when I upgraded to Windows 10 because my previous antivirus (Avast) was not compatible. I'm currently using AVG and Malwarebytes, and Windows Defender still squawks at me to turn it back on.

7. Disabled Windows Update P2P. No real difference here, either.

I'm at the point where I'm out of ideas...I've tried just about everything short of a clean install of Windows 10. I'm not even able to use the back up tool to save my data, so I'm hesitant to run out and just get a new hard drive--I am prepared to do it if my hard drive is indeed the culprit, but it's definitely a last resort.

If possible, could you guys recommend some things that I haven't already tried? Preferably something that I can do in safe mode, because my computer is almost unusable in normal mode. It gets locked up doing some of the most simple tasks and I'm forced to power it off manually.
40 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about 100 disk usage problem failing hard drive
  1. Best answer
    First, make sure to back up all important data to a cloud storage or external drive, or even optical disks like DVD or Blu ray if necessary.

    Then, run Seatools for windows. Run the short DST (Drive self test) and the long generic. If it fails either test, try unplugging and reconnecting the SATA cable and test again. No change, try swapping out the cable, and test again. Still no change, try a different SATA header on the motherboard. If it fails either of the tests after doing each and all of those things, then the drive is faulty. If it results in a high number of bad sectors, then the drive is faulty.


    Seatools for Windows: http://www.seagate.com/support/downloads/item/seatools-win-master/


    And Seatools is not manufacturer specific. It works on all brands and drive types.
  2. Alright, I ran the short DST and it failed after 10%. I'm running the long generic now just to be thorough, but I'll try switching out the SATA cable next. As for backup, I'm a little stuck...I can't use the Windows 10 back up tool (it fails due to time outs) and honestly, I'm okay with losing most of my data--I've backed up most of what I would hate to lose--but I really don't want to have to go out and buy a new copy of Windows 10 if my hard drive dies. Any way I could possibly get my activation key and reuse it if it comes to that?
  3. If you have already had an activated installation running on your machine, whether it was a new full version copy, a clean install or even just an upgrade, then the BIOS hardware ID string is already attached to windows 10 and you can perform a clean install without fear of losing activation or needing to purchase new installation media. It is essential that you know that it was in fact activated though. Go to control panel, system, and look on the main window to see that it indicates the system is activated, unless you already know it is.

    This is the clean install method and how to create your installation media.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/faq/id-2784691/ditch-problematic-win10-upgrade-replace-clean-install.html
  4. It shows me a product ID, but under activation it just says "restart Windows in normal mode to activate".
  5. Are you running in safe mode?

    What is your motherboard model number?
  6. I am in safe mode for the moment. It's the only way I can run these tests. I will be restarting it in normal mode later though, as soon as I can confirm whether or not the hard drive is a lost cause, so I can check again at that point.

    I'm using an Asus P8P67 -M pro.
  7. Unfortunately, Intel nor ASUS lists any Windows 10 drivers for your motherboard or processor chipset yet. While I know many of these systems are running windows 10 just fine, it's very possible that this is the problem. Intel doesn't even yet list any windows 10 .inf installer packages or chipset software for anything, which is just ridiculous considering they are the biggest player in the game.

    Most the Windows 10 chipset drivers are available on the motherboard manufacturer websites, likely developed by those manufacturers using the base chipset drivers from Intel, but your board does not show any yet.
  8. Wow, that really is shocking, especially considering how long Windows 10 has been available to the public. If it turns out that my hard drive is fine, I'll just keep my eyes peeled for any news about new drivers for my motherboard. It probably wouldn't hurt to update my HDD's firmware either.

    I'm still waiting on the long generic, but honestly it wouldn't surprise me one bit if maybe the SATA cable is loose somewhere. I recently had to install a new case fan which was in an awkward position, so it's not impossible that I jostled something. It was around that time that I started having issues with the hard drive.
  9. Yeah, I'd get in there and verify that for sure. Aside from that, I'm going to check through a few channels to see if perhaps there are any beta windows 10 Intel chipset drivers yet that have not been released to the general public on the Intel website. Doubtful, but it does happen sometimes. Usually the OEM has drivers by now but this iteration of windows has shown almost all the OEMs to have been lazy, and assuming that their Windows 8 drivers would work fine. After going through this same debacle to some degree during the transition from 7 to 8, you'd think they'd have learned that when a new OS also brings a new driver framework, the older drivers are likely to have problems. But they mainly only care about their newest hardware support rather than older products that aren't likely to make them any money despite the development time and cost investment.
  10. Yeah, it really is ridiculous, and not very good for their sales--at least not from my perspective. If I've been running a computer for almost a decade and the manufacturers just forget that my hardware even exists, I'm not likely to buy from them again no matter how good the part was. Considering that a lot more people are building their own PCs which tend to last significantly longer than the 4-5 years you can expect out of pre-builts, they have to expect that there's someone out there still using a ten year old product.
  11. They know there is, they just don't care. If your product is still running beyond the warranty period, it's given you more than your money's worth after ten years as far as they're concerned. Things like this are what drive people to buy new hardware, and they know that too. This is EVERY manufacturer, not just ASUS and not just Intel. AMD, ASRock, Gigabyte, MSI and all the rest are having the exact same issues regarding a lack of available drivers for older hardware as the ASUS board is. Honestly, if the hardware is ten years old, it probably IS time to retire it, but I also understand that sometimes finances don't always allow us to do what we know we should, so we do what we have to.
  12. I've honestly been shocked at how well my PC has done considering how old it is. Up until now, I haven't had much issue with it, and--recent hard drive issues aside--it STILL outperforms some of my friends' newer PCs. Ten years of gaming and it's only just now getting to a point where I can't run some new games on max settings. Even if I have to retire it, it's been good to me. I can't complain.

    Money isn't really an issue for me at the moment, it's more the inconvenience...although as I sit here wondering what route to take if my hard drive is choking on its last breath, I'm trying to figure out if I want to fork out the money to upgrade to an SSD. Probably an SSD/HDD combo, because a 1TB SSD would probably bankrupt me.
  13. I'd never go with a 1TB SSD until the prices drop astronomically. Going with a 250 or 256GB SSD for the OS and programs, and a 1TB WD or Seagate HDD for files, folders and backup is the standard way to go and is the least expensive option. Something like this, if you have to go this route which I'm not yet entirely convinced will correct your issues, but might, is what I'd probably do:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    Storage: Samsung 850 EVO-Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($88.89 @ OutletPC)
    Storage: Western Digital BLACK SERIES 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.00 @ B&H)
    Total: $157.89
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-10-07 01:48 EDT-0400
  14. That's not a bad price at all. I'll hang on to those links if it turns out I'll need to retire the HDD, thanks!

    The long generic just failed, so it's not looking too good for the HDD at the moment. I'll go check the SATA cable now.
  15. Usually if it's a cable problem, it will fail right off the bat. The quick failure with the drive self test had me thinking SATA cable, but the long generic taking a while to fail leads me to the drive. Unless it failed pretty quickly too. Does it specify what the failure was? Bad sectors or something? Did the drive make any strange noises at all? Clunking or clicking?
  16. It didn't really give me any answer to why it failed, I just got the standard "failed test" message that I got with the DST. No strange noises either...I was thinking about trying the fix option in the program to see if it could reallocate any bad sectors. It's definitely not the cable, I tried everything short of putting a completely new cable in (only because I don't have one handy) and the tests still fail.

    And yeah, the long generic made it almost to 80% before it failed.
  17. Fixing sectors on an old drive is a bad idea. Half the time it instantly tanks the drive, the other half, well, why bother. IF there are enough bad sectors to have to bother with fixing, the drive is unreliable for use and cannot be trusted with your files, folders or data.
  18. Yeah, I'm already looking into replacement parts. I might even go ahead and set up an entirely new rig. Right now I'm just transferring some things to an external drive...as it stands, I can't use the built in back up tool for Windows because the drive is so slow, but maybe I can salvage a few files. Unfortunately, without a backup tool and if I decide to put together an entirely new rig, I probably will have to shell out some cash for Windows 10. Ah well.
  19. Even with the backup tool you would need to. Changing motherboards qualifies as a "new" computer, and while it can be done by reinstalling the original OS if you had Windows 8 or 8.1, which is unlikely on a machine that old, with Windows 7 you couldn't reinstall that on a new machine either as Windows 7 is tied to the motherboard bios id string.

    You might be able to install Windows 10 on a new machine and convince whomever you talk to on the Microsoft activation support side of things that you just had to replace the motherboard, which is close enough to true to count in my book, and have them reset the activation for your product key, but I've seen that go both ways. Most often they tell you to reinstall your original product and then contact the activation hotline for help, then upgrade to 10 again. Honestly, it's almost worth the 85 bucks to just not have to deal with it every again on that machine.


    If you have a valid windows 8 or 8.1 key, it's much simpler, but still a few hoops to jump through.
  20. Hah, if they asked me to reinstall the original product then I'd be screwed. My Windows 7 was genuine but not installed by me; several years back I had to take it in to a repair shop to get the power supply checked, and while they were looking at it they called me out for having a "multi-user" version of Windows 7 and made me pay for a new copy. So I paid for it, they installed it, and I never got a disk or a product key or anything. I know, it was my own fault for trying to be cheap, but boy has it come back to bite me in the butt! So I really have no physical copy of Windows whatsoever. I do have the product key from the system info though, so if I'm lucky, maybe calling them wouldn't be such a bad idea.

    I am honestly considering an entirely new rig at this point, so technically I AM replacing the motherboard, after all.
  21. I'd be happy to help you outline the best machine for the least amount of money, so if you decide to go that route, let me know, and tell me what kind of overall budget you might have to work with.

    If you plan on reusing any hardware, it would be best to list the model numbers so I can confirm or deny compatibility with the rest of the parts, or even just chime in on whether it's a good idea or not. If you have an older power supply for example, it's probably best to not reuse it. Anyhow, let me know and if you wish I'd be glad to help.
  22. The only thing I can think of that I'd be fairly comfortable reusing are my memory cards, but even then, they're DDR2 and pretty outdated at this point. I'm putting together a list of parts now, and so far I'm at $704 but that's excluding storage, GPU and optical drives. Not to mention I'm only glancing at a few of the reviews, so further research would be needed...I'd really appreciate your help! You've been a great help to me by the way, so I also wanted to say thanks for that.

    I'm alright with going up to $1500 but I'm more comfortable at $1000. I've already mentioned that I game, so high specs are a must. My real limitation is that everything has to be available on Newegg...this puppy's gotta go on credit. Yay preferred account?

    Here's a sample list of some of the parts that I've looked at so far:

    EVGA 220-G2-0750-XR 80 PLUS GOLD 750 W 10 yr Warranty ECO Mode Fully Modular NVIDIA SLI Ready and Crossfire Support Continuous Power Supply
    $124.99

    Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case with Upgraded USB 3.0
    $99.99

    HyperX FURY 8GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Memory Model HX316C10FB/8
    $44.99


    MSI Z97 GAMING 5 LGA 1150 Intel Z97 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
    $149.99

    Intel Core i5-4690K Devil's Canyon Quad-Core 3.5 GHz LGA 1150 BX80646I54690K Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4600
    $239.99
  23. What is your main usage of this machine? Secondary usage as well. And yes, the DDR2 memory is a no go. The Antec 900 is a very old case design. You can get a much better case with more modern features for around that price or a bit less. Are you wanting a full tower or a mid tower case?
  24. Gaming would be the main thing, but also general multimedia; music, movies, the occasional photo or video edit. It's also the PC I'll be using for college/work, but that's just Office. If it helps, it'll also be the main computer in my house that uses a wired internet connection.
  25. Do you already have a GPU card that you'll be reusing? Do you plan to overclock the CPU?
  26. I see above that you indicate a GPU card will be needed, so if you want to keep it as low as possible, using Haswell refresh, I'd do something like this:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z97X-Gaming 5 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($126.89 @ OutletPC)
    Memory: G.Skill Trident X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-2133 Memory ($84.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung 850 EVO-Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($88.89 @ OutletPC)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($52.33 @ OutletPC)
    Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 970 4GB SSC ACX 2.0+ Video Card ($317.93 @ Amazon)
    Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro M ATX Mid Tower Case ($74.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: EVGA 750W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($79.99 @ Newegg)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM (64-bit) ($93.75 @ OutletPC)
    Total: $1139.75
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-10-07 04:27 EDT-0400


    And that's going to be a very reliable system for years and years to come. The current Skylake processors only offer about five percent performance advantage over Haswell refresh anyhow, so for the price difference considering CPU, motherboard and DDR4 memory, it's really not worth it. This will game just about any damn thing you want at 1080p on high or ultra. Might have to disable a few gameworks settings here and there though. Still, very capable high end machine with top notch parts.
  27. Looks great! I'm considering maybe going up to 2TB on the HDD since I tend to collect a lot of things over the years, but other than that, it looks like a solid build. I might consider reusing my optical drive because it barely got any use anyway and it's still in good condition. I will most likely not overclock anything...I'm pretty comfortable with computers, but I've never quite been comfortable enough to do that. Too scared of destroying it and voiding the warranty.
  28. If you plan to use an optical drive, which has become pretty uncommon these days, then you'll want to go with a different case. Many cases no longer support optical drives.

    Like this:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z97X-Gaming 5 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($126.89 @ OutletPC)
    Memory: G.Skill Trident X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-2133 Memory ($84.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung 850 EVO-Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($88.89 @ OutletPC)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($52.33 @ OutletPC)
    Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 970 4GB SSC ACX 2.0+ Video Card ($317.93 @ Amazon)
    Case: NZXT Phantom 410 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($81.99 @ NCIX US)
    Power Supply: EVGA 750W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($79.99 @ Newegg)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM (64-bit) ($93.75 @ OutletPC)
    Total: $1146.75
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-10-07 04:49 EDT-0400


    After mail in rebates the price looks more like this:


    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z97X-Gaming 5 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($116.89 @ OutletPC)
    Memory: G.Skill Trident X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-2133 Memory ($84.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung 850 EVO-Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($88.89 @ OutletPC)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($52.33 @ OutletPC)
    Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 970 4GB SSC ACX 2.0+ Video Card ($317.93 @ Amazon)
    Case: NZXT Phantom 410 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($81.99 @ NCIX US)
    Power Supply: EVGA 750W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($59.99 @ Newegg)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM (64-bit) ($93.75 @ OutletPC)
    Total: $1116.75
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-10-07 04:50 EDT-0400
  29. I'm taking a look at some of the student discounts. I could get this GPU for $280: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133564

    I might opt for a different case. I like having a few USB ports on the front. I'll take a look around.
  30. That Phantom 410 has 2 front USB 2.0 and 2 front USB 3.0 ports, it also has 3 front 5.25" optical drive bays and comes in 5 different colors.

    https://www.nzxt.com/product/detail/95-phantom-410-mid-tower-case.html#


    If you want to take a look at some other cases I'd look at the Phanteks Enthoo Pro (Not the M model which has no front drive bays), Phanteks Enthoo Luxe, NZXT H440, Fractal design Define R5, Corsair 300R Windowed version and Thermaltake Core V51. The Corsair Carbide 230T black, 400R, Cooler Master Silencia 652S, Cooler Master Mastercase, NZXT Source 530, NZXT S340 designed by Razor are worth looking at too. Considering you can get an external DVD or Blue-ray drive, it might be worth considering some of these cases that lack front optical drive bays as well.


    You don't want that card you linked to. It a reference model and I recommend avoiding the reference models. They are minimalistic OEM versions that lack good performance or cooling characteristics.
  31. After looking a bit more into the NZXT case, I think I like it. I was also looking at the Thermaltake Chaser, but my last experience with a Thermaltake case was unpleasant. 100% steel. Very heavy. Not to mention it collected dust better than my vacuum.

    I did have to make one tweak to your build because the Samsung 850 EVO is $20 more on Newegg, so I switched it out with this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148945

    As it turns out, I can get Windows 10 Education for free through my school's license.

    The good news is, I do get a student discount on the CPU you recommended, so there's a couple of extra bucks saved without making any changes. I'll stay away from the graphics card though, on your recommendation. The total still comes out to $1,215.91 not including shipping or mail-in rebates, but that's fine.
  32. The BX100 has very poor performance compared to the 850 EVO.

    BX100 250GB AS SSD benchmark


    850 EVO AS SSD benchmark



    Full comparison review here:

    http://www.storagereview.com/crucial_bx100_ssd_review


    If you need to save 20 bucks, that's fine, it's still an SSD and it's still much faster than any HDD, but personally, I'd shave money off somewhere else if I absolutely had to, and get the 850 EVO.

    Free is good on the OS, and the educational version has a few security and other features not found on the home version, but unless it comes with a non-volume product key, you will be at the mercy of the educational institution if you need to reinstall, as it doesn't work the same way that the home and pro versions do in all cases. johnbl explains this part:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-2815227/windows-education-whats-difference.html
  33. Ah, I've already ordered the parts so nothing can be done about it. Worst case scenario I can always upgrade a few months or a few years down the road. Unfortunately I forgot that Newegg discontinued preferred account a little over a week ago, so I actually really DID need to shave off that $20. I'm honestly okay with it; I don't need Windows to be absolutely lightning fast, and the majority of the programs that I use (with a few exceptions) are lightweight anyway. I've given up the idea of putting any games on it, which would've been a great benefit--my steam folder alone would more than fill up either SSD.

    As for the OS...same thing there. If something happens down the road I'll go out and get a copy. No loss there really, it just gives me some time to recuperate from such a big purchase. I'm not sure what you mean about non-volume, but I did get a product key with it.
  34. An SSD doesn't really offer much benefit to gamers anyhow short of map and level loading, so no loss there. OTHER processes, like the OS and applications, and file transfers or backups, and boot times, definitely benefit from it though. Still, any current gen SSD is worlds faster than any HDD, so yeah you should be fine.

    Volume keys are purchased by corporations and educational institutions, which allows them to install it repeatedly on a multitude of machines. If you were provided a SPECIFIC key unique to YOU, then you're fine.
  35. Awesome! Yeah, my school's web store generated a specific key when I ordered it, so that shouldn't be an issue. The only concerning thing is that they did not provide me with a download--at least not that I can find. The instructions basically say I should use it to upgrade from Windows 10 home or pro, so I guess I'll need to get the ISO from Microsoft directly.
  36. Thanks! Now comes the hard part...having to wait a week or more before I get to put it together. Hope I'm not too rusty; it has been almost ten years, and apparently I had no idea optical drives weren't much of a thing anymore. The SSD will be completely new to me. I probably should've checked to see if it came with a bracket or if the case has one built in. Oops.

    Edit: Oh good, the case has one.
  37. Most all modern cases come with 2.5" to 3.5" adapters, 2.5" drive bay locations, and 3.5" to 5.25" adapter rails. Shouldn't be an issue.

    USB drives have pretty much begun to make optical drives obsolete, except in cases where you want to be able to use your computer as a DVD or Blu-ray player, which it will do quite nicely and is much less expensive than buying a stand alone unit for use with your home theatre. USB drives don't generally get scratched or broken, like optical disks. Nor do they lose data integrity as quickly. They do fail and get lost though, but so do disks.

    If you end up installing from USB, be sure to enable USB as the primary boot device in the bios until after the installation, then change it to your SSD.
  38. It doesn't really shock me that CDs are becoming obsolete. They have been for a long time. It just puzzled me because with first time set ups, you usually get CDs with all the drivers. Honestly, that's about the only time I use my optical drive--well, that and when I have a physical copy of a game that I need to install, but yeah, that could be done with an external optical drive.
  39. Optical disks are cheap, which is the only reason the media still exists. Downloads are cheaper though.
Ask a new question

Read More

windows 10 Hard Drives