Discussion:
Hard disk continuously working
(too old to reply)
Fokke Nauta
2018-06-02 08:29:49 UTC
Permalink
Hi all,

Here on holiday we use a 9 year old laptop (Sony VIA VGN-FW51JF) with W7
pro 64b running. For years going on there is something weird with it.
After being switched on, the hard disk LED is continuously on for 10 -
15 minutes. During this time the laptop is unresposive - it is too busy.
Now it has been on for 45 minutes. I can work on it (sending this post)
but it is still slow, and the hard disk lED is still flickering.
What might be wrong with this thing?
Does it make sense to replace the hard disk by a SSD? Does it make sense
to install W10 pro 64b?

Thanks.

Fokke Nauta
Paul
2018-06-02 09:13:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Fokke Nauta
Hi all,
Here on holiday we use a 9 year old laptop (Sony VIA VGN-FW51JF) with W7
pro 64b running. For years going on there is something weird with it.
After being switched on, the hard disk LED is continuously on for 10 -
15 minutes. During this time the laptop is unresposive - it is too busy.
Now it has been on for 45 minutes. I can work on it (sending this post)
but it is still slow, and the hard disk lED is still flickering.
What might be wrong with this thing?
Does it make sense to replace the hard disk by a SSD? Does it make sense
to install W10 pro 64b?
Thanks.
Fokke Nauta
Can you see anything in Task Manager ?

If it's a SVCHOST that is railed, you can use Sysinternals Process Explorer
(Run As Administrator) and you can look inside the SVCHOST and see what it
is doing.

The Sysinternals Process Monitor, records ETW events from
all the programs running. If some program is doing it,
Process Monitor can record it. Process Monitor records
to RAM by default, but for large traces, you can have
it write to a disk file instead. I recorded an entire
Macrium Reflect backup run with it one day, with no
problem at all. The maximum number of events it can
record, is something like 200 million. I've never hit
that limit yet (maybe it would take a 6-7 hour trace
to hit the limit).

Process Monitor also has boot logging. And what I
discovered, is you can use it for both shutdown (during
restart) as well as reboot logging. You tell Process Monitor
you want to do boot monitoring, while at the same time
recording current activity. Then you select Restart. The
current trace is saved, the machine restarts, the bootup
sequence is saved in a second file (procmon23.sys is injected
into the system folder to do the recording at startup, and
is a file with the Hidden attribute set). The duration of the
boot capture, is determined by when you start Process Monitor
running after bootup has finished. If you were locked out
of the machine for 45 minutes and couldn't get the program
running, the capture process would continue to capture
during those 45 minutes. You would definitely want it saving the
trace to disk for something that long.

When you start Process Monitor after bootup is finished, it'll
prompt about saving a trace that is being captured, and you
can claim to put it somewhere safe at that point.

(For event tracing and boot logging...)

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/procmon

(As a helper for Task Manager, can burrow into SVCHOST and get some info)

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/process-explorer

For older OSes, you have to hunt down an older version of these.
They didn't need to drop support, but you know how the
business works.

*******

I can also offer a comment on the SSD. My laptop was pretty
slow. I put an SSD in it, and all that achieves is makes the
CPU look like the bottleneck. The CPU holds it back. Lots and
lots of laptops are gutless, so you're fighting a losing
battle when it comes to speeding one up.

The one nice aspect, is not having to worry about the
storage device receiving a mechanical shock. The SSD is going
to be a bit more shockproof than a regular drive.

As an example of a cheap drive, you can get a Intel 545s 128GB
for around $60, which would be able to boot up the laptop
once cloned over. You might want the next size up, if you want
a bit more elbow room in the thing.

Paul
J. P. Gilliver (John)
2018-06-02 13:27:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Fokke Nauta
Hi all,
Here on holiday we use a 9 year old laptop (Sony VIA VGN-FW51JF) with
W7 pro 64b running. For years going on there is something weird with
it. After being switched on, the hard disk LED is continuously on for
10 - 15 minutes. During this time the laptop is unresposive - it is too
busy.
Now it has been on for 45 minutes. I can work on it (sending this post)
but it is still slow, and the hard disk lED is still flickering.
What might be wrong with this thing?
See Paul's reply - but I'd also check the SMART on the HD in it (I use
DiskCheckup from https://www.passmark.com/products/diskcheckup.htm, but
there are many others). Last time I encountered a machine that took 15
minutes to boot, it was indeed a dying hard disc - it gave absolutely no
sign of anything being wrong, other than it was very slow for anything
involving disc access; obviously the error-correcting aspect of the disc
was working well! That was I think back in either XP or possibly even
'98 days.
Post by Fokke Nauta
Does it make sense to replace the hard disk by a SSD? Does it make
See Paul's answer.
Post by Fokke Nauta
sense to install W10 pro 64b?
Personally I wouldn't, but that's mainly because I'm very wary of W10
anyway; I don't _think_ it requires ... hang on, 9 years old, is that
single core? I don't think 10 is very happy on a single core machine.
(It certainly wasn't usable on mine.) Anyway, I wouldn't install it just
in the hope that it'll solve your problem: I don't _think_ it would, and
if it did you'd not know why. I'd solve it first, _then_ think about the
W10 question.
Post by Fokke Nauta
Thanks.
Fokke Nauta
YW; HIH.
--
J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985 MB++G()AL-IS-Ch++(p)***@T+H+Sh0!:`)DNAf

Radio 4 is one of the reasons being British is good. It's not a subset of
Britain - it's almost as if Britain is a subset of Radio 4. - Stephen Fry, in
Radio Times, 7-13 June, 2003.
mick
2018-06-02 14:24:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Fokke Nauta
Hi all,
Here on holiday we use a 9 year old laptop (Sony VIA VGN-FW51JF) with W7 pro
64b running. For years going on there is something weird with it. After being
switched on, the hard disk LED is continuously on for 10 - 15 minutes. During
this time the laptop is unresposive - it is too busy.
Now it has been on for 45 minutes. I can work on it (sending this post) but
it is still slow, and the hard disk lED is still flickering.
What might be wrong with this thing?
Does it make sense to replace the hard disk by a SSD? Does it make sense to
install W10 pro 64b?
Thanks.
Fokke Nauta
If the laptop is only switched on occasionally it could be your
security software updating itself and scanning your hard drive.

I have had this issue on my 13 year old HP Pavilion laptop with win10
and Norton Security. The laptop is only used a couple of times a month
when away from home for internet browsing, email and newsgroups.
Norton was taking forever to scan the HD which made everything else so
sluggish as to be nearly unusable.
Also the latest update of win10 would not install so I have now
uninstalled windows and put Kubuntu on it, installed Teamviwewer, so I
can log on to my desktop at home and access windows 10 from there.
Someday I might treat myself to a new laptop :-)
--
mick
Paul in Houston TX
2018-06-02 16:55:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Fokke Nauta
Hi all,
Here on holiday we use a 9 year old laptop (Sony VIA VGN-FW51JF) with W7 pro 64b running.
For years going on there is something weird with it. After being switched on, the hard
disk LED is continuously on for 10 - 15 minutes. During this time the laptop is
unresposive - it is too busy.
Now it has been on for 45 minutes. I can work on it (sending this post) but it is still
slow, and the hard disk lED is still flickering.
What might be wrong with this thing?
Does it make sense to replace the hard disk by a SSD? Does it make sense to install W10
pro 64b?
Thanks.
Fokke Nauta
My thoughts, in no special order:
HDD going bad. Try running a surface scan and see what it says.
HDD connections slightly corroded. Reseat the hdd.
Search indexing is turned on. Turn it off and see if it changes.
Something is updating. Turn off the radios and and reboot with radios off.
Software is messed up. No easy fix. Try your backup or older system restore.
Some other hardware problem.

An SSD MAY fix the problem assuming a fresh install of o/s.
Same for W10 assuming that you also install an SSD at the same time.
Good luck liking W10.
Char Jackson
2018-06-02 23:42:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Fokke Nauta
Hi all,
Here on holiday we use a 9 year old laptop (Sony VIA VGN-FW51JF) with W7
pro 64b running. For years going on there is something weird with it.
After being switched on, the hard disk LED is continuously on for 10 -
15 minutes. During this time the laptop is unresposive - it is too busy.
Now it has been on for 45 minutes. I can work on it (sending this post)
but it is still slow, and the hard disk lED is still flickering.
What might be wrong with this thing?
You've received a lot of good suggestions. I'll try to add one more.
Check RAM usage in Task Manager. If a stick died and isn't being
recognized, the system could have much less RAM than you thought and you
could be running into a heavy swap condition, especially just after
booting up. I've seen that bring a PC to its knees, and in fact, I can
duplicate that behavior by lowering the amount of RAM in a VM. At some
point, it takes forever to stabilize and be ready.

Also, think about the installed programs and whether any are set to
start automatically, or set to check for updates automatically, after
booting. If so, tame those beasts.
Post by Fokke Nauta
Does it make sense to replace the hard disk by a SSD?
Weakest link in a chain theory says the slowdown will simply move
somewhere else.
Post by Fokke Nauta
Does it make sense to install W10 pro 64b?
I can't think of a scenario where that makes sense. I'm admittedly
biased, but only because I've used Win 10.
--
Char Jackson
Fokke Nauta
2018-06-04 10:51:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Fokke Nauta
Hi all,
Here on holiday we use a 9 year old laptop (Sony VIA VGN-FW51JF) with W7
pro 64b running. For years going on there is something weird with it.
After being switched on, the hard disk LED is continuously on for 10 -
15 minutes. During this time the laptop is unresposive - it is too busy.
Now it has been on for 45 minutes. I can work on it (sending this post)
but it is still slow, and the hard disk lED is still flickering.
What might be wrong with this thing?the laptop is not worth the ccosts of aa SSD anymore.
Does it make sense to replace the hard disk by a SSD? Does it make sense
to install W10 pro 64b?
Thanks.
Fokke Nauta
Thank you all for your hints and suggestions. All very useful!

GigaTweaker3 was installed on this laptop and I had a look into it.
There was a box checked with something like "Defragment hard disk on
start up" or something like that. The first thing I did was unchecking
that box. That made a whole difference.
Installing Procmon showed a lot of activity of Explorer.exe and scvhost,
both a lot of different issues. I didn't see anything particular showing
up, or something that showed up many times. One thing that came back a
lot of times was something like ...\WinVT\Publisers\..., and I'll have a
look into what that is.
I installed Hard disk Sentinal, and that showed the disk is perfect
(100%), although the temp is quite high (39 degrees Celcius) and tha max
temp ever was 48 degrees C.

I will defenitely not install W10,
I will not replace the hard disk with a SSD either, as I've seen the
laptop is not worth the costs of an SSD anymore.

Fokke
Paul
2018-06-04 11:54:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Fokke Nauta
Post by Fokke Nauta
Hi all,
Here on holiday we use a 9 year old laptop (Sony VIA VGN-FW51JF) with W7
pro 64b running. For years going on there is something weird with it.
After being switched on, the hard disk LED is continuously on for 10 -
15 minutes. During this time the laptop is unresposive - it is too busy.
Now it has been on for 45 minutes. I can work on it (sending this post)
but it is still slow, and the hard disk lED is still flickering.
What might be wrong with this thing?the laptop is not worth the ccosts of aa SSD anymore.
Does it make sense to replace the hard disk by a SSD? Does it make sense
to install W10 pro 64b?
Thanks.
Fokke Nauta
Thank you all for your hints and suggestions. All very useful!
GigaTweaker3 was installed on this laptop and I had a look into it.
There was a box checked with something like "Defragment hard disk on
start up" or something like that. The first thing I did was unchecking
that box. That made a whole difference.
Installing Procmon showed a lot of activity of Explorer.exe and scvhost,
both a lot of different issues. I didn't see anything particular showing
up, or something that showed up many times. One thing that came back a
lot of times was something like ...\WinVT\Publisers\..., and I'll have a
look into what that is.
I installed Hard disk Sentinal, and that showed the disk is perfect
(100%), although the temp is quite high (39 degrees Celcius) and tha max
temp ever was 48 degrees C.
I will defenitely not install W10,
I will not replace the hard disk with a SSD either, as I've seen the
laptop is not worth the costs of an SSD anymore.
Fokke
You can use Process Explorer (use "Run As Administrator), then
locate any busy SVCHOST, then you can burrow inside it and
see which service is using cycles. In Process Monitor, you
might have a PID to work with, then look for that PID
in Process Explorer and drill in to see the busy service.

But it sounds like you've made good progress.
And won't need to spend a dime :-)
A happy ending.

Paul
Fokke Nauta
2018-06-05 09:26:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul
Post by Fokke Nauta
Post by Fokke Nauta
Hi all,
Here on holiday we use a 9 year old laptop (Sony VIA VGN-FW51JF) with W7
pro 64b running. For years going on there is something weird with it.
After being switched on, the hard disk LED is continuously on for 10 -
15 minutes. During this time the laptop is unresposive - it is too busy.
Now it has been on for 45 minutes. I can work on it (sending this post)
but it is still slow, and the hard disk lED is still flickering.
What might be wrong with this thing?the laptop is not worth the
ccosts of aa SSD anymore.
Does it make sense to replace the hard disk by a SSD? Does it make sense
to install W10 pro 64b?
Thanks.
Fokke Nauta
Thank you all for your hints and suggestions. All very useful!
GigaTweaker3 was installed on this laptop and I had a look into it.
There was a box checked with something like "Defragment hard disk on
start up" or something like that. The first thing I did was unchecking
that box. That made a whole difference.
Installing Procmon showed a lot of activity of Explorer.exe and
scvhost, both a lot of different issues. I didn't see anything
particular showing up, or something that showed up many times. One
thing that came back a lot of times was something like
...\WinVT\Publisers\..., and I'll have a look into what that is.
I installed Hard disk Sentinal, and that showed the disk is perfect
(100%), although the temp is quite high (39 degrees Celcius) and tha
max temp ever was 48 degrees C.
I will defenitely not install W10,
I will not replace the hard disk with a SSD either, as I've seen the
laptop is not worth the costs of an SSD anymore.
Fokke
You can use Process Explorer (use "Run As Administrator), then
locate any busy SVCHOST, then you can burrow inside it and
see which service is using cycles. In Process Monitor, you
might have a PID to work with, then look for that PID
in Process Explorer and drill in to see the busy service.
But it sounds like you've made good progress.
And won't need to spend a dime :-)
A happy ending.
Paul
Hi Paul,

Thanks.

I'll give it a try with Process Explorer and Process Monitor. I will
also look into how to use it whilst booting up.

Fokke
J. P. Gilliver (John)
2018-06-04 16:18:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Fokke Nauta
Post by Fokke Nauta
Hi all,
Here on holiday we use a 9 year old laptop (Sony VIA VGN-FW51JF) with W7
pro 64b running. For years going on there is something weird with it.
After being switched on, the hard disk LED is continuously on for 10 -
15 minutes. During this time the laptop is unresposive - it is too busy.
[]
Post by Fokke Nauta
GigaTweaker3 was installed on this laptop and I had a look into it.
There was a box checked with something like "Defragment hard disk on
start up" or something like that. The first thing I did was unchecking
that box. That made a whole difference.
It certainly would! There's considerable argument about how useful
defragging is anyway; I still think it has some use, but I certainly
wouldn't do it every startup! Depending on how much (and what for) you
use the computer, I'd say once a week or month might be more than enough
for most people; if you leave the computer on, the setting that does it
at 3 a. m. one day a week should suffice.
[]
Post by Fokke Nauta
thing that came back a lot of times was something like
...\WinVT\Publisers\..., and I'll have a look into what that is.
Not WinTV, is it? If so, have you ever had a TV stick in the machine? I
can't see why that should be taking a lot of CPU, but it's certainly IMO
worth removing it (provided you've got the install disc so you can put
it back if needed!) if you _aren't_ using a TV stick.
Post by Fokke Nauta
I installed Hard disk Sentinal, and that showed the disk is perfect
(100%), although the temp is quite high (39 degrees Celcius) and tha
max temp ever was 48 degrees C.
Never assume anything about a hard disc - image it from time to time (at
least the C: and hidden partitions - your data is up to you) regardless
of what tools say about the disc condition (-: A couple of HDTune plots
(always two or more plots so you can see if any of the spikes, which are
mostly due to Windows interrupting, _don't_ move) are worth a try too.
Post by Fokke Nauta
I will defenitely not install W10,
I doubt it would be a good idea on a 9yo machine. Or one that isn't used
often, as it'd spend a lot of time getting updates.
Post by Fokke Nauta
I will not replace the hard disk with a SSD either, as I've seen the
laptop is not worth the costs of an SSD anymore.
Agreed.
Post by Fokke Nauta
Fokke
--
J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985 MB++G()AL-IS-Ch++(p)***@T+H+Sh0!:`)DNAf

Veni Vidi Vacuum [I came, I saw, It sucked] - ***@saslimited.demon.co.uk, 1998
Mark Blain
2018-06-04 15:49:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Fokke Nauta
Here on holiday we use a 9 year old laptop (Sony VIA VGN-FW51JF)
with W7 pro 64b running. For years going on there is something
weird with it. After being switched on, the hard disk LED is
continuously on for 10 - 15 minutes. During this time the laptop
is unresposive - it is too busy. Now it has been on for 45
minutes. I can work on it (sending this post) but it is still
slow, and the hard disk lED is still flickering. What might be
wrong with this thing? Does it make sense to replace the hard disk
by a SSD? Does it make sense to install W10 pro 64b?
It sounds like you've already made great progress. For the benefit of
others, Windows 7 includes a built in tool "Resource Monitor"
(perfmon.exe) that can list running processes with high disk activity.
Especially when providing remote support, I always start with the built
in tools. It's under Accessories-> System Tools. If you're already in
Task Manager, there's a button for it on the Performance tab.
Fokke Nauta
2018-06-05 09:26:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mark Blain
Post by Fokke Nauta
Here on holiday we use a 9 year old laptop (Sony VIA VGN-FW51JF)
with W7 pro 64b running. For years going on there is something
weird with it. After being switched on, the hard disk LED is
continuously on for 10 - 15 minutes. During this time the laptop
is unresposive - it is too busy. Now it has been on for 45
minutes. I can work on it (sending this post) but it is still
slow, and the hard disk lED is still flickering. What might be
wrong with this thing? Does it make sense to replace the hard disk
by a SSD? Does it make sense to install W10 pro 64b?
It sounds like you've already made great progress. For the benefit of
others, Windows 7 includes a built in tool "Resource Monitor"
(perfmon.exe) that can list running processes with high disk activity.
Especially when providing remote support, I always start with the built
in tools. It's under Accessories-> System Tools. If you're already in
Task Manager, there's a button for it on the Performance tab.
Thanks. I'll try this as well.

Fokke

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