My system just keeps reading the hard disk.... and reading.... and reading....

Discussion in 'Dell' started by nickdevx, Jan 14, 2006.

  1. nickdevx

    nickdevx Guest

    Hi for the past few months I feel that my system is seriously slowing
    down. I'm running XP Pro on Dell Inspiron 600m, Centrino 1.6, 512mb
    (virtual ram set to 768mb). The sytem just constantly goes into a
    non-responsive mode reading the hard drive to death, and base on my
    experience it definitely happens too often and lasts for too long (on
    average 15~30 seconds). The worst cases are when I finish recording TV
    programs with TVactive. Each time I push that "stop recording" button
    (after 60+ minutes recording producing 700mb+ file), it's almost a
    guarantee that the system will go into a 3 minute lockdown, and that's
    when I'm lucky! The worst I've sufferred is around 10 whole minutes!
    Imagine 10 minutes of reading and writing of data on the hard disk -
    that's longer than it takes for me to backup the whole 20GB of my D:
    drive through USB 2.0!!!
    nickdevx, Jan 14, 2006
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  2. Sounds like virtual pagefile thrashing. Why did you fix the virtual
    ram size to such a small number? Set it to "windows managed" or see

    AFAICT you are running into resource exhaustion, especially with your
    mention of video recording. I would:

    [Use the drive manufacturer's diagnostic to ensure that you aren't
    having hardware problems. Then run the Windows diagnostic with all
    the options turned on.]

    Add more RAM, bump it up to a gigabyte.

    Defrag the hard drive and set the page file to 4G fixed size. [Yes,
    4095 megabytes, disk space is cheap].

    Check for hard disk free space, and upgrade to a 7200RPM drive if you
    are running low.
    William P.N. Smith, Jan 14, 2006
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  3. nickdevx

    D Guest

    I would agree that the pagefile is being utilized way too much. Go
    into task manager (press ctl-alt-del) and look at performance. If the
    pagefile is larger than 300 mb it's usually the bottleneck

    Adding ram, defragging, and wiping out a dozen unnecessary startup /
    tray TSR's in msconfig will give you a good increase in
    performance...but there's only so much you can do when video rendering
    or recording on a 600m centrino. If it's still not enough, you need
    to lower the video recording resolution or shell out the bucks for a
    higher-end computer, maybe XPS.
    D, Jan 14, 2006
  4. nickdevx

    nickdevx Guest

    Because I only gave my C: drive 10G : ( and you know Windows has a
    gigantic ASS these days, as do most modern programs.
    Can you suggest a drive diagnostic program? Can I download from Dell?
    I simply refuse to spend money to upgrade some stupid system which
    can't handle with 512MB ram. I'd rather buy a new one :)
    I must admit I'm no expert on how pagefile works, but seriously, 4G??
    How many progs you'll have to run at the same time to get that filled?

    Anyway I'll definitely give it a try when I can around do some
    Yeah C: is 1.4G at the moment - considering your recommendation of a 4G
    pagefile, I'd say this is definitely too small?
    nickdevx, Jan 15, 2006
  5. nickdevx

    nickdevx Guest

    What I really don't understand is WHAT THE HELL is the system doing for
    a whole 5~10 minutes that I can't interrupt??? It doesn't add up for
    nickdevx, Jan 15, 2006
  6. Who makes your hard drive? I'd suggest the drive manufacturer's
    diagnostic. For instance, IBM/Hitachi drives use the Drive Fitness
    Tool from
    Well, then don't do video recording on it. What, $50 for another
    half-gig is too much?
    Again, hard drive space is nearly free, well under $2/gig, and 4095 is
    the biggest pagefile WinDoze can support, so why not make it so large
    that it's size will never be an issue? And make it a fixed size, in
    one contiguous piece, and just forget about it. [I've got a separate
    swapfile partition, but that's hard to do after the fact.]
    What's the total drive size, and how do you have it partitioned? 1.4G
    should be OK for very light use, but that's not you...
    William P.N. Smith, Jan 15, 2006
  7. Garbage collection. It's freeing up all that memory that your video
    recorder malloc()ed, and since it all lives in the pagefile, it's got
    to go thru the pagefile and release it all. It's non-interruptable,
    because till it releases the memory it can't do anything else that
    might require reallocating it to some other process.

    It takes so long because it's probably poorly optimized for the
    worst-case, which is what you are doing.
    William P.N. Smith, Jan 15, 2006
  8. nickdevx

    nickdevx Guest

    Most probably Hitachi (device manager says HTSxxxxxx). I'll check out
    the site thanks.
    The video recording is the worst case. My general day to day work has
    also significantly slowed down within the past few months. Also I have
    another desktop running on dual p3 500, 384mb ram and 37gb scsi, and it
    does tv recording MUCH more smoother than my laptop - which suggests I
    should upgrade my hard drive, not ram? Or it's simply my hard drive is
    slowing down...
    nickdevx, Jan 15, 2006
  9. nickdevx

    Sudeep Guest

    Dude! Seriously Run a 90-90 Hard Drive Diagnostics (Dellâ„¢ Hard Drive
    Confidence Test Utility) on your System. These are signs of HDD
    Failure in the future.........Backup everything you can onto discs(On
    RW's if Possible). To run the 90-90 Diags on your I600m.

    Running the Hard Drive Diagnostics from the BIOS
    To start the BIOS hard drive diagnostic, perform the following steps:

    At the Dell BIOS splash screen, press the <Ctrl>+<Alt>+<D> keys at the
    same time.
    The computer beeps once to acknowledge that the hard drive diagnostics
    have been initiated and the following message appears:

    IDE Diagnostics running, please wait

    Drive 0: (Drive Model) -

    The test may take up to three minutes to run the diagnostics (the time
    is dependent upon the size and speed of the drive).
    When the diagnostics are complete, one of the following messages

    IDE Diagnostics running, please wait


    Drive 0: (Drive Model) - Pass
    Drive 1: No IDE Device

    Drive 0: (CD-ROM Model) - Diagnostics not supported
    Drive 1: No IDE Device

    Test complete, Press <Enter> to reboot

    Press the <Enter> key and restart the computer.

    NOTE: A Primary Drive 0: failure message may also appear. Proceed to
    the If the Hard Drive Diagnostics Reports Failures section. An error
    code does not indicate a definite drive failure.
    If the Hard Drive Diagnostics Reports Failures

    If the Primary Drive 0: indicates a failure, perform the following

    Reseat the drive and confirm that the hard drive is recognized in the
    BIOS settings.

    If the diagnostics continue to fail, you can communicate by e-mail with
    a Dell Technical Support Rpresentative for additional troubleshooting
    assistance. Navigate to the following link and select the option that
    best describes your problem:

    Hey Trust me this is the best Procedure for all DELL H/W.
    Sudeep, Jan 16, 2006
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