Sluggish hard drive

Posted on 2005-05-11
Last Modified: 2011-09-20
I have a shuttleX SK43G system running a Sempron 2500+ with 2*512Mb DDR333 and a Hitachi 160Gb SATA 150 HDD, I am running a fully updated XP sp2, and AVG free v7 antivirus.  It all seemed to be going ok till this last weekend when it started going slow on initial hard drive accesses.  For example when I initially load a web page (or right click any link and select open in new window) instead of opening a new window straight away and the contents of the window loading (with a speed depending on the site and connection ect) like my other system does, with this system there is now  a delay of about 4s during which time the hard drive LED goes on, I hear 4 quick accesses over about 2s twice (like a floppy drive, only there is no floppy drive in the system) – then the window opens fine.

The hard drive light is constantly flashing, even if there is nothing running which is also odd, and sometimes when the system goes into screen saver mode the hard drive goes mad?

How can I diagnose the cause of such a problem?  So far all I can think to do is reinstall the OS and pay careful attention to when/if the problem comes back?
Question by:UlyssesArden330
    LVL 91

    Expert Comment

    can be malware, did you run these :

         Spybot :
         adaware :
    LVL 91

    Expert Comment

    and since it was a recent problem, a system restore can help you out too.
    LVL 87

    Expert Comment

    The screensaver causing the disk to go mad is normal (except if you use the "Blank" screen saver).

    First disable "System Restore" via control Panel, System, then I suggest you run msconfig, and post your entries for services and startup here. Maybe we can help you in disabling not needed things.

    Then download, install and run Spybot Search & Destroy, letting the program update itself before scanning the system. Use it to remove the malware it finds. It may have to reboot and run a couple of times. If it does that more than 3 times, reboot into safemode and run it that way.

    Then also download, install and run Adaware, a similar tool to spybot, which should find malware which spybot didn't.

    Now download, Install and run Hijackthis from
    This program will let you save a log file, which you then can post on the site. Then click on the analize button. You'll then get a list of possible threats on your system which you can remove if you want to.

    If after all that the system runs at speed again, run a defrag on your disk.

    If the above didn't help, the disk may be close to dying. download the testing program from hitachi and run it. If the disk is failing, make a data backup, then replace the disk asap.
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment


    Do you think this could be a problem with AVG antivirus?
    Like you, i have the free version installed on my computor, and it automatically performs a full system scan whenever you log on. It does this by default, and puts a small icon by your system clock to show you it is doing so. Although this full system scan does not 'lag' my computor, other free antivirus' have caused me problems very similar to what you have described (namely panda antivirus).
    If AVG is performing a full system scan everytime you go on your computor, it would be the obvious explanation as to the symptoms you describe. eg CPU doing overtime, floppy disk drive checking for disk and so on.

    Author Comment

    I use spyware doctor which is fully updated and found nothing but i will give spybot and adaware a go anyway
    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    you could use Spysweeper also to check out for installed malware,be sure to go through the options menue and activate the extra features for the scan to be more comprehensive:
    the Greenandroid's suggestion/supposition is not bad ;if you wish you can uninstall AVG(but i thing it's a superb antivirus scanner)
    and replace it with Antivir Personal:
    make sure to activate:
    search menue:
    -unknown bootsectors:activate
    -all data:activate
    -priority:high(or low if you examine the same luggish behavior of the hdd)
    archives submenue:all types:activate
    menue games/jokes(nasty programs): activate all
    Heuristics menue:
    -heuristics activiren for macros
    -win32 heuristics>level-high:activate
    please do the same thing in the AV guard settings!!!

    see also this:


    Author Comment

    Looks like it was a problem with spyware doctor, it was failing to load sometimes so I reinstalled it and it seems to be working now (spyware doctor integrates itself into internet explorer).

    On a pluss note I also downloaded and ran the HDD checking utility from Hitatchi which found and corrected (or so it claimed) some currpupted sectors on the HDD.  That may also have been part of the problem - I dont know.

    I shall download similar utilities for my other HDD and check them too as I had no idea that I could have any currpoted sectors on a fairly (3 months old) new drive.

    Hopefully it will work better now...
    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    you can check out on the hitachi's website if there is any firmware update for your hdd

    LVL 91

    Expert Comment

    and a basic check for disc drives is running a scan for errors on it
    LVL 1

    Accepted Solution

    PAQed with points (250) refunded

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