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Michael BorchardtFlag for Belgium asked on

100% disk usage system freeze

An issue happening that I cannot seem to correct.
A user of mine brings in his 8Gb Dell Latitude 5500 Windows 10 laptop that freezes some time after logging on to the OS ... I found out that his system has 100% disk usage (most probably) causing the freeze

Steps taken:

* I've installed all updates

* Malwarebytes scan turns up blank
* Dell has replaced the motherboard. (I know ...)
* I've disabled the Sysmain (Prefetch) service

* Ive disabled the Windows update service

* I've reset the virtual memory to manual: 2Gb <> 16Gb

After these steps, I can log on and keep the box alive - but only if I don't do anything on it. As soon as I open the control panel, disk usage goes to 100% and the system becomes unusable. Hard reboot necessary to start again.

Does anyone have additional ideas?
Thanks! Michael.

DellWindows OSWindows 10

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Michael Borchardt

8/22/2022 - Mon

Use the HD manufacturer's diagnostic Utility to test the Disk. If there are no errors, do a fresh OS installation, making sure you delete all the partitions & creates new ones.
William Fulks

Have you let it just sit a while and see if it calms down? I've seen new laptops do this after the first login because they are pulling down all kinds of background stuff and updating. You could try taking it offline and see if that helps, too.
Seth Simmons

what kind of drive is this?  is it spinning rust or ssd?
from the service manual, doesn't appear to have nvme support but if it isn't an ssd, might want to try that
not just because of better performance, but to rule out a drive issue (in addition to the suggestion of trying the diagnostic utility)
swap the drive for an ssd, reinstall windows
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William Peck

In addition/post Rindi's suggetion

disconnect the thing from the network and see if the spike is there as well.
Do you have anti-virus on the system?

dism /online /clean-image /checkhealth
sfc  /scannow

recent updates that did not go through.

As Rindi's suggestion implies, how much time can you spend on troubleshooting this issue?

Age of system? Hard drive or SSD? do you have an option to change to SSD after cloning the HD to the SSD?
Jazz Marie Kaur

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no errors in event viewer?  or minidumps?
anyhow, since the disk goes to 100% - testing it with the manufacturer's diagnostic is the first step.
test also in safe mode if the same happens
Gerald Connolly

I found that this was quite common, and its about all the checking and validation of things like virus checkers etc etc
For me, i installed a SSD, in place of the existing Spinning rust HDD (the HDD was cloned to the SSD) the freeze of the system went from 10+ minutes to 15 seconds, the HDD was actually running out of IOPS

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Michael Borchardt

Hi guys, thanks for all the insights. I ended up using the ProSupport contract that was still active for this machine.
During the process, the Dell technician has replaced the mainboard and when that didn't resolve anything, the SSD was replaced.
Then my time to let some config scripts have their go and the client was back in track.
Michael Borchardt

@Gerwin Jansen,

I disagree with your thought process.
The first attempt made to solve the issue was made by contacting Dell ProSupport.
Their attempt to solve the issue was to replace the main board, only to come to the conclusion that when trying to boot a disk could no longer be located. As an additional step, they replaced the existing SSD with another one, thus solving the original issue.

If you're going to make me choose from the list above, then Jazz Marie Kaur is the only person to have suggested the faulty hardware.