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alamarco
Premium
join:2003-06-18
Windsor, ON

[hard drive] Long Hard Drive Activity Freezes Windows

I'm trying to get a backup solution going and I'm struggling to do this because my PC keeps freezing. It only freezes when there is a period of long hard drive activity, i.e. when I start the backup process.

Initially I had been trying to use CrashPlan to backup one drive to another drive. I had it set to backup at night. However, when I wake up the PC has froze. No BSOD and I have the PC set to not automatically reboot on BSOD, so if it was a BSOD it should show up.

Since CrashPlan wasn't working I figured it was CrashPlan causing the issue so I went ahead and install cygwin and rsync. I fooled around and got my rsync command and then ran it. Left for a few hours and have come back to a frozen PC.

Because there is no BSOD, there is no dump to look at. My Event Viewer has nothing either. It's last log was about 30m before the freeze.

I ran SMART tests and none of the drives are failing. I don't hear any audible sounds like clicking so I doubt the drives are failing. All drives are plugged in internally.

How would I go about tracing through this error? It has never happened while I'm at the PC because I don't have it setup to run the backup while I'm using the PC.

Based on the rsync log I had created, it was roughly only 1 hr in before the crash. It went from 10:53 to 12:06 before it stopped.


OZO
Premium
join:2003-01-17
kudos:2

Try to set lower priority to your backup program and see, if it helps in your case.

For example, to launch Notepad with low priority one may use shortcut:
%windir%\system32\cmd.exe /c start "" /low /b C:\WINDOWS\NOTEPAD.EXE

--
Keep it simple, it'll become complex by itself...



alamarco
Premium
join:2003-06-18
Windsor, ON

Thanks for the tip, I'll give it a try.

I just gave it a test on a dry run to make sure it launched in low priority and it properly ran in low priority.

I'll report back my results. I'll start the run now and I'll be on the PC for an hour or so before having to leave. Will let me see if it freezes while I'm here or possibly later on or never.



Kilroy
Premium,MVM
join:2002-11-21
Saint Paul, MN
reply to alamarco

You might also try turning off your AV during the back up



wishera

join:2000-12-12
Everett, WA
reply to alamarco

I do exactly the same thing, except I use create synchronicity (»synchronicity.sourceforge.net). Mine has had problems freezing as well. I "narrowed" it down to 3 possible culprits. It is either my PC (Dell Optiplex 780) overheating (at least the drive controller part), my eSATA Raid Card, or Windows 7 not liking very large files and/or file names. I suspect the last one is it.

I only get the freeze when I try to do a complete backup, not if I copy files a few folders at a time. I can edit 1000's of files, and when it syncs up in the middle of the night, I have no problems. Always when I try to do the initial backup of ~4TB. I have recently split some files into smaller chunks, and shortened file names, and I haven't had a freeze, but I also haven't tried a full backup recently, only incremental.

I have found other examples of Dell owners with the similar problem, and owners of rocketRaid RAID controllers, so who knows.
--
Douglas Adams: "Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job."



alamarco
Premium
join:2003-06-18
Windsor, ON

Uh oh.

I also have a Rocket RAID controller. I used to have an external RAID, but decided to scrap it and put the drivers internal. I only have so much room so I also have 2 connected externally via an enclosure instead of the RAID device. I did however keep the RAID controller just to use for eSATA.

Might just go ahead and buy a non-RAID card for eSATA. Just to see if that's the case. Shouldn't be too expensive.

Anyways, with regards to low priority. I was able to back up for about 15 hrs from last night to this morning. I woke up and it was fine, but few hours later the logs shows it failed again. I'm backing up roughly 1.5 TB so it's a similar situation.

I'll keep backing up and hoping for the best, while in the meantime I'll wait for a new card to ship. Hoping it's an easy swap and it works instead of swapping and no success.



craig70130
Premium
join:2004-04-27
New Orleans, LA

Process Explorer (Sysinternals) shows the CPU utilization taken up by hardware interrupts. Might have that running when you see the slowdowns and see if that is the culprit. If your RocketRaid card is bogging down, it may show there.


bevills1

join:2006-05-29
Reviews:
·Charter
reply to alamarco

Can you restore a backup if the OS fails to boot? If not, you may want to do backups from boot CD such as Seagate Discwizard, Ghost or other backup programs. By running from boot media there're no other processes running making it less likely to freeze, and it facilitates reliable restore if the OS were to fail to boot.



alamarco
Premium
join:2003-06-18
Windsor, ON

I'm not making a backup of the OS. I'm just backing up the data. None of my data is stored on my OS. If my OS fails, or the HDD that holds my OS fails, no problem. I just install Windows again on a new HDD or re-install it on the current HDD and I'm good to go.

I ordered a new PCIE card, just have to wait for it to come in. I always go with the cheapest shipping option so might take another week or so. Hoping it solves all my issues as I no longer need RAID so I just bought a simple eSATA card instead of a RAID card.



aurgathor

join:2002-12-01
Lynnwood, WA
kudos:1
reply to alamarco

What are the specs of your computer?

I'm seeing this with underpowered PCs. I installed XP Pro onto a friends 2.4 GHz, non-hyperthreaded P4 with only 384 meg of memory and a 30 meg HD, and when the virus program does the initial scan, that PC is not usable for about 25 mins. I already told him that I don't want to see any more junk.

Assuming you get a better PC than the above ( ), I'd look into the event logs. (Windows -> System)
--
Wacky Races 2012!



alamarco
Premium
join:2003-06-18
Windsor, ON

I don't think it's under-powered: 2.7 GHz quad core CPU, 16 GB of RAM. Nothing in the Event Viewer either except on startup the Event Viewer warns the last shutdown wasn't clean. Since there is no BSOD, no logs anywhere to help debug it.



alamarco
Premium
join:2003-06-18
Windsor, ON
reply to alamarco

Apologies for late response. I received my new card few weeks ago, but haven't had the time to install it. I installed it this morning and so far so good. Been running a backup since the install and so far no issues.

I replaced my RocketRAID card with a StarTech card. wishera See Profile might be on to something with RocketRAID.

I believe my one HDD will back up completely before the night is over. If all goes well with that I have another drive which still start from scratch. That I will run over night so I'll be able to test a backup that is run with a long idle time. My current test is with me going back and forth to the PC so the idle time is only an hour max.


benali722

join:2007-07-14
Nashville, TN
reply to alamarco

Boot Linux, to verify the nature of the problem

I would boot a Linux Live CD and try your backup using that.

If the backup works, you know you have a Windows software issue.

If the backup fails, you know you have a transient hardware issue (such as overheating).

Good luck.



alamarco
Premium
join:2003-06-18
Windsor, ON
reply to alamarco

Re: [hard drive] Long Hard Drive Activity Freezes Windows

Okay, pretty much for the past 2 days straight I've backed up two hard drives. One hard drive is 1.6 TB full and the other is 1 TB full. No issues to report. Based on how often I would get freezes and BSOD's with the Rocket RAID card, I think it's safe to say it was the hardware.

Now, normally I would chalk it up to just my own bad luck, but based on what wishera See Profile has said, There may be a bigger issue with Rocket RAID cards as a whole. I know I'll be staying away from them now.

All that's left for me is to setup my rsync bat files to run as scheduled tasks now that I know they won't be crashing my system.

Thanks for all the help guys.