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batsona
Maryland

join:2004-04-17
Ellicott City, MD
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Verizon FiOS

[WIN7] Constantly clattering HD....

I'm sure there's an easy way to do this..... I just got a new laptop at work, and when it sits on my desk, for the full 8-9 hrs I'm there, the HD light flickers, and the HD just chatters away constantly all day. Constantly and consistently; it never stops.

Is there utility I can use, or some way Windows can tell me what application is causing the disk I/O? (I've already looked in Task Manager, and thats inconclusive - no processes except for task-manager itself are above 0% CPU) If a virus-can app was doing a whole-disk scan, then it would end up finishing & the disk would stop chattering at some point, but this is going on all day. --driving me a little crazy; sounds like mice running around on my desk. --I'll need to install an SSD if I can't figure this out.


Oleg
Premium
join:2003-12-08
Birmingham, AL
kudos:2
Have you cheeked S.M.AR.T attributes?.


Bachinator

@comcast.net
reply to batsona
Not all tasks doing disk I/O may have measurable CPU use. Have you tried adding fields showing disk I/O to the task manager to see if that sheds some light?

In Task Manager: View -> Select Columns
Then scroll down the list and tick-mark "I/O Read Bytes" and "I/O Write Bytes", then click OK.
You could also turn on the "Page Fault Delta" column to show some disk activity that could be due to paging.

Widen the task manager windows to show the new columns plus turn on "Show processes from all users"


dib22

join:2002-01-27
Kansas City, MO
reply to batsona
Use resource monitor...

Start, in the search box type "Resource Monitor", Click it to launch

Once it's open click on the Disk tab... that should show you what is using disk.

Some harddrives are just noisy, and windows does hit the HD quite often just swapping memory around... SSD might be your best bet if the noise annoys you

Gem
Premium
join:2005-09-10
kudos:4
Reviews:
·CableOne
reply to batsona
Once you fix whatever software is causing the excessive I/O chatter, then invest in an SSD for that laptop. It's money well spent, IMO. The peace and quiet is priceless. My favorite SSDs are the Samsung 840 models. Both the newer EVO line and the older non-EVO models too.


DownTheShore
Honoring The Captain
Premium
join:2003-12-02
Beautiful NJ
kudos:14
Reviews:
·Verizon Online DSL
reply to batsona
Is is plugged in or on battery? Check to make sure you don't have a bad battery. My other laptop has a virtually dead battery so I run it plugged in if I have to use it and the fan is constantly running and the drive light flashes. Something like that might cause chattering if you have a noisy HD to begin with.

batsona
Maryland

join:2004-04-17
Ellicott City, MD
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Verizon FiOS

1 edit
reply to Bachinator
OP here: The laptop has 4GB of phy RAM, and about 1GB is in use. The laptop is fairly responsive; it doesn't give evidence of being starved of RAM. The laptop is sitting on a docking station when I'm making these observations, so it's 'plugged in'. I can also tried shutting down certain services one by one.. like the Symantec Endpoint Protection, and the virus-scan, and the whole-disk-encryption SW etc etc.... an old laptop of mine took 20 hrs to encrypt its disk, but this shouldn't be the case, since I've had about 32hrs of powered-on-time since I received it. Unfortunatly, I respectfully disagree with the "some HD's are just noisy" because Windows moves the contents of RAM around. I've managed a good bit of Windows 7 systems, and they've been lucky enough to have plenty of RAM, and I've never seen this clattering disk syndrome on those machines before... Acutally, I'm not sure if the system is configured for a Page File at all. --I usually turn them off entirely.


Wily_One
Premium
join:2002-11-24
San Jose, CA
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
Boot into safe mode and see if it still does it.

If not, then you know you have some software (application or service) that is constantly accessing the drive. Then you can focus your search to narrow down the suspects.

Also, do you have your power settings to power down the drive when idle?


dib22

join:2002-01-27
Kansas City, MO
reply to batsona
said by batsona:

I respectfully disagree with the "some HD's are just noisy" because Windows moves the contents of RAM around

Those were two different statements, and I am sorry you disagree

Some HDD's are just noisy... any action and they ping... just a fact... nothing to do with windows moving ram around.


beck
Premium,MVM
join:2002-01-29
On The Road
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Stablehost.com
reply to batsona
Try turning off disk indexing and reboot. See if it stops chattering.

If your system is always accessing the hard disk, and SSD isn't a good choice. It will be quieter and faster, but you'll wearout the SSD.
--
Are YOU just a turkey voting for xmas?

batsona
Maryland

join:2004-04-17
Ellicott City, MD
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Verizon FiOS

1 edit
OP Here: I concur with Beck's comment -- If I'm hitting the drive all the time, then I'll wear out an SSD quicker than normal. I think I stopped the disk indexing already; I'll post what I did to do that. I'll keep looking --- thanks for the tips...

batsona
Maryland

join:2004-04-17
Ellicott City, MD
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Verizon FiOS
reply to Wily_One
OP here: Here's what's been done so far, in disabling the disk indexing / search services... I disabled the SuperFetch service. I thought I had stopped & disabled the Windows Search Service, but I hadn't. --I just did that. I also went down this registry path: HKLM | SYSTEM | Current Control Set | Control | Session Manager | Memory Management | PreFetch Parameters. Once there, I made the two keys, "Enable Prefetcher" and "Enable superfetch" both equal zero. I just fired the device up here at my house (not connected to the ActiveDirectory domain at work. The HD seems calm now. Some things above I changed earlier in the week, but these two are new: 1.) Disabling Windows Search Service and 2.)Booting up NOT on the AD domain. HD is quiet now --


Wily_One
Premium
join:2002-11-24
San Jose, CA
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
Search will definitely access the hard drive a lot until it's completely indexed. If the machine has sat idle for many hours (12+) and it's still indexing, then there's something wrong. (Depending on what's running getting it to actually be idle may be tricky.)

How big is the drive? When was the last time you ran this?:
chkdsk /f /r

batsona
Maryland

join:2004-04-17
Ellicott City, MD
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Verizon FiOS
OP here: OK - Time for egg on my face... Raise your hand if you knew that a faulty bearing in the CPU fan sounds like a clattering hard drive??? I removed the HD, and put in a spare I had, so I could set up another copy of Win7, for a project. I was surprised to hear the SAME sound after I was done installing & tweaking. HD light was out - no disk access, but the clattering continued. I tipped the laptop on its side carefully, and the clattering promptly stops. Mystery solved I guess. Now -- when that fan fails, the machine goes up in a puff of smoke -- CPU will burn up.


Wily_One
Premium
join:2002-11-24
San Jose, CA
Good thing it's:
A) your company's problem
B) new and still under warranty

HarryH3
Premium
join:2005-02-21
kudos:3
reply to batsona
FYI: Disabling Windows Search Service will break some of the functionality of Libraries.


weaseled386

join:2008-04-13
Port Orange, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Bright House
·AT&T U-Verse
reply to batsona
Based on your first post you still have the issue... you just cannot hear it now. It is completely normal for the disk activity lights to flicker even when you think the system is idle. Unless it is powered down, a computer is never idle.

There are a few issues that I used to see that would bring systems to their knees:

1) Defrag -- It would run forever. Even on my MHDD systems that is one of the firs things I disable. By default I believe defrag is scheduled Sunday at 3am.
2) Virus scan -- Regardless what software you use while it is doing a complete scan it'll be noticeable.
3) Indexing -- I let them sit overnight after I load the OS to handle it...
4) Control Panel -- Advanced Settings -- Processor power management -- Max processor state. I've found this as low as 5%!

Just a little food for thought the next time something like this happens! Oh, and get the SSD... you won't wear it out.

batsona
Maryland

join:2004-04-17
Ellicott City, MD
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Verizon FiOS
Yep, I'll go fwd with the SSD drive -- too bad I have to get a 400GB drive to replace my 320 spindle drive. --The drive is encrypted, so I probably can't do a 'shrink' on the partitions -- GPartD won't recognize the filesystem. Normally I can take a 500GB drive, and shrink the partitions down to a total of ~100GB, then replace a 500GB spindle drive with a 120GB SSD drive. Also, if my machine fails, I'll just have to keep constant backups. I like the Clonezilla product -- whole-disk-image.


weaseled386

join:2008-04-13
Port Orange, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Bright House
·AT&T U-Verse
I'm sort of an Intel fanboy in respect to SSD's. I think it stems from an amazing RMA issue with one of my first 80GB X-25M drives. I'm pretty sure all companies offer diagnostics for their SSD's, but -- if I remember correctly -- Koitsu argued against using them often, if ever at all...

In the Intel Solid-State Drive Toolbox the option would be "Intel SSD Optimizer." I use it immediately after loading a new OS, and maybe every few months after. I think he mentioned it does the same job TRIM handles, and by using it you're just adding unnecessary wear. I think there was a thread on here a few months ago where someone was putting several different SSD's through hellish tests..

Found it! Decent read: »SSD Endurance Experiment: Update at 300 TB