Laptop Hard Drive extremely slow, even in Seagate DOS disktest program


B

Bob F

This laptop has been having occasional problems where it pretty much stalls on
anything. The last time, I finally found out that Microsoft Security Essentials
had somehow gotten turned on. (I use AVG AV and Zonealarm FW)

In the diagnostic process, I tried running the Seagate SeaTools DOS disk test
program. It runs extrememly slowly, maybe 1/10 the rate that the same drive,
tested on my desktop computer, runs. Eventually, run on the laptop (An HP
G60-125NR), the test times out and indicates an error (After hours). Running the
same drive on my desktop, it finishes with a Pass pretty quickly (maybe 1/2
hour). I have tried 3 different drives, and seen similar results with all 3.
Some months ago, it passed the test on the laptop, but took maybe a day and a
half to do it.

Does anyone have any idea what could be causing this, and is it repairable? Bios
setting? Motherboard defect? The battery does seem to be near its EOL, but still
will run it for 1/2 hour or more, and I do the test with the power supply on.

The computer still works most of the time, but it seems like this disk problem
could be seriously affecting the performance of the computer even when it does
seem to work.

If you can syggest a better group for this question, please do.
 
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P

Paul

Bob said:
This laptop has been having occasional problems where it pretty much stalls on
anything. The last time, I finally found out that Microsoft Security Essentials
had somehow gotten turned on. (I use AVG AV and Zonealarm FW)

In the diagnostic process, I tried running the Seagate SeaTools DOS disk test
program. It runs extrememly slowly, maybe 1/10 the rate that the same drive,
tested on my desktop computer, runs. Eventually, run on the laptop (An HP
G60-125NR), the test times out and indicates an error (After hours). Running the
same drive on my desktop, it finishes with a Pass pretty quickly (maybe 1/2
hour). I have tried 3 different drives, and seen similar results with all 3.
Some months ago, it passed the test on the laptop, but took maybe a day and a
half to do it.

Does anyone have any idea what could be causing this, and is it repairable? Bios
setting? Motherboard defect? The battery does seem to be near its EOL, but still
will run it for 1/2 hour or more, and I do the test with the power supply on.

The computer still works most of the time, but it seems like this disk problem
could be seriously affecting the performance of the computer even when it does
seem to work.

If you can syggest a better group for this question, please do.

So the Seagate SeaTools driver for the storage port, is running in
Polled mode ? Maybe it's actually a SeaTools problem.

Just for fun, try the HDTune benchmark, with the drive in the
laptop, and with the drive in a desktop. Take note of the
shape of the graph (curve or straight line), the min and max
values. Maybe the benchmark characteristics will hint at the
problem. This version does a read benchmark, while the current
trial or purchased version, might do both read and write passes.

http://www.hdtune.com/files/hdtune_255.exe

You can post pictures of your results, on an image hosting site.

http://img829.imageshack.us/img829/842/500gb3500418ascomposite.gif

Paul
 
V

VanguardLH

Bob said:
This laptop has been having occasional problems where it pretty much stalls on
anything.

Does anyone have any idea what could be causing this, and is it repairable? Bios
setting? Motherboard defect? The battery does seem to be near its EOL, but still
will run it for 1/2 hour or more, and I do the test with the power supply on.

The computer still works most of the time, but it seems like this disk problem
could be seriously affecting the performance of the computer even when it does
seem to work.

If you can syggest a better group for this question, please do.

Maybe overtemps are making the CPU throttle down. That means the CPU
gets slower so your computer gets slower.

When was the last time you blew out the exhaust ports where the air
escapes? When was the last time you opened the case to use a duster to
blow out all the dust that collects inside? Besides blocking air flow,
dust is a thermal insulator, not a thermal conductor, so it deters heat
conduction away from any components that it covers.

Let the laptop go cold. Turn it off (not low-power mode but OFF) and
let it sit unpowered for an hour. Then power it on. It should be a
short time the laptop runs at full speed before it overheats (unless the
exhaust ports are blocked which means it heats up pretty quickly inside
since the hot air cannot escape).

When you put your hand by the exhaust port, do you feel an air flow? If
not, the port could be blocked (by dust) or the fan doesn't work or is
running under the appropriate speed to get the hot air out.

If it's not a dust or fan problem, and because it appears this has been
a long-time problem, maybe the clock speed or multiplier for the CPU
were not properly specified in the BIOS. You say it is an occasional
problem and yet you also say that months ago the diagnostics took way
too long to complete.
 
S

Stefan Patric

This laptop has been having occasional problems where it pretty much
stalls on anything. The last time, I finally found out that Microsoft
Security Essentials had somehow gotten turned on. (I use AVG AV and
Zonealarm FW)

Never run two (or more) antivirus utilities at the same time. They can
conflict with each other slowing down your system.
In the diagnostic process, I tried running the Seagate SeaTools DOS disk
test program. It runs extrememly slowly, maybe 1/10 the rate that the
same drive, tested on my desktop computer, runs. Eventually, run on the
laptop (An HP G60-125NR), the test times out and indicates an error
(After hours). Running the same drive on my desktop, it finishes with a
Pass pretty quickly (maybe 1/2 hour). I have tried 3 different drives,
and seen similar results with all 3. Some months ago, it passed the test
on the laptop, but took maybe a day and a half to do it.

Since this "slowness" is occurring ONLY on the laptop even when running/
testing with different drives in it, I suspect the laptop itself, and not
the hard drive specifically, is the problem.

Try booting the laptop with a Linux LiveCD, one that is small enough to
run entirely in RAM to eliminate CD reading lag like Puppy Linux or Damn
Small Linux, with and without a hard drive installed, and see if the
slowness persists. If so, take the laptop to a tech and have him check
it out.
Does anyone have any idea what could be causing this, and is it
repairable? Bios setting? Motherboard defect? The battery does seem to
be near its EOL, but still will run it for 1/2 hour or more, and I do
the test with the power supply on.

I suspect a motherboard problem. Or some failing component on it. If
either, the cheapest "fix" usually is to replace the whole motherboard.
The computer still works most of the time, but it seems like this disk
problem could be seriously affecting the performance of the computer
even when it does seem to work.

Intermittently occurring problems are the hardest to diagnose. Keep
using the laptop until it totally fails, then take it to a tech.

Stef
 
G

glee

J. P. Gilliver (John) said:
He isn't. He's using one AV and one FW.
snip

He may not have more than one AV active as a resident scanner, but some
AV apps interfere with each other if they are installed at all, even if
not resident in the background. Norton was one that caused that problem
for years. MSE specifies to uninstall other AV apps before installing
MSE.
 
K

Ken Blake, MVP

He isn't. He's using one AV and one FW.


Microsoft Security Essentials and AVG are both anti-virus programs.
Whether they are still both running, I don't know for sure, but it
certainly sounds like they were.
Ken Blake, Microsoft MVP
 
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B

Bob F

VanguardLH said:
Maybe overtemps are making the CPU throttle down. That means the CPU
gets slower so your computer gets slower.

When was the last time you blew out the exhaust ports where the air
escapes? When was the last time you opened the case to use a duster
to blow out all the dust that collects inside? Besides blocking air
flow, dust is a thermal insulator, not a thermal conductor, so it
deters heat conduction away from any components that it covers.

I have recently blown it out. I have not opened the case to dust elsewhere yet.

Let the laptop go cold. Turn it off (not low-power mode but OFF) and
let it sit unpowered for an hour. Then power it on. It should be a
short time the laptop runs at full speed before it overheats (unless
the exhaust ports are blocked which means it heats up pretty quickly
inside since the hot air cannot escape).

When you put your hand by the exhaust port, do you feel an air flow?
If not, the port could be blocked (by dust) or the fan doesn't work
or is running under the appropriate speed to get the hot air out.

There is air flow.

If it's not a dust or fan problem, and because it appears this has
been a long-time problem, maybe the clock speed or multiplier for the
CPU were not properly specified in the BIOS. You say it is an
occasional problem and yet you also say that months ago the
diagnostics took way too long to complete.

The Bios seems to have little that is controllable, but I will explore it again
looking for such settings.

The last time I had the complete stalling problem, Checking the Device Manager,
I saw yellow warnings by the 6to4 and Microsoft TUN miniport adapter #2. I
followed John
Will's suggestion on
http://forums.techguy.org/networking/592313-solved-6t04-adapter-fail.html.
 
B

Bob F

Microsoft Security Essentials and AVG are both anti-virus programs.
Whether they are still both running, I don't know for sure, but it
certainly sounds like they were.
Ken Blake, Microsoft MVP

Yes. Somehoe the MSE AV had gotten turned on, and that threw the system into
"interminable wait" state. Turning it off has ended that problem for now.

My current problem is the failure of the drive to pass the Seagate Seatools of
DOS drive test program. Both the origional drive and a substitute failed it with
timeout errors. The origional drive is a Toshiba. I cannot find a test program
specific for Toshiba. Last night, I ran an IBM/Hitachi Drive Fitness test from
the "Universal Boot CD", and it passed that. So, maybe I am just seeing a
problem with the Seagate Seatools for DOS test specific to this machine.

Another symptom showed up yesterday. I tried running a couple of "speed test"
programs for the internet connection. (Speedtest and Speakeasy) The laptop
failed the upload part of both the tests with an error something like "failed to
read upload file". This is getting me worried. I am running MesTest86+ right now
to check for memory problems, but that has never shown a problem before.

I should say that this laptop runs Vista. I asked the question in this group
because it is far more active than the Vista group, and the problem did not seem
to relate to the OS version at that time.
 
S

Stefan Patric

He isn't. He's using one AV and one FW.

What about MSE? MSE is an insidious piece of software: Even if turned
"off," it's still loaded and running. The only sure way to turn it off
is to totally remove it from the system with something like Revo
Uninstaller. The uninstaller that comes with Windows doesn't really
uninstall. It just removes references to the app from the menu, desktop,
etc. and doesn't physically erase the app's files. Also, references to
the app are still left in the Registry to screw things up.

Also, ZoneAlarm does has a version that is both an AV and FW. I don't
know which version the OP has. Do you?

Better to be thorough.
I think he's figured that out.

Didn't sound that way to me. At least, in the initial post I was
responding to. Maybe, in the later posts that I've yet to read today.
Or possibly a BIOS setting.

Possibly. But didn't the OP say he checked the BIOS and everything look
okay? In any event, I think it a remote possibility. The fact that the
laptop works fine most of the time is indicative of something else.
Seems likely. Does the computer seem to run fast when _not_ accessing
the disc (disc light not on)? Is it accessing the disc a lot - in task
manager, is the PF value above (pr near) the available RAM value a lot
of the time? If that's the case, it needs more RAM anyway, though that's
separate from any disc (or, as seems likely, disc controller) problem.
IME, such an action is likely to cost close to (or more than, if it's
old) the value of the machine; this is not a criticism of techs, they
have to make a living and working on laptops is extremely fiddly.

True, but a tech may have come across this problem before, and know how
to fix it. Or even if it's worth fixing. You won't know until you ask.
And usually a Q&A session doesn't cost anything.

Stef
 
K

Ken Blake, MVP

Yes. Somehoe the MSE AV had gotten turned on, and that threw the system into
"interminable wait" state. Turning it off has ended that problem for now.


If you just mean "for now," OK. But let me say that In my opinion
Microsoft Security Essentials is a much better choice than AVG. You've
turned the wrong one off.


And I don't understand the "somehow" in "Somehoe the MSE AV had gotten
turned on," You had to have installed it and turned it on. It doesn't
do it by itself.

Ken Blake, Microsoft MVP
 
G

glee

Stefan Patric said:
snip
What about MSE? MSE is an insidious piece of software: Even if turned
"off," it's still loaded and running. The only sure way to turn it
off
is to totally remove it from the system with something like Revo
Uninstaller. The uninstaller that comes with Windows doesn't really
uninstall. It just removes references to the app from the menu,
desktop,
etc. and doesn't physically erase the app's files. Also, references
to
the app are still left in the Registry to screw things up.
snip

I agree with most of your reply, but this is incorrect. The MSE
uninstaller routine does not JUST remove references and shortcuts in the
Start menu and Desktop. It deletes the files and folders, as well as
the Registry entries that affect the loading and running of MSE. The
few Registry entries that are left behind or references that have no
effect, not unlike many other uninstalls that leave a few harmless
entries.

Uninstalling with Revo won't even work unless the user has NOT yet used
the MSE uninstall routine. Revo tends to only work if the app is
currently installed.... it has a poor record for finding apps that have
already been removed with their native uninstall routine.
 
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G

glee

replies inline...

Bob F said:
snip
Yes. Somehoe the MSE AV had gotten turned on, and that threw the
system into "interminable wait" state. Turning it off has ended that
problem for now.

My current problem is the failure of the drive to pass the Seagate
Seatools of DOS drive test program. Both the origional drive and a
substitute failed it with timeout errors. The origional drive is a
Toshiba. I cannot find a test program specific for Toshiba. Last
night, I ran an IBM/Hitachi Drive Fitness test from the "Universal
Boot CD", and it passed that. So, maybe I am just seeing a problem
with the Seagate Seatools for DOS test specific to this machine.

Could be, if you are using the long test in Hitachi Drive Fitness Test
(DFT). I've found DFT to be the least troublesome and most accurate for
drives of different brands.

SeaTools will give a Long Test Time Out Failure for drives with
excessive retries. Excessive retries indicate a read problem, which
could be because of a drive problem, or a cable problem, or a controller
problem on the motherboard. If Hitachi DFT gives repeated passing marks
with its long test, the drive is *probably * OK.... but I would run a
couple of tests with HDTune anyway, and take a close look at the graph
during its Benchmark test.


Toshiba does not have its own downloadable bootable diagnostic. They
have a diagnostic for Fujitsu-branded drives only (they bought Fujitsu a
number of years ago). Use DFT.
Another symptom showed up yesterday. I tried running a couple of
"speed test" programs for the internet connection. (Speedtest and
Speakeasy) The laptop failed the upload part of both the tests with an
error something like "failed to read upload file". This is getting me
worried. I am running MesTest86+ right now to check for memory
problems, but that has never shown a problem before.
snip


Uninstall either AVG or MSE, don't just disable one. You could also be
seeing issues from ZoneAlarm, which has caused numerous problems
throughout its history. Actually, there is little justification for
running any 3rd party firewall instead of Windows' native firewall, on a
home computer. I would uninstall all but one AV, and ZoneAlarm, reboot,
and test the Internet speed. You can always reinstall ZoneAlarm if you
see no difference.
 
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S

Stefan Patric

I agree with most of your reply, but this is incorrect. The MSE
uninstaller routine does not JUST remove references and shortcuts in the
Start menu and Desktop. It deletes the files and folders, as well as
the Registry entries that affect the loading and running of MSE. The
few Registry entries that are left behind or references that have no
effect, not unlike many other uninstalls that leave a few harmless
entries.

The last time I had to uninstall MSE--it was several of years ago: a
client mistakenly installed it on his system--all the app uninstaller did
was call Windows Uninstaller, and all that was done was what I said
above. Of course, MSE was set not to run on startup. but the MSE
directory and all its files within remained. You could still load and
run it via "Run" giving the full path. I had to manually search the
system to really remove it and all its Registry stanzas. I've found this
to be the same when uninstalling other applications using the Windows
Uninstaller, a pretty ineffective utility. It was about this time I
discovered and started using the Revo Uninstaller which TOTALLY and
COMPLETELY uninstalls. Why the Windows Uninstaller fails to work this
way, I don't know, but I have my paranoid "Big Brother" suspicions. ;-)
Uninstalling with Revo won't even work unless the user has NOT yet used
the MSE uninstall routine. Revo tends to only work if the app is
currently installed.... it has a poor record for finding apps that have
already been removed with their native uninstall routine.

True. But I think you've misunderstood the intent of the Revo
uninstaller: It's not designed to find and remove the lingering parts of
an app uninstalled by another uninstaller run separately before running
Revo. The way it works is: First, it calls the uninstaller of the app
to be uninstalled, if there is one, or the Windows Uninstaller, if
there's not, then after that runs, Revo searches the system for ALL
remaining application parts and references, and removes those. The level
of uninstall can be set. IIRC there are four, each more thorough than
the previous.

An uninstaller is not a true uninstaller if parts of what was to be
uninstalled remain after the uninstallation is completed.

Stef
 

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