Windows XP Pro & Disk Thrashing


O

Omicron

The system is a Dell desktop (an 8100) running at 1.4 GHz with 512MB
RAM and 12 GB free HD space on a 20 GB drive. Fully registered Windows
XP Pro SP2 is the OS (all patches and critical updates installed).

Drives are fully Defragged. Updated Norton AV. No AdWare detected by
AdAware and A-Squared. The Cleaner says there are no Trojans. A few
online scans from several sites (Penecillin; Micro; McAfee; etc)
indicate that there is nothing lurking about. Temp files are cleaned
out, as are any downloaded Internet files.

With the above conditions, I had the swap file set so that Windows
could control it. On initial boot-up, thrashing was not an issue.
However, after a little use of such things such as IE6 and/or Office
Word 2000, disk thrashing became impossible. The HD light would remain
on and the system became almost useless. Windows Task Manager indicated
almost an endless movement of memory from RAM to Swap file and back.
Therefore, the HD was on almost constantly and the system slowed to a
stand-still. Shutting down all applications did not stop the problem.
Background processes showed nothing unusually running. Playing with
recommended combinations of virtual memory settings and then re-booting
showed virtually no improvement whatsoever.

So, I installed a second HD. The Swap file (pagefile.sys) now resides
on a second, 1.1 GB hard drive. This drive is dedicated solely for the
virtual memory. Per several directions I have received, I have a very
small swap file set up on the main C: drive (2 MB min and 50 MB max)
and then have this other 1.1 GB drive set up to allow Windows to use it
as it deems appropriate.
This has showed very, very little improvement to the above noted
problem.
I then eliminated the small virtual memory setup on the C: drive and
left it all on the second 1.1 GB drive. Still no improvement. The drive
light goes on after a very short time of using the system (doesn't seem
to make any difference what software I run) and then thrashes and runs
almost constantly, for 10 to 15 minutes at a time! I've played with
numerous incantations of swap file settings based on website
suggestions and Usenet messages. Nothing seems to make a difference.

I've gone into Control Panel->
Systems->Advanced->Performance->Settings->Advanced and changed the
Memory Usage from Programs to System Cache; still no improvement.

I've disconnected my Internet connection and shut down Norton AV. No
help at all.
I have tried other things as well. Nothing.
I'm lost.
The system is all but useless when the drive starts this activity.
Can anyone please suggest something reasonable for me to try that I
haven't already attempted?

I've run lesser systems with WinXP, with less RAM and similar HD space
and have NOTHING like this ever happen.
Any help would be much appreciated.
Thank you.
 
Ad

Advertisements

T

Trooper

A few things to consider....
1. How old is the HD used to hold the OS? If the drive is older, you
may have errors on the drive that the OS is trying to work around.
2. Have you tried turning off Indexing on the drive?
3. Have you tried turning off System Restore on the drive?

All above will impact drive usage, not to mention other programs
running like Office, and Definately Norton!
 
O

Omicron

Hi Trooper,
I don't think the age of the OS-housed HD is an issue.
However, I'll certainly try turning off Indexing and Restore.
Thanks for your time.
 
J

Jim

Omicron said:
Hi Trooper,
I don't think the age of the OS-housed HD is an issue.
However, I'll certainly try turning off Indexing and Restore.
Thanks for your time.
How do you know that the drive does not have any bad sectors? While an old
drive may be more likely to have bad sectors, these things can happen at any
time. Thrashing can be caused by Windows trying to find enough good
sectors.
Jim
 
Ad

Advertisements

R

Ron Martell

Omicron said:
The system is a Dell desktop (an 8100) running at 1.4 GHz with 512MB
RAM and 12 GB free HD space on a 20 GB drive. Fully registered Windows
XP Pro SP2 is the OS (all patches and critical updates installed).

Drives are fully Defragged. Updated Norton AV. No AdWare detected by
AdAware and A-Squared. The Cleaner says there are no Trojans. A few
online scans from several sites (Penecillin; Micro; McAfee; etc)
indicate that there is nothing lurking about. Temp files are cleaned
out, as are any downloaded Internet files.

With the above conditions, I had the swap file set so that Windows
could control it. On initial boot-up, thrashing was not an issue.
However, after a little use of such things such as IE6 and/or Office
Word 2000, disk thrashing became impossible. The HD light would remain
on and the system became almost useless. Windows Task Manager indicated
almost an endless movement of memory from RAM to Swap file and back.
Therefore, the HD was on almost constantly and the system slowed to a
stand-still. Shutting down all applications did not stop the problem.
Background processes showed nothing unusually running. Playing with
recommended combinations of virtual memory settings and then re-booting
showed virtually no improvement whatsoever.

So, I installed a second HD. The Swap file (pagefile.sys) now resides
on a second, 1.1 GB hard drive. This drive is dedicated solely for the
virtual memory. Per several directions I have received, I have a very
small swap file set up on the main C: drive (2 MB min and 50 MB max)
and then have this other 1.1 GB drive set up to allow Windows to use it
as it deems appropriate.
This has showed very, very little improvement to the above noted
problem.
I then eliminated the small virtual memory setup on the C: drive and
left it all on the second 1.1 GB drive. Still no improvement. The drive
light goes on after a very short time of using the system (doesn't seem
to make any difference what software I run) and then thrashes and runs
almost constantly, for 10 to 15 minutes at a time! I've played with
numerous incantations of swap file settings based on website
suggestions and Usenet messages. Nothing seems to make a difference.

I've gone into Control Panel->
Systems->Advanced->Performance->Settings->Advanced and changed the
Memory Usage from Programs to System Cache; still no improvement.

I've disconnected my Internet connection and shut down Norton AV. No
help at all.
I have tried other things as well. Nothing.
I'm lost.
The system is all but useless when the drive starts this activity.
Can anyone please suggest something reasonable for me to try that I
haven't already attempted?

I've run lesser systems with WinXP, with less RAM and similar HD space
and have NOTHING like this ever happen.
Any help would be much appreciated.
Thank you.

Check for actual swap file usage with this free utility written by MVP
Bill James: http://www.dougknox.com/xp/utils/xp_pagefilemon.htm
That will show you how much actual valid memory content has been
relocated from RAM to the page file. With the information that you
have provided and with your computer having 512 mb of RAM I suspect
that there not be very much. However if the utility does show over
50 mb of actual page file usage on a regular basis then that is an
indication that you would benefit from an increased amount of RAM.

Hope this is of some assistance.

Good luck

Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
--
Microsoft MVP (1997 - 2006)
On-Line Help Computer Service
http://onlinehelp.bc.ca
Syberfix Remote Computer Repair

"Anyone who thinks that they are too small to make a difference
has never been in bed with a mosquito."
 

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Top