WinXP 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

R

Roberto

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.

Just a thought, do you have the Indexing Service turned on ?.
to check :Winkey+r > services.msc

rgds
Roberto
 
W

witan

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.


Just a long shot: have you checked your "event viewer" logs? I am
suggesting this because of a recent experience. The disk light on my
computer would also remain lit for several minutes, particularly when
running Opera Browser, Firefox browser, or Copernic desktop search, all
three of which I had installed on D: drive. The Event log showed disk
error, "bad block" on D:. Eventually, the disk started developing bad
sectors on the D: partition, and I decided to get a new disk.
I hope your problem may not be a bad disk, but it is better to check it
out.
 
O

Omicron

Well, for whatever it is worth, I "resolved" the problem with one easy
step:
I removed Norton Security/AntiVirus software (latest version, whatever
number that is).
Problem completely gone.
Amazing.
And, yes, I did try re-installing. Problem came right back;
Un-installed it again....problem gone.
Therefore, it stays un-installed. I've not had such a problem with any
of the Symantec products in the past, so I did not think to look to
this software as the root of the evil.
I downloaded AntiVir (free antivirus software) and turned on Windows XP
firewall.
My friend (who owns the machine I've been writing about) is thrilled.
His computer is flying again.
I don't proclaim to understand the WHY of the problem. But it is gone.
Thanks to ALL who sent me answers and suggestions.
Regards.
 
R

Rock

Well, for whatever it is worth, I "resolved" the problem with one easy
step:
I removed Norton Security/AntiVirus software (latest version, whatever
number that is).
Problem completely gone.
Amazing.
And, yes, I did try re-installing. Problem came right back;
Un-installed it again....problem gone.
Therefore, it stays un-installed. I've not had such a problem with any
of the Symantec products in the past, so I did not think to look to
this software as the root of the evil.
I downloaded AntiVir (free antivirus software) and turned on Windows XP
firewall.
My friend (who owns the machine I've been writing about) is thrilled.
His computer is flying again.
I don't proclaim to understand the WHY of the problem. But it is gone.
Thanks to ALL who sent me answers and suggestions.
Regards.


I would recommend a 3rd party software firewall in place of XP's. There is
Zone Alarm (free and paid), Sunbelt Software's Kerio Personal Firewall ( low
cost) and Comodo Personal firewall (free).
 
K

Ken Blake, MVP

Omicron said:
Well, for whatever it is worth, I "resolved" the problem with one easy
step:
I removed Norton Security/AntiVirus software (latest version, whatever
number that is).
Problem completely gone.
Amazing.


There's nothing amazing about removing Norton products fixing problems. It's
a common occurence.

I've not had such a problem with any of the Symantec products in the
past, so I
did not think to look to this software as the root of the evil.


Well, I wouldn't say *all* evil, but ... ;-)
 
Ad

Advertisements

G

Guest

Ken Blake said:
There's nothing amazing about removing Norton products fixing problems. It's
a common occurence.

Ken, I have the same problem. It is a Dell XPS 400--virus free. I don't
have Norton.
I use McAfee. The hard drive has been thrashing for a half hour. I can't
pinpoint any program that brings it on. Any other ideas?
 
Ad

Advertisements

K

Ken Blake, MVP

EllenR said:
Ken, I have the same problem. It is a Dell XPS 400--virus free. I
don't have Norton.
I use McAfee. The hard drive has been thrashing for a half hour. I
can't pinpoint any program that brings it on. Any other ideas?


In my view, next to Norton, McAfee is the worst anti-virus product on the
market.

It's very difficult to diagnose a problem like this with so little
information, but I do note that although you say it's virus-free, you don't
say anything about spyware. Spyware infestation (which isn't caught by
anti-virus software) is a greater and greater concern these days. Unless you
actively run at least two or more anti-spyware programs, I think your first
step should be to rule out any possible of malware infestation. So I
recommend that you go to Malke's Malware Removal site at
http://www.elephantboycomputers.com/page2.html#Removing_Malware and follow
the instructions there.
 

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