Slow Hard Drive

August 11, 2010 at 10:14:02
Specs: Windows XP, 1.0Gb
I have a Seagate ST 3120026A HD in an HP desktop using XP SP 3 that is running very slowly. I defraged, ran SeaTools, malware and virus software but it is still slow. I called HP and they said I needed to do a restore that would erase all of my data and applications. I can back up data to an EHD but what about the applications (which HP told me could not be backed up)? Most of them were by downloads so I don't have the disks or any other information. Is there a way that I could back up the applications so after using the HP utility disks to reimage the HD, I could restore them to the HD? Thank you.

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August 11, 2010 at 10:45:43
There are some reasons why a hard drive could run slow. That said, how did you determine your hard drive is actually running slow?

You mention the things you ran but didn't mention the findings.

YOur drive is an IDE drive. Go to Device manager> IDE ATA ATAPI controllers. Select IDE primary master and you can view what mode the controller is running in. Post back with info.

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August 11, 2010 at 10:51:53
How much free space is left on the HDD? How many programs load at startup & run in the background sucking the life out of the system? Which anti-v program are you running? When's the last time you dumped all the accumulated internet garbage files?

Try installing & running CCleaner-Slim:

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August 11, 2010 at 10:54:37
The ST3120026A is a 120GB IDE/ATA100 7200 RPM HDD with 8MB buffer.

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Related Solutions

August 11, 2010 at 11:10:33
hdd specs is fine (not slow). Try jam advice.

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August 11, 2010 at 11:13:28
If the chip set drivers are not installed the IDE drive could be running in PIO mode.

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August 11, 2010 at 11:41:59
you are right but i believe the system works fine before. Many issues i have encountered (pc running slow), it was due to many garbage in the system.

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August 11, 2010 at 11:51:44
I agree with that assessment. I just asked the OP to see what mode the controller is running in. If a DMA mode then the hard drive is not the issue. Notice my very first question was how do you know the drive is slow.

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August 12, 2010 at 05:38:42
I want to thank everyone who responded. I'll try to answer your questions in this one post. I used Ad-aware and removed the "junk" that it requested. I used AVG and it said there were no viruses. I used Defraggler and it showed 3% and I did the defrag. At startup, there are 41 processes. I have 78.6 Gb free space on the HD and am using NTFS. The device manager listed Intel(R) 82801ED Ultra ATA Storage Controller- 24D1 and 24D8. It also listed Primary IDE Channel twice and Secondary IDE Channel twice. I think the drive is slow because the hourglass can stay visible for 45 to 60 seconds before I get the file that I had clicked on.

I did some additional reading. What about this approach? I buy a new disk drive, and use Seagate DiskWizard to clone the old drive onto the new one. The directions with DiskWizard says it will copy everything, operating system, registry, data and most important my applications. Is this correct? Thank you.

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August 12, 2010 at 09:22:01
You didn't dig far enough into the listings for the controllers. There are listings that tell you what mode the drive is currently operating under. A defective drive would NOT operate in any DMA mode.

That said, before replacing any drives you should run a hard drive fitness test from Seagate. You can download the file from their website and burn to CDR. Or you may be ableto run it from withing Windows.

Adaware is old news. Use Ccleaner Slim as jam listed. Adaware doesn't perform all the same things as Ccleaner.

I am currently running Windows 7 so I can't give you the detailed steps to check your mode and to test the drive speed. All that can be done right in Device manager. I will check in WinXP a little later and if someone else hasn't posted the details I will.

You have never explained why you think your hard drive is defective. You are equating a slow computer to a slow hard drive. This is not necessarily so.

Forget what HP techs told you. Level one tech support is all about re-installing the OS.

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August 12, 2010 at 12:15:30
your problem is that you are running windows xp. just kidding.

your problem is 41 processes. my computer only has 29 at startup and mine runs alittle slow until i get rid of all the unneeded processes. can you give me a list of your processes?

also, you can try going to the start menu, programs, accessories, system tools, disk cleanup. if it shows multiple harddrives, choose c: as this is the most common boot drive. you are okay to delete downloaded program files, temporary internet files, old chkdsk files (if this even shows up), recycle bin files, temporary files, webclient/publisher temporary files (if this even shows up, temporary offline files, offline files, and last, catalog files for the content indexer. this will clean any possible computer viruses that may be stored in these directories and also free up useful disk space. for example, i ran this program last week and i already have 60 mb of stuff to be deleted.

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August 12, 2010 at 12:32:31

I used CCleaner and removed whatever "junk" it found. I downloaded SeaTools and ran all of the basic tests; each one was 'Pass". The primary IDE channel: Device 0 current transfer mode was "Ultra DMA Mode 5. For Device 1 and both devices for the second primary channel the current transfer mode was "Not applicable".

You are correct in that I am equating a slow computer to a slow hard drive; that's is because I don't know enough about them.

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August 12, 2010 at 12:38:38

Thank you for your response. I cleaned up the files as best as I could using DiskCleanup and CCleaner. In regard to the startup files, I noticed that they are listed in three columns: Startup items, Command, and Location. How can I get you the info you want? Should I enter it in a post here?
Thanks again.

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August 12, 2010 at 12:54:35
i meant press ctrl + alt + del and go to task manager. click on processes and give me a list of your processes there. it will be listed as image name. sorry i was a little unclear.

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August 12, 2010 at 13:10:18
There is nothing wrong with your hard drive. It is running in the DMA mode it should be and it passed a fitness test.

You may just be loading too many items at start up. That is what August is trying to determine.

Somethings things like programs to check for updates each time the computer is started are installed. That is not necessary. Actually, I am of the school that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Most program updates serve not useful purpose for most users. Windows updates are different.

Some anti-virus software may run each time the computer is booted. While it may be desirable to monitor for nasties in real time, some programs that do that are resource hogs.

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August 12, 2010 at 13:40:20
august is the month i posted in. jz is my username.

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August 12, 2010 at 13:44:08
Sorry about that jz.

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August 12, 2010 at 14:05:42
its okay. it was a mistake anyone could have made with the short username i have

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August 12, 2010 at 17:15:03

Here is the list of processes that you had requested: avgnsx, avgwdsvc, AAWTray, taskmgr, alg, wmiprvse, unsecapp, TFTray, shellmon, explorer, wanmpsvc, spoolsv, avgcsrvx, avgrsx, avgchsvx, AAWService, svchost, svchost, TFService, svchost, svchost, svchost, svchost, lsass, services, winlogon, csrss, HPZipm12, smss, jqs, mDNSResponder, AppleMobieDevice, mainserv, AOLacsd, waol, ctfmon, svchost, aolsoftware, system and System Idel Process.

Thank you.

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August 12, 2010 at 20:10:27
Brian W

I see a number of questionable entries there.

In order, I would lose Adaware and use Ccleaner instead.

I don't use AVG anti-virus but I am wondering why there are five different processes for it. Look at the links below about AVG processes.

mainserv is a process related to an APC-Uninterruptable Power Supply. Do you use one?

Do you still use AOL?

In addition to viewing the running processes llok at the percent of CPU cycles each is using.

When doing nothing system idle should be at about 98%. That is normal.

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August 13, 2010 at 06:18:03

I'll get rid of Adware and use CCleaner. I do have a APC Uninteruptable Power Supply and I use AOL.. The System Idle runs at 97-99%.

I use AVG; can you recommend another one?

I looked at the link you provided. As you know they do a scan (it said there were 402 issues) and then ask you to buy Registry Booster. Is this a program I should have?

I have 1Gb; would going to 2Gb help to resolve this problem? Or is the issue the startup processes and not RAM size?

Thank you.

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August 13, 2010 at 09:33:02
When looking at all the listed processed in task manager there are memory values associated with each one. That is the amount of memory being used for each of the processes.

After adding up all that memory and subtracting it from the 1GB you arrive at the available RAM.

In your case you have more entries (used memory) than a typical fresh installation of WinXP.

Certainly more RAM can't hurt and may greatly improve performance. I am currently using Windows 7 and I can't recall exactly where to find the available RAM numbers in WinXP. There is a way to look it up without the need to add up the process use.

If memory serves correctly you go to Start> help and support. There are listings on the left related to the system.

In regard to the second link above. I only wanted you to read the comments, not necessarily subscribe to the service. Some comments indicate the process is using lots of resources.

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August 13, 2010 at 16:10:13

Thank you for your assistance. I really don't know what can be eliminated from Start up processes without causing a major problem; so I am going to leave then as is and try to resolve the issue by upgrading the RAM from 1Gb to 2Gb. Thanks again.

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August 13, 2010 at 16:17:18
Let us know how that works out.

Did you try finding how much free RAM you have?

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August 14, 2010 at 05:41:34

I have about 470K free RAM. I'll post another email after I install the additional RAM.

Thank you.

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September 1, 2010 at 05:49:26

I increased RAM from 1 Gb to 2Gb and it now appears that the computer is running faster. Thank you for your assistance.

Brian W

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