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  1. #1
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    Continuous hard-drive activity

    Windows XP disk activity


    A strange thing occurs just after midnight on my desktop. The hard drive becomes continuously active and slows down the computer to a crawl. Yet the CPU activity is very low and also memory is low when I start the task manager.


    This usually seems to happen after I finish watching a video from the drive. The video plays fine, but as soon as I close the VLC Player the computer goes very slow. It is almost impossible to open any new programs.


    The only way out is to restart the computer. It takes ages to close down, but starts up normally and then works fine.


    I have looked to see if the virus program is updating or scanning and it is not. Nothing else is running.


    It is strange this happens after midnight each time. Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    jwoods
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    There is a freeware program called What's My Computer Doing that is pretty helpful...

    http://www.itsth.com/en/produkte/Wha...g.php?fromwmcd

    Do you have any Scheduled Tasks that run after midnight? Any other self-updating software?
    Last edited by jwoods; 2015-04-10 at 17:49.

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  4. #3
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    You've got maintenances scheduled to start?
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
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  5. #4
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    First step: next time it happens, start Task Manager and see what's running.

  6. #5
    jwoods
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    The thing I like about What's My Computer Doing is that is focuses strictly on what is accessing the disk, and shows both current and past disk activity, including how long ago it occurred.

    You can also use the built-in snapshot tool (Freeze checkbox) to capture the list.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwoods View Post
    There is a freeware program called What's My Computer Doing that is pretty helpful...

    http://www.itsth.com/en/produkte/Wha...g.php?fromwmcd

    Do you have any Scheduled Tasks that run after midnight? Any other self-updating software?
    Thank you. I have installed this program and will now see what it shows next time the problem occurs.

  8. #7
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    Nothing is scheduled to start.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyl View Post
    First step: next time it happens, start Task Manager and see what's running.
    Yes, I tried Task Manager and nothing is running there apart from the standard Windows processes. Also, there is only very low CPU usage, between 3% and 14%, and very small memory usage. This is what is so strange. There seems to be minimal activity, yet the hard drive is continuously active and the computer brought to a crawl.

  10. #9
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Did What's My Computer Doing (suggestion from post #2) not show you any process(es) accessing the drive?

    (jwoods - thank you for the suggestion.)

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Corbett View Post
    Did What's My Computer Doing (suggestion from post #2) not show you any process(es) accessing the drive?

    (jwoods - thank you for the suggestion.)
    Thank you.

    Yes, I ran the program and it showed several programs accessing the drive intermittently. These were just brief access moments and appear to be standard Windows processes. I have yet to try this when the problem occurs, which I will attempt midnight tonight (in UK). I will then make a record off activities.

  12. #11
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    A couple of random thoughts: if your virtual memory is too small, or perhaps not best configured, I'd expect some HD thrashing after playing a video, especially if your physical memory itself is small. Also, the Indexing Service is a well-known disk-thrasher; most people turn it off.

  13. #12
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    As a matter of interest, you can make What's My Computer Doing into a portable utility by copying just the following 2 files from the program's installation folder:

    WhatsMyComputerDoing.exe
    QHTM.dll

    Hope this helps...

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  15. #13
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    Update for this problem.

    The continuous use of hard drive occurred again last night just after midnight wen I fished watching a video. The video was being viewed from an external drive. The continuous use is occurring on Drive C: I have a hard drive program that indicates the state of hard drives installed and this showed 100% continuous use of Drive C: little use of Drive E: and no use of the external drive.

    The What's My Computer Doing did not list any newer sources of activity than when the drive is acting normally.

    If I look at Ctl+Alt=Del there are no programs shown as running.

    Nothing is updating and there are no scheduled tasks running - nor any set to run at any time.

    I tried closing internet connection, closing Comodo Antivirus and Malwarebytes, all making no difference. But each one takes an age to shut down as the response of the computer is very slow when this problem is happening.

    Again, the only solution is to restart the computer. It then works normally.

    Thank for your suggestions so far.

  16. #14
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Are you suspending scanning by Comodo AV and Malwarebytes before viewing the video?

    If you aren't suspending these 'on access' malware scanners before viewing the video then it's most likely these are both scanning the I/O Reads of the video file(s) and swap file traffic caused by buffering the video (to prevent pauses/jittering, etc. of the video). This would cause continuous use of C: (i.e. the I/O Reads related to the malware scanner(s)' processes).

    Furthermore, What's My Computer Doing wouldn't show anything out of the ordinary because these I/O Reads/Writes are regular/constant activities of both malware scanners, the OS and whatever program you are using to view the video (Media Player? VLC?)... i.e. there would be no 'new' process to watch out for.

    As video files are usually large (e.g. ISO rips of DVD-sized films are often 4.7Gb) then completion of malware scanning can take a long time to complete.

    To check, temporarily disable your malware scanners (disconnect from the internet first) before viewing a video and see if it makes a difference.

    Hope this helps...
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2015-04-16 at 10:43.

  17. #15
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    Thank you. I will try turning off Antivirus and Malwarebytes before watching a video as you suggest. But don't forget this problem occurs only at midnight while a video is showing. So something happens as the computer changes date.

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