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Q: Continuous hard drive activity in XP ( No Answer,   6 Comments )
Subject: Continuous hard drive activity in XP
Category: Computers > Operating Systems
Asked by: heavylee-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 13 Jan 2003 05:22 PST
Expires: 19 Jan 2003 07:43 PST
Question ID: 141993
Hi.  I recently upgraded my home system from Windows 2000 to Windows
XP Pro SP1.  This is my problem.  A few minutes after the screen saver
engages (which is set for 10 min), the hard drive begins to crank
continuously.  This even continues when the monitor is turned off
after 20 min by the power management system.  A few moments after I
begin to use the machine again, it stops and returns to normal
behavior.  It doesn't matter if any programs are open, or not.  I only
have a firewall and antivirus program running in the system tray.  I
have DSL service from my local phone company, but my icon in the
system tray for the firewall does not indicate any network traffic, as
it does when I am on the Net.  I tried changing the screen saver to do
a different saver, but nothing changed.
On one occassion, I had the CPU meter up and when this strange
behavior began, it read a solid 100%, and in the Processes tab in the
Windows Task Manager the process "cpuidle.exe" was taking up 95% of
the CPU cycles.  I closed that Process and it stopped.  However, it
still does this regardless of cpuidle.exe running or not.
Ok, I tried an experiment while writing this description.  I disabled
the screen saver by choosing "none" in the list, but left the 20 min
monitor power-off setting in place.  Then I let the computer sit idle.
 About 15 minutes later, the computer started cranking away like
before.  So I have a feeling that it doesn't have anything to do with
the screen saver.  I already checked, there is no spyware/adware or
CPU-sharing program on my computer (that I can find in the start menu,
add/remove programs or registry) that is set to kick-in after a
certain amount of idle time.
After performing the upgrade, I installed all the available patches
from the Windows Update website.  Other than installing then
uninstalling XP PLus!, upgrading Norton Anti-Virus 2002 to 2003 and
installing Nero, I have installed or changed absolutely
nothing else besides the OS, and obviously it didn't do this before
the upgrade.  I have no other problems, and I have been using this
machine for many trouble-free years.
My home-made system is a PIII 500, 384MB RAM, 15GB & 20GB HDs, PCI
NIC, PCI soundcard, AGP video card, PCI modem (not being used).  I've
searched Google Answers with the string "xp 'hard drive'" and no
relavent articles were returned.
I am not sure how to value this question, so if you provide me with a
successful solution and mention that the pricing wasn't enough, I will
consider giving you a large tip.
Thank you.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Continuous hard drive activity in XP
From: seizer-ga on 14 Jan 2003 16:31 PST
Sorry heavylee, but I'm stumped. I've emailed the Google Editors,
requesting that they remove my answer in order to let somebody else
take a crack at things.

For future researchers of this question, it is NOT the Indexing
Service (it's disabled).

All the best, and sorry I couldn't help you further.

Subject: Re: Continuous hard drive activity in XP
From: heavylee-ga on 14 Jan 2003 18:53 PST
Thank you for your efforts, Seizer, I appreciate it.  I hope that
somebody will be able to find a successful solution.
Subject: Re: Continuous hard drive activity in XP
From: mrbuzz-ga on 15 Jan 2003 19:41 PST
I'm having this problem on my laptop too.  It's related to defrag.exe.
 I ran task manager one day and turned off the screensaver and watched
it.  When the computer is idle, defrag.exe pops into the task list and
begins to defrag the harddrive.  I haven't done any extensive research
on how to stop this behavior but my prelim results is that apparently
not many winxp machines experience this.

One interesting item to note is that heavylee said that it only
affected his xp home machine.  My laptop was originally xp home and I
upgraded it to xp pro.  I wonder if it's something to do with
defrag.exe in xp home.  Hopefully we'll get to the bottom of this

Subject: Re: Continuous hard drive activity in XP
From: mrbuzz-ga on 15 Jan 2003 19:54 PST
OK, I might have a possible fix.  I don't have my laptop here with me
and my other xp systems do not have this problem so I'm unable to test

Heavylee, if you can try this, I'd appreciate it.  This fix involves
setting a key in the registry.  To do this, simple copy the contents
below into a file and name it fix.reg:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


Once you've copied the above into that .reg file, double click it and
have it add it to the registry.  I'm not sure if you need to reboot to
have it take effect but reboot anyway.  Then see if you still get that
hd activity after 20 minutes idle.  I will be watching this thread for
your reply.

Subject: Re: Continuous hard drive activity in XP
From: heavylee-ga on 16 Jan 2003 06:37 PST
Mr Buzz-
I appreciate your efforts.  However, both machines at work and at home
have XP Pro.  I guess it got a little confusing when I said XP AT
home, not XP home.
In regards to the registry edit, I don't know if I am comfortable with
doing that.  I will have to see if I am left with any other options.
As for the defrag.exe, I haven't seen that in my list of processes at
anytime that this behavior has occured.

I do have Norton AV installed and running, so I will check for Nopdb
in my services and let you know.
Subject: Re: Continuous hard drive activity in XP
From: mrbuzz-ga on 16 Jan 2003 18:55 PST
Hi heavylee-ga,

My bad....I thought I read XP home somewhere.  Anyway, for me the
defrag.exe disappears quite quickly once you move your mouse so unless
you had task manager open and your screensaver disabled, you might not
catch it.  What I did was have task manager sort the tasks in order by
name to see the defrag pop up after a bit of inactivity.

As for the registry change.  You should probably try my way of using
task manager w/o screensaver to see if it IS defrag causing your hd
seek.  If it is, then this registry key is probably the only known way
to disable it.


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