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Q: Hard Drive keeps running ( Answered,   5 Comments )
Subject: Hard Drive keeps running
Category: Computers
Asked by: pj55-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 28 Feb 2005 06:28 PST
Expires: 30 Mar 2005 06:28 PST
Question ID: 482212
my computers hard drive is constantly working and I cannot get
anything done? It was so bad that I did a restore back to factory
settings, and it is still doing the same. Is the hard drive shot, or
could a virus/bug have stayed on the drive? I have done everything,
ran Norton's utilities, and optimized it, which took all day, still
the hard drive light is on and I cant get any thing done?

Request for Question Clarification by siliconsamurai-ga on 28 Feb 2005 06:51 PST
what operating system and patch level? What applications are you
running and, if this is a Microsoft OS, what do you see when you look
at windows task manager, process, and click on CPU to bring up the
most active process?

Clarification of Question by pj55-ga on 28 Feb 2005 07:32 PST
My OS is XP Home, I have 512 memory, I loaded SV2 and misc. security
upgrades from MS. CPU Processes are high at 90 - 96

Request for Question Clarification by legolas-ga on 28 Feb 2005 08:42 PST
It's not the hard drive. It's a virus or spyware. Have you done a
virus scan? Have you scanned for adware/malware?

Subject: Re: Hard Drive keeps running
Answered By: siliconsamurai-ga on 01 Mar 2005 07:53 PST
Hi, thank you for submitting your question to Answers.Google, I hope I
can provide the information you are seeking.

What you have is likely a multi-part problem. It may be malware, it
may be a hardware problem specific to XP, it may be both.

The good news is that there IS something wrong with XP which is
probably at least partially responsible for your problem. Even better
it is easy to fix this bug and I will describe it and how to fix it

But, first, you need to learn about something called system restore so
you can shut it off. Otherwise any problems you remove may just get
loaded right back into your system.

Look in Start, MyComputer, Properties, System Restore if you are
comfortable doing this, otherwise see this site for specific
directions on disabling and re-enabling system restore;en-us;310405

Next, download and run a good anti-spyware tool. Don?t worry, some of
the best are free for personal use.

Start with ad-aware

Install it and run it, then delete anything which looks questionable.

If you don?t want to do that for some reason, go to
where you can run an online scan.

Run a good anti-virus program. If you don?t have one with current
signatures, try an online scan.

Panda has recently added anti-spyware scans so you might want to try
this first but I haven?t evaluated it personally. Their antivirus
tools are excellent.

Now, you need to defrag your hard drive. I know you did it once or
more, but do it again, or at least check to see if it might be useful.

You may also have an overloaded startup sequence, that is, too many
programs running.

You will find 4,517 programs which might be loaded in your startup at

Clean out your system.

The way to start this process is to go to 
Run MSConfig, a good basic troubleshooting tool. See the Microsoft
Knowledge Base Article 310560 at;en-us;310560&Product=winxp

See for simple instructions on using msconfig.

You will find more information on troubleshooting XP problems at;en-us;1173

There is a specific support page for XP Home

Now, if you have already done all of those things, you probably don?t
need to do them again right away, just proceed as follows:

In addition to the disk fragmentation problem and an overloaded
startup sequence, you have a unique OS bug that can really slow things
down on some XP systems.
For an IDE drive interface?the one on most computers these days?the
fastest way to load files into memory is direct memory access.
Unfortunately, XP will sooner or later boot with DMA disabled, and
when it does, every bit of data has to go through the CPU, which slows
everything down.
Open Start, Settings, Control Panel, System Properties, Hardware,
Device Manager, IDE/ATAPI controllers. Go to the Primary or Secondary
IDE Channel, Advanced Settings. Select ?DMA if available.?

This can also be a problem on other operating systems but XP has a
specific bug which can cause the computer to change this setting
without warning.

For more on this kind of problem you might check out

Thank you again for turning to Answers.Google for help. I have
experienced exactly the problem you describe and it was the XP bug
which had caused a new setting. By the way, there is also a way to add
a second hard drive in XP systems in a way that they can take over
some of the page memory functions and that will improve performance
but that won?t fix your particular problem
Subject: Re: Hard Drive keeps running
From: barnacle_bill-ga on 28 Feb 2005 07:23 PST
I spent 2 weeks and a day working on a problem similar to this, didn't
get it sorted, went to the local computer shop bought a new hard drive
and had the data I could get to copied over in 10 mins.

Sometimes you just know when a peice of kit has walked its last walk. 
If time is not a problem keep looking, if money is not an option then
buy a new hard drive.

Subject: Re: Hard Drive keeps running
From: siliconsamurai-ga on 28 Feb 2005 08:52 PST
As a computer security expert, I hate to admit it, but barnacle's
suggestion is probably the best solution.

Certainly I could fix it here, but it would cost a lot more than a new
hard drive. The other option is a reformat after you have safely
backed up all the data if you know how to do that.

You do realize that there is an automatic restore in XP which can
simply be restoring your malware each time you restart?
Subject: Re: Hard Drive keeps running
From: barnacle_bill-ga on 28 Feb 2005 09:07 PST
One thing you could do is see which process is hogging all the CPU and
try ending it, might be worth making sure its nothing essential

Subject: Re: Hard Drive keeps running
From: phossil-ga on 28 Feb 2005 09:45 PST
probably your hard drive has a conflict with another device in your
computer, i.e. cd-rom, etc.


you have a resident process consuming your hard disk access, probably
a kind of a virus or something.

Go check in your regedit for any inusual program that starts when the os starts.

I hope it helps.
Subject: Re: Hard Drive keeps running
From: grthumongous-ga on 28 Feb 2005 23:11 PST
Yet another of many possibilities is that the Windows Indexing Service
is running, a "feature" that some would call a cure worse than the

Go to MyComputer --> <right-click> on the HardDrive icon
select Properties

If the checkmark is ticked for the option "Allow Indexing Service" then
UNcheck it and reboot. 
Repeat the inspection of MyComputer to verify that the service is still OFF
and determine if the hard drive activity is reduced.

There are actually many third-party products that index files on your
harddrive for easier retrieval without taxing your hardware. Some
factors to consider are performance, file types they support, cost,

Doing a Gword Sengine search:
<xp desktop indexing>


Here is one example of many hits:

And of course the creators of this GA facility also have a free
desktop search tool.

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