100% Disk Active Time



  • I have a Dell Pentium D that I've loaded Windows 7 on.  For some reason, it keeps pegging the Disk Active Time, even though it's not transferring anything.  When it does this, the whole system becomes nonresponsive.  Mouse still works, though.

    I did some googling, and most people seem to have solved this by replacing the hard drive.  I tried that and it didn't work.

    Could it be the SATA controller on the board, or something else?

    Thanks.



  • Do you have S.M.A.R.T enabled?



  • AFAIK, it is.  I haven't done anything to disable it.



  • If it's on that should say if your harddrive is failing.



  • @Metu69salemi:

    If it's on that should say if your harddrive is failing.

    AFAIK, it's not.  And this is the second hard drive that's doing it.  Only in this machine, though.

    I'll check the SMART data and see what it says.


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    check the output of:

    vmstat -i

    Something could be sharing an interrupt with the hdd controller so it's not correctly reading the disk active time or somesuch.



  • @jimp:

    check the output of:

    vmstat -i

    Something could be sharing an interrupt with the hdd controller so it's not correctly reading the disk active time or somesuch.

    Pretty sure that won't work in Windows 7. :)


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    Ah yeah I missed the "windows 7" bit. Silly me assumed pfSense on the pfSense forum :-)

    Could be anything then - windows search indexing, swap file paging, etc.

    Sysinternals is your friend. Between Process Explorer and things like DiskMon you can track down pretty much anything.



  • @jimp:

    Ah yeah I missed the "windows 7" bit. Silly me assumed pfSense on the pfSense forum :-)

    That's why I posted it in General Discussion rather than Hardware. :)

    @jimp:

    Could be anything then - windows search indexing, swap file paging, etc.

    Not AFAIK.  I haven't seen behavior like this on any other W7 machine.  The results of my googling indicated that replacing the HD fixed the problem, but it didn't in my case.  So I was hoping people had other ideas.

    @jimp:

    Sysinternals is your friend. Between Process Explorer and things like DiskMon you can track down pretty much anything.

    I'll give that a try.  The weird part is that it's not showing that anything is being transferred.  So I'm not sure why the drive is hanging like that.


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    Could be some kind of "green" feature of the drive/controller misbehaving… A lot more weird stuff can go on with Windows there. Could be the driver, a setting on the driver, could be something in the BIOS... who knows.

    Watching the SMART values with something like HDTune may help, but just because SMART says the disk is OK doesn't always mean it's true.



  • The new drive I swapped in is a 400GB WD.  I downloaded the WD tools to check the drive(which was a feat in itself as the drive kept hiccuping).  It said the extended tests would take 40 hours to complete.

    I need to download and burn the cd version as well and see if I have the same issues.  I checked Dells site to see if there were W7 drivers, but the machine is only supported for XP.



  • So apparently it's a driver setting or somesuch.  I left the WD tool to run and came back to find the machine had gone to sleep.  So I changed the power setting to high power so it wouldn't sleep anymore.

    The pauses disappeared.

    So now I need to figure out what setting in the power options is making it act that way.


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