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Thread: Excessive HDD activity on Startup

  1. #1
    Senior Member Easto's Avatar
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    Question Excessive HDD activity on Startup

    One of the computers in the house is doing something that I just cannot figure out. It's about an 8 year old Dell, has a 3 year old installation of Windows 10 on it and for all intents and purposes it runs great, except for once you're booted into windows.

    At startup, and about 95% of the time, the hard drive runs at 100% for 2 to 3 minutes. Opening or using any program during this time is painful. I have checked to make sure that Windows Defender wasn't running along with my copy of bit defender. In the task manager, if you look at the performance tab, my hard drive will be pegged at 100%. If I then check under the processes tab, there does not seem to be anything excessive. I have rebooted the computer on several occasions while observing the processes and performance tabs in the task manager but I just don't see anything. Also, I've gone down the checklist of the remedial points like the startup tab etc.

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    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    The Task Manager should provide some more info... In the list of processes, sort by disk usage (just click on the "Disk" heading). Also, under the "Performance" tab, tick the appropriate disk in the left column, then at the bottom open "Resource Monitor", it should list processes with disk activity and show more info on them.

    If the amount of data is not much, it could be the HDD going bad (having issue reading some sectors, etc.), but I'd rule out other options first.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Easto's Avatar
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    I originally did what you outlined and didn't see any unusual activity. I din't think of checking the resource monitor so I will do that next. I haven't heard any unusual noises coming from the drive.

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    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    I'd also check if defragment is running on the drive, or anti-virus scan. If there is nothing apparent, it is possible that it just appears slow while loading apps into RAM, staring programs that just minimize to the system tray, etc.

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    Senior Member Easto's Avatar
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    It seems that BitDefender is being overzealous in its updating and checking for updates. I'm going to keep an eye on it for a little while. Thanks for all the suggestions!

    The latest windows updates also started initiating Skype on startup. Virtually everything on startup has been shut down. No weird .exe's running.

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    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    Lately I just use Microsoft Defender, most other anti-virus programs seem to bog down computers noticeably, both CPU and i/o it seems.

  7. #7
    That also happened to me very often until I haven't got an SSD. Maybe it's worth considering removing BitDefender, setting up Windows Defender (which is surprisingly good) and getting a small storage SSD to help your HDD when you move the system.

    You may also want to consider O&O Shutup10 to get rid of telemetry and other junk you don't use. I've tried it out and it improved my performance even more!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Easto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philip View Post
    Lately I just use Microsoft Defender, most other anti-virus programs seem to bog down computers noticeably, both CPU and i/o it seems.
    My 2 month update. I removed BitDefender and I'm running MS Defender. The premium trial version of Malwarebytes was also consuming quite a lot on startup. I downgraded it to the standard version. Everything seems to be playing well together now. As best as can be expected with an I3 cpu. I still think there may be a physical problem with the HDD, but for now it's running good. At least now I can transfer all my granddaughter's pictures from the laptop and attempt a total clean install.

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    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    Sounds good, make sure to keep a couple of copies of those pics on different media

    I use Malwarebytes on demand only, seems all of those tools tend to become more resource-intensive over the years.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Easto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philip View Post

    I use Malwarebytes on demand only, seems all of those tools tend to become more resource-intensive over the years.
    Especially on an i3 CPU. The laptop does have 12 gig of memory but that CPU really goes crazy whenever you open anything. I had to disable virtually everything that ran on startup.

  11. #11
    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    I like disabling unnecessary startup tasks too.

    CPU speed greatly depends on the generation of I3 also, newest I3 iterations can almost perform as an old generation I7..
    Here are some PassMark scores:

    Intel Core i3-3220 @ 3.30GHz --> 2174
    Intel Core i3-8300T @ 3.20GHz --> 5827
    Intel Core i5-7400 @ 3.00GHz --> 5512
    Intel Core i7-3770 @ 3.40GHz --> 6363

    Newer i7s and Ryzen 7:
    Intel Core i7-9700K @ 3.60GHz -- 14610
    Intel Core i7-10700F @ 2.90GHz -- 17203
    AMD Ryzen 7 3700X -- 22827
    Linux is user friendly, it's just picky about its friends...
    Disclaimer: Please use caution when opening messages, my grasp on reality may have shaken loose during transmission (going on rusty memory circuits).
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