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Glurp
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Topic # 196165 21-May-2016 12:48
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I use an old Compaq PC running Windows 7 from a Sandisk drive for streaming. Yesterday something went wrong while trying to rearrange some folders and shortcuts and Windows became very unstable. I tried to reboot but the screen went dim and it just froze on the shutting down message. Eventually I had to cut the power. When I tried to reboot I just got an error so in spite of some doubts I decided to use the Windows repair option figuring I had nothing to lose. When it went to disk check it said it would take more than an hour but it only took a couple of minutes to complete. I assume this is because the drive is SSD. 

 

After the repair finished the computer booted normally and nothing was missing. Everything appeared normal. Then I noticed that disk access had become extremely slow. When I click on a file, or run a program, it takes many seconds before anything appears. Once it does finally appear it seems to work normally, but again any disk access is very slow. This is new.

 

Fortunately I had the presence of mind to do an image backup with Macrium the other day so I ought to be able to restore things to before the problem occurred. Before I do, I want to find out as much as possible about what may have gone wrong. The San is my first SSD and I don't know much about them. Does anyone recognise the symptoms I am describing? Is this purely something internal to Windows, or could my drive have been damaged? What would cause everything to go so slowly? Are there any diagnostics I can run to find out more? Is there any kind of drive repair that might help? Can anyone tell me what might be going on here before I try to restore the image? 

 

Any tips or suggestions before I inadvertently make things worse would be much appreciated.

 

edited for clarity

 

 





I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 


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  Reply # 1556782 21-May-2016 12:54
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My guess is something is up with your storage.

Does your drive support SMART?

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  Reply # 1556785 21-May-2016 13:01
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I suspect a dying disk.

 

As Nathan points out, check your disk for errors using SMART. There are lots of free programs that will display and even interpret that data. You can also test the drive:

 

http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-disk-health-monitoring-utility.htm

 

 

 

I presume that by "San" you mean "SanDisk" rather than "Storage Area Network".


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  Reply # 1556787 21-May-2016 13:03
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If you have the Sandisk utilities installed see if they report anything useful.

If they are not installed then now is_not a good time to make changes.

Ideally move the drive to another machine for analysis.

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  Reply # 1556790 21-May-2016 13:04
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Drive model and spec?



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  Reply # 1556794 21-May-2016 13:13
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Yeah sorry, I realised I was being ambiguous and edited my post. The drive is a 120 gb Sandisk SSD, I'm pretty sure this one (http://www.trademe.co.nz/computers/components/hard-drives/laptop/auction-1089857680.htm). However it is fairly new and hasn't been used much so it shouldn't be faulty unless Windows has munched it. The slowdown only occurred after I was forced to cut power yesterday and then  do the repair.

 

I have found some good diagnostic software so I will see what that says. It also occurs to me that I can do some tests with external flash drives to see if files on those open at normal speeds or not. The streaming computer is in another room and is a bit of a pain to work on so it will take me awhile to do these things. I will post my results here later.

 

 

 

 





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  Reply # 1556851 21-May-2016 16:01
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Here is a 'progress' report. I tried, and was unable, to run any kind of drive diagnostic software. I tried installing on an external drive, I tried different software, I tried a number of things. I could not get anything to install correctly.

 

I rebooted several times and each time I saw something different. The last time checkdisk took over and produced hundreds, maybe thousands of different errors. I lost count. To my surprise the computer eventually booted after it finished. Some things were still there, others were not. I still could not get any diagnostic software to run so I still have no idea if there is actually anything wrong with the drive.

 

On the basis of a great number of very unhappy experiences, I am strongly inclined to suspect there is nothing wrong with the drive, but a great deal wrong with Windows. This just feels so much like a typical Windows screw up and it reminds me of runarounds and false errors I have encountered in the past. It is just like Windows 98 again (not SE). I thought Win 7 was supposed to be better than that, but it does not appear to be the case.

 

I don't really want to move the Sandrive unless I absolutely have to. Since I do have a recent image, and since as far as I know things were working correctly when the image was made, I have decided to try restoring that first to see if I can then run the diagnostic software. It is currently under way. I will post another update later.

 

 





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  Reply # 1556869 21-May-2016 16:43
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Rikkitic:

 

Here is a 'progress' report. I tried, and was unable, to run any kind of drive diagnostic software. I tried installing on an external drive, I tried different software, I tried a number of things. I could not get anything to install correctly.

 

I rebooted several times and each time I saw something different. The last time checkdisk took over and produced hundreds, maybe thousands of different errors. I lost count. To my surprise the computer eventually booted after it finished. Some things were still there, others were not. I still could not get any diagnostic software to run so I still have no idea if there is actually anything wrong with the drive.

 

On the basis of a great number of very unhappy experiences, I am strongly inclined to suspect there is nothing wrong with the drive, but a great deal wrong with Windows. This just feels so much like a typical Windows screw up and it reminds me of runarounds and false errors I have encountered in the past. It is just like Windows 98 again (not SE). I thought Win 7 was supposed to be better than that, but it does not appear to be the case.

 

I don't really want to move the Sandrive unless I absolutely have to. Since I do have a recent image, and since as far as I know things were working correctly when the image was made, I have decided to try restoring that first to see if I can then run the diagnostic software. It is currently under way. I will post another update later.

 

 

 

 

It sounds very unlikely to be Windows, from my experience. What you NEED to do is check the SMART records of your HDD as this can indicate a HDD fault (which can happen with new HDD's!) or a cable fault (you can have falty SATA cables) or an issue with the SATA port on your motherboard. 

 

Another one to try is a memtest, though the experience you are having aligns with a HDD issue.

 

Any of the above could be causing your problems and are far more likely considering what you are posting here.

 

 

 

There are lots of ways of doing this without booting Windows. I would highly recommend doing some reading from Google and downloading Hirens - http://www.hiren.info/pages/bootcd

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 1556889 21-May-2016 17:06
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Echo above +

Simple smart check: two command lines -

wmic
diskdrive get status

- if your drive does not support SMART then output may be misleading.





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  Reply # 1556914 21-May-2016 17:28
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What a nightmare Windows is. Absolutely nothing has changed since the dark days of 95 and 98. At least that is the conclusion I have tentatively had to come to.

 

I restored my image and rebooted after some initial difficulty. Not sure what caused that but when it worked it worked exactly as it was supposed to. Anything I click on comes up immediately, just as it did before. I was finally able to install a couple of SSD diagnostic programs, which was smooth and easy. However, all I learned was that the Sandrive doesn't offer up any information at all because it doesn't cost much and you get what you pay for. So I still don't know if there might be any issues with it, but the diagnostic software was able to tell me that the drive has operated for a total of 467 hours, or a little over 19 days, and it has been booted 289 times. Not exactly heavy wear. As far as I can tell without any diagnostic info, it seems to be working fine. 

 

Everything points to this just being another random Windows stroke for no good reason whatsoever. It's like all those plane crashes on National Geographic that happen because the pilot pointed the nose up instead of down. Microsoft sure doesn't seem to have learned anything over the years.

 

Anyway, thanks to everyone who tried to think with me on this. I was pretty freaked out. And if anyone out there is listening, everything you have ever heard about the importance of backups is absolutely true. I am generally pretty casual about it myself but this one time I just happened to have made an image backup only the other day and it absolutely saved me. And a big thank-you to Macrium Reflect. That is by far the best free imaging software I have ever had the pleasure of using. Thank goodness something works as it is supposed to.

 

 

 

 





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Glurp
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  Reply # 1556916 21-May-2016 17:35
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A p.s. to the two posts above: Of course this could still have something to do with the drive, but I am seeing no signs of that. Everything is working as it did before and I am not encountering any slowness or anything else indicating disk read problems. If things start going wrong again that will indeed point to the drive, but for the moment I am still strongly inclined to blame Windows. Time will tell.

 

 





I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 


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  Reply # 1556920 21-May-2016 17:43
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All sorts of transient and long-term issues are due to spikes, surges, brownouts and other power supply variations that stop short of a power cut. This is the cause of vast majority of hardware problems I have seen. Overheating, usually from lack of cleaning, would be next on the list.

 

So I don't really think you should blame Windows! You said "old Compaq PC" and I presume their is no power conditioning and limited if any protection for that computer. Our computers are sensitive electronic equipment and the problem you have could easily be from a power problem. HDDs and RAM/SSDs are particularly susceptible to problems from power faults.

 

There is lots of help to minimise such issues, e.g. https://blog.codinghorror.com/power-surge-protection-pcs-and-you/

 

 


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  Reply # 1556921 21-May-2016 17:49
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Well, maybe, but two other things to check, how full is the drive and how old is the laptop?

 

Does the laptop support trim? try and run fsutil behavior query DisableDeleteNotify from the command prompt. If it comes back with 0 trim is enabled, if 1, trim is disabled. Trim is needed with SSD's to keep them operating normally. If it is too old, trim may not have been enabled as I believe it requires AHCI. I could be wrong though.

 

I have found if the drive is constantly at full capacity, it has no ability to remap flash as it reaches its wear limit. There are no free blocks to substitute. If a few blocks die in the wrong place, your OS and files will be affected.

 

 





Try Vultr using this link and get us both some credit:

 

http://www.vultr.com/?ref=7033587-3B


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  Reply # 1556933 21-May-2016 18:26
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Do you have automatic updates? Sometimes something updates in the background (or whatever it is that they do) that causes this. A reboot always fixes it. (If the problem is something updating in the background)



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  Reply # 1556941 21-May-2016 18:49
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Rants aside, computers and OS's are extremely complicated devices and lots of things can go wrong. I tend to expect the worst from Windows because that has turned out to be the case so many times in the past. I can't say it is here and I am not expert enough to narrow it down. In any case, I can rule out a few things. I do have auto-update and auto-everything else disabled for precisely the reason that I don't want any stupid Windows interruptions when I am watching or especially recording something. I update manually and am careful to ensure that all updating software is disabled.

 

The drive is nowhere near full. That is something else I am careful about. There is about 25 GB of OS and data, about 85 GB free. I empty the Recycle Bin regularly though I don't accumulate much. When I do keep anything, I transfer it to an external drive.

 

The computer is a desktop. I'm pretty sure I saw somewhere that trim was enabled, but that is something worth checking. No overheating. I do know enough to vacuum when reconditioning and I also replenished the thermal paste on the CPU and ran temperature checks. Anyway, one side of the case is missing. Power surges are certainly a possibility as we get them from time to time, but all electronics are on a  surge protector and these particular electronics (computer, HT, TV, receiver boxes, switches, recorders, etc.), are all on the same circuit. Sure, there are lots of things that could cause the problems I was getting, including some that I wouldn't know enough to identify, but Windows has been the culprit so often in my experience that it makes sense to look there first. In any case, it is all working again now so I will carry on and see what happens over time.

 

 





I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 


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  Reply # 1556952 21-May-2016 19:30
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Swap out the sata cable.

 

 

 

I was sure one of my hardrives were failing despite seagate tools showing that it was fine.  

 

Some times the harddrive took ages to access info, other times it would show up as as raw formatted.

 

Took the whole computer to bits and put it all back together but I must have swapped the cables round as now a different harddrive was showing the error.  

 

 

 

Replaced the cable and all is well and has been fine for 2 years


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