Storage forum

General discussion

Excessive Hard Drive Activity


Just recently, my hard drive has been accessing itself about every minute. I don't mean just the red light, but I get four sets of four audible ''clicks'' each time. Most of the time, this stops whatever I'm doing for about 10 seconds, but sometimes I can still work while it's going on. I have Windows XP running 512K (this has always been sufficient for everything other than running Photoshop-intensive work, and even then, it just slows things down, which is to be expected). I have no detectable virus (I use Symantec which auto-updates). I've run spybot programs and deleted all suspicious cookies and I've run Hijack This! which didn't show anything out of the ordinary. I've tried to determine what is causing this by going to Task Manager, but I've been unable to determine what process is causing this. Is there an easy way to absolutely tell what process is using memory at a given instant?

Possible causes:

I only have 3 gB left on my 40 gB C drive.
I've gotten a battery low message on my wireless MS keyboard/mouse, but everything still works as it should.
I got an indication about a week or so ago that Windows was increasing the page file because of memory. I've rebooted several times since then but the problem still occurs.

Just in the time that I've been typing this, I've gotten 4 distinct accesses, each time, it's 4 quick clicks four times. I've been able to type while this is going on, but if I had been trying to read my email or change web pages, everything would have stopped.

This is driving me CRAZY! (as well as causing undue wear and tear on my drive).

Any ideas?

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Excessive Hard Drive Activity
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Excessive Hard Drive Activity
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
scan hard disk

In reply to: Excessive Hard Drive Activity

BACKUP all important files.

MOVE some files to other storage. Try to get it to about 25-30GB max used space. (Or install a larger HD.)

Rt-click on the HD and select properties. Click the Tools tab. In the Error Checking section, click Check Now. Check both ''Check Disk'' options and Start the scans.

Also, defragment the HD.

Collapse -
Excessive Hard Drive Activity

In reply to: Excessive Hard Drive Activity

With a 40GB drive this full, you may not have enough swap space available to defragment the drive. Typically you nee 15% avaialble space for this process. You may also have a number of duplicat files on your drive taking up a lot of space, which can free you up some.

I would recommend backing up all of your data quickly, before you crash the system. Then decide what is absolutely necessary and remove what is not. this will also improve system performance.

If you need a lot of software, install a larger hard drive. Save the old one and put it in an exterrnal enclosure for data boackup, via USB cable to the laptop.

Finally, you may have spamware or spyware infecting your machine. It could be loading up your drive with unnecessary fluff. This could be the reason for the disk accesses, especially if you notice them while the machine is idle. Keep your "anti" software updated. If you don't have anti spy or spam software, get it. It takes an unprotectedf computer less than 30 minutes to become infected with hundreds of little bugs.

Collapse -
Excessive Hard DIsk Activity

In reply to: Excessive Hard Drive Activity

I had this problem couple of times on different PCs.
I tried every possible solution but in-vain. What I did was that I backed up all the data and format the "C" partition.
On one occesion, while I was scanning the hard disk for the similar problem, it just crashed. Thanks God that I had a backup of of all the data.
Now if I have same situation on any PC, so instead of wasting time on running different test, I right away format the disk after backing up the data. Which of course save lot of time. Hard Disks are becoming unreliable now a days.


Collapse -

In reply to: Excessive Hard Drive Activity

I agree with the other person about your swapfile not being able to do it's job. As a minimum, this should be set to use space that is 1.5x your system memory as reported by Windows, not what's physically installed and a maximum of 3x your system memory. I

f you don't have the available disk space for your swapfile or it's too low, that's when you get anything from what your describing which is called "disk thrashing," to where your system will just lock up.

This can explain your hard drive activity.

Collapse -
Hard drive full

In reply to: Excessive Hard Drive Activity

You have no space left on your hard drive. You have to look at all your files and delete any you no longer need. Look for large files, and free up some space before your drive crashes. You should get an external USB hard drive and copy all the files you don't need on a daily basis to this drive. Do this after you clean up your drive. Empty all your temporary file folders before you defrag the drive. If you have a disk clean utility, use it to find all your temp files and cookies. There are many free utilitys available. After doing all this, upgrade your hard drive to 80 gig or higher. Software with your new drive will copy the contents of your existing drive to your new one. Then you can reformat the 40 gig drive and use it as extra storage. GTOGUY

Collapse -
Excessive Hard Drive Activity

In reply to: Excessive Hard Drive Activity

Try some of these suggestions:

1. Try to free some disk space
2. Defrag the hard drive
3. Increase page file
4. Run Performance Monitor and check disk, memory and processor monitors. Memory or processor bottleneck may also cause disk activity.
5. Check startup group (msconfig). If any there are lots of unnecessary files located in startup, remove them. More importantly, check to see what may be placing these files in the startup (virus, spyware, malware, etc.)

I hope this helps.

Collapse -
Excessive Hard Drive Activity

In reply to: Excessive Hard Drive Activity

- don't know for sure, but problem likely involves your lack of RAM, and the overly full hard drive. - if you live in North America, additional Ram & hard drives (in tower or portable) are inexpensive. - correct these two, & you may solve your problem.

- program called Cacheman XP is excellent for assigning Ram & processor priority to running processes when your resources aren't sufficient for everything you're trying to run. - also has a whole bunch of "one click" tweaks to help computer operate at its best under widely varying circumstances.

- don't know if this is relevant, but I once had a process called spoolsv.exe go nuts when I was trying to install a network printer. - got mixed up in something called Windows virtual printer, and spoolsv.exe started running constantly. - tower was useless for anything else until I managed to turn it off. - don't remember how I did it, but I found a fix on the Internet. - Cacheman XP made fix possible by first showing me which process was running full speed ahead, allowing me to research the correct question.

Collapse -
Backup-Degrag-Ccleaner-Diskeeper Lite-CachemanXP

In reply to: Excessive Hard Drive Activity

I would download and install ccleaner to remove garbage files from your hard drive. I have done this on relatives computers who rarely use the internet and removed 2Gig in junk files. Afterwards I would try to scandisk or chkdsk /f from your command prompt, then defrag if possible. If not, you may try Diskeeper Lite to see if that will assist in defraging your hard drive. Either way, you obviously need more hard drive space so as soon as possible backup your important files before you jeapordize losing anything. Jump Drives, CD/DVD's, to another system, anyway you can depending on how much you need backed up. I also agree that CachemanXP may be beneficial but you have to have more free hard drive space.

Collapse -
re storage problem!

In reply to: Backup-Degrag-Ccleaner-Diskeeper Lite-CachemanXP

ok before i start and try to help , i read all the info you have been given.Now some will help, but in the long run too a degree all are missing the point, that being the clicks (possible program running in the back ground) and being conected to the internet, thats the clicks you hear.
now i hope my solution for you ,is yes back up the files you need, dont back the whole lot as you will be taking the trouble and saving it.If you know somebody who has a copy of hirens boot cd borrow it and ask if they will show you how to use it ,use the antivirsu scanners ,this will pick up dialers you may have on your system. Onc you have done that download a copy from 0&0 SOFTWARE AND GRAB THERE DEFRAGER, this will show you how and where your hard drive is really going health wise.Y ou can vary how you want your hard drive defraged.
Also if you download music ,put it onto cd disk,
this releases alot of space

Collapse -
Review this discussion.

In reply to: Excessive Hard Drive Activity

Collapse -
Hard Disk Could Be Dying

In reply to: Excessive Hard Drive Activity


Of course, there can be many legitimate/normal reasons for the hard disk activity you describe. But don't overlook the possibility that your hard drive is on its last leg.

When I had the same disk activity you're describing, my system was also still functioning quite normally, as far as I could tell. After a few more days, though, the drive was dead. I can only conclude that the problem that caused my own hard disk to behave that way was unrecoverable I/O errors.

I believe many modern-day hard drives ? especially SCSI drives ? can recover from some problem areas on your disk's recording surface. However, if one of those problem areas is critical such as your Master Boot Record or your FAT, the system will fail, no doubt. Of course, if the problem is with your hard drive's read/write heads, then it won't matter if you've got no bad sectors at all ... the drive will soon be dead.

If you've got a fairly current computer, I suspect your drive uses Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology (SMART) which can help assess the ''health condition'' of your hard drive. There may be a Windows utility that can access your drive's SMART information. On my system, I use a non-Microsoft tool that's part of a system maintenance suite to access and display my drives' SMART info.

I don't know whether your drive can reports its own health to you. If not, there ought to be a CNet utility out there to help you diagnose the problem.

But just like other forum members mentioned, you have to presume the worst may be ahead and you should back-up your data ... NOW!

Good luck and please tell us how it turns out.


Collapse -
look past the obvious

In reply to: Excessive Hard Drive Activity

obviously there are many "things" that may cause unexpected hard drive activity. background virus check comes to mind. but you need to check the sinister as well. hacking comes to mind - simple to check - unplug your internet connection and see if that has an affect. run a deep pest and virus scan against the drive. then to the more mundane - drive may be failing - remember, we, the consuming public, are now the quality control experts. I have had a lot of drives crap out within a few days - excessive noise, heat, accessing.

good luck - be glad hard drives are cheap.

Collapse -
Excessive Hard Drive Activity

In reply to: Excessive Hard Drive Activity

Thanks for all of the advice.

I've just about gotten to the limit of things I can safely clear off of my C drive. I've stretched it to 4.4 gig free space. I defragged (of course I had to allow it to defrag at less than the recommended 15%. It seemed to work just fine). Just about everything that's big enough to make a difference is something that might not run on a different drive (things like Napster, which if I move will mess up the licensing, or other things that I suspect are already set up to run on the C drive, like Agent).

Nobody has answered the question of the actual activity (or at least I'm nost sure anyone has). If it's the paging file, is there any way to keep it from doing this access, or am I just out of space? I would think that over 10% free space would be sufficient, if only barely). I did change the page file size to manual and set the minimum at 768 and the maximum at 2000 (just picked the max out of the air).

Isn't there a way to directly be able to tell what service is actually using the hard drive at a specific point in time? I know that the indexing service is disabled (I checked that). This only started happening a few weeks ago, and my hard drive has been pretty full for months.

I DO have three other drives that I keep a lot of stuff on and I was able to move some things to them. One of them is actually everything that was on my C drive before I got the faster and bigger drive (so, in one respect, many of my programs are already "backed up"). Each has 8 to 10 gigs of free space on them. When I got this new computer, I used my 30 gig drive as the C drive because it was the fastest. One of my other drives is a 60 gig drive and that's where I keep my music (except for Napster, which I unfortunately allowed to default to the C drive) and my digital photographs that aren't archived onto disc. I suppose that I could just get a new huge drive and transfer everything on the current C drive to it and see if I still have another slot for the 30 gig drive to keep it as additional storage, but I suspect that I don't. Perhaps I could get a few trade-in bucks for it. I'm really trying to avoid doing this though as I don't want to screw up my Napster licensing (I have a few thousand songs saved).

Anyway, this drive access is REALLY driving me bonkers. Are you guys saying that if I'm able to get to 15% free space that it will just stop happening? I'm having a hard time seeing that happening. There's SOMETHING that's doing this very regular access (it's always four clicks repeated four times, but it doesn't seem to be triggered by any particular event). I'm really trying to get to the source of this VERY specific type of access. It's ALWAYS 4 audible clicks repeated 4 times. Is there anything that you folks know that has this specific "signature"?

Once again, thanks for all of the ideas.

Collapse -
I have similar problem, & LOTS of Xtra drive space

In reply to: Excessive Hard Drive Activity

I can relate. I have 2 HD's, with lots of extra space of them, yet I get this "crunching" or "clicking" sound on a regular basis. Some days it will do & other days not, but mostly it does, and it seems like it's gotten louder. I've been wondering what it is.

I don't think "cleaning up the HD" has anything to do with it. My drives are regularly defragged, registry-cleaned, checked for viruses & everything.

After reading everyone's suggestions, I now wonder if my main drive is going out. It's my newest drive too. I have been preparing to insert it in my new PC & use it as a slave drive, so I hope that's not the case!

I don't think anyone has really addressed your problem. It sounds like they have only responded to your issues of low drive space.


Collapse -
Re: clicks, hard drive activity

In reply to: Excessive Hard Drive Activity

I had a similar problem happen to my pc, lots of activity, I would try to type on word, and the cursor would just take off repeating the first letter I typed!,Also while online, I tried to open my email and thinks just went crazy!, I resarted my pc to no avail? the mouse or keyboard did not responded, just this clicking and crazy stuff, finally I switched to another keyboard,mouse set and that ended the problem, I have no idea if its a bad keyboard,mouse set,its a wireless, So far its doing well, I have a AMD Athlon64 w/35ghz. proccessor and 1.gig mem. running win.xp2
So what I'm saying, could it be your mouse,keyboardcausing the problem?.

Collapse -
More Ram

In reply to: Excessive Hard Drive Activity

Xp-PRO OR HOME IMO needs more ram. 512 is at the minium that XP wants to keep itself running. When you put a firewall,antivirus,adblocker ect. running also you run out of ram and the O.S. has to keep going to the hard drive
p/s defragging your hard drive would make it a little quicker when you system has to access it.

Collapse -
PC Magazine Has the Answer

In reply to: Excessive Hard Drive Activity


I just learned of a utility available from PC Magazine's utility library that should answer your question.

See,1895,1944797,00.asp for info about DiskAction version 2.1. I have to believe this would answer your question ... UNLESS the cause of the drive being accessed is a hardware problem, as I stated in my earlier forum post.

I might get this myself, by the way. I say that because my system has also been doing something odd I cannot explain. At the stroke of midnight, something accesses my A: drive, my 3.5 inch floppy. I don't like mysterious stuff like that happening on my system, either. So if it provides any comfort to you, rest assured you're not the only one whose system does weird things.

Good luck and if you find out the cause, I hope you'll let us know.


Collapse -

In reply to: PC Magazine Has the Answer

Inadequate RAM or free drive space can contribute to this issue, but the seeming excessive activity is a typical behavior (not necessarily a desirable one) of Vista. Check what processes are accessing your hard drive in Resource Monitor. I haven't tried the PC Mag utility, but from the little information on the download, it seems the utility provides functionality already available in Resource Monitor.

To open Resource Monitor, right click your Task Bar and select Task Manager | Performance | Resource Monitor | Disk. To observe the Vista-related conditions responsible for the behavior, close all applications first.

Like many others who have posted here, I have substantial free resources, and my system is a clean, new installation. At first, I had no excessive drive activity, but after bringing former content onto the new system, suddenly I had *scary*, excessive drive activity -- the kind which will surely ruin a drive if allowed to persist.

Resource Monitor | Disk shows that the principal culprit during my 40 hours or so of excessive activity is SearchIndexer.exe. Why this executable is running so hard, even with indexing disabled, is not clear. There are quite a few things still not working properly in Vista, and perhaps this is one of them.

In any case, objectional excessive behavior can be controlled to a considerable extent by how you organize your system. If you refer to your Vista documentation for Indexing, you'll see what few directories are actually indexed. *To minimize this unwanted indexing behavior (assuming it will resume whenever it deems necessary), avoid, if you can, storing substantial material to your Users directories.* I have several million files on my main system, and (before referring to the indexing documentation), I made the mistake (I suspect like many others) of bringing former content into my Users directory -- many gigs of former material.

Now, I've been so disturbed for several days about the excessive activity, that I eventually found this forum, which is quite helpful because it chronicles others' experiences. No sooner do I (finally) get to post my experience however, and the drive activity suddenly quiets down. So, if you too find that SearchIndexer.exe is invoked often, and if you have sufficient free disk and RAM, and if the activity exists (even with indexing disabled and no programs open), I believe you will find the duration of excessive drive activity related to unwanted indexing, which, eventually will complete.

Otherwise, your recourse is simple. Most sources recommend 2 Gigs of RAM. Even with larger hard drives, when free space is below 35% or so, greater fragmentation will result, and page file space will be restricted. These too engender additional drive activity, but not what most of us here have objected to... which seems in fact to be excessive, destructive degrees of activity (particularly since most of us have turned indexing off, hoping to stop the excessive/destructive activity).

I was not a happy camper until my drive quieted down, but there doesn't appear to be anything you can do about it but store to non-indexed directories.

Collapse -

In reply to: Causes


No sooner do I cozy into the new system and decide to defrag -- and I discover something...

My Vista installation came out of the box with *scheduled defrags*, and the ceasure of the excessive activity coincides exactly with the completion of the last executed defrag. I had no idea defrag was executing in the background... as Resource Monitor doesn't make that clear.


Collapse -


I am waiting for further confirmation from Microsoft, but I am told that the indexing *process* cannot be turned off, paused, or disabled (even as you can turn it off for each folder).

This may have considerable implications, because the default properties of new folders are also set to *include* the folder in indexing processes. Assumably, this means that *wherever* you add former material to a new system, it is possible that unless you *first* disable indexing on the source and/or destination folder*S*, the new material will automatically be indexed -- and your machine will be busy for possibly a great while performing the indexing process.

This may seem at first to be an innocent proposition, but it appears actually that it can produce very adverse ramifications, because it evidently can keep the CPU and IO so busy that other vital processes will fail. I will probably make at least one further post to this thread clearing up the remaining issues (if I can), but I will say here that a critical issue I have experiences over the first several days with my new system appears to result from this behavior, which has substantially delayed installation of material vital to my work. I have lost many days as a consequence. With the help of two generous Microsoft technicians (according to rough account, we have somewhere near 5 hours together into analyzing whatever has so long obstructed installation of Visual Studio), a performance monitor was installed on the system, and (to make a long story short), the amount of activity devoted to SearchIndexer.exe was absolutely incredible -- so stupendous that it was no wonder that the VS installation process failed (many huge files are extracted... etc.).

These are my unqualified deductions for the moment (more, hopefully, later):

Because an indexing process can neither be paused or canceled, and because so much processor and IO system overhead is imposed, other vital processes evidently can fail -- particularly if they are lengthy, intensive processes.

A particular danger imposed by this activity then is that because we may bring substantial material onto a new system before we attempt to install software related to the material, the very indexing processes which can be triggered may preclude successful installation of the software until the indexing process finally completes. Needless to say, if this is 40 hours later, that means a lot of frustration.

Hopefully, I'll soon learn how to avoid this ramification. If so, I'll post back.

Otherwise, I recommend to:

1. Install all software before bringing former content onto the new system.

2. Turn indexing off in each folder of former content before copying it to the new system. I have not experimented with this yet to determine if the settings are indeed honored in the copy process, but no point in that for now, because I'd like first to discuss this with MS.

3. Evidently, you also need to turn indexing off when you create new Vista folders:

To turn indexing off for a folder, right click the folder in Windows Explorer and choose Properties | Advanced; then uncheck "Index this folder for faster searching." Windows will then present a dialog asking if you want to apply the setting to subfolders.

A further, initially disappointing ramification of the imposed indexing process is that new systems may appear to be much slower than they ultimately prove to be, until of course the huge initial indexing operations finally are completed.

Collapse -
MS may take a look at this...

In reply to: UPDATE 2

I can't report much further as yet, but that Microsoft may be taking a look at this.

To date, I have maintained substantial notes which chronicle how CPU and IO overhead related to SearchIndexer.exe are so excessively intensive as to defeat (crash) many critical, competing processes running on Vista. Many online forums are reporting the same issues without resolution. There is no end user resolution of the issues related to SearchIndexer.exe, because the consumption of CPU and IO resources are a design matter: nearly (and up to) 100% of CPU and IO resources can be consumed needlessly for as much as (in my recent experience) 40 hours straight, with the principal consequence being not merely extremely poor performance (over even such extensive periods), but critical failures of competing processes *during the whole* while(s).

Many users reporting the resultant excessive drive activity generally do not have sufficient background to understand the causes, or to link them with their many unavoidable consequences. In my brief, initial experience with Vista, among those consequences are:


Between several Microsoft personnel and myself, we have *several days* just in attempting to install Visual Studio 2005 onto my brand new Vista system. Here are my deductions why:

Prior to *attempting* to install Visual Studio, I moved something less than 100 Gigs of personal work onto the new system. This automatically invoked a SearchIndexer process which did not finish for something like 40 hours. Immediately after moving all this personal work, I then attempted to install VS2005 onto the system, not yet knowing the consequences of the SearchIndexer process, and that the MSI processes of the install would unsuccessfully compete with SearchIndexer. The VS2005 install failed many times, for a variety of reasons, including falsely reported corrupted files.

Amit (Microsoft VS Personnel) cleaned up the failed install over a shared desktop session. But, in part because the original SearchIndexer process *still* had not completed (I complained many times about the insane drive activity), his efforts too failed.

Later, Kelvin (Microsoft VS Personnel) tried to complete the install, and got just a little farther than we had before. As I complained further about the insane drive activity, he installed a performance monitor onto my system. We immediately observed the incredible consumption of resources by SearchIndexer. Activity was so profuse, you could hardly tell anything *else* was going on.

Kelvin tried until it was time for him to go home from work. I tried for several hours afterward. Many reasons were reported for failed processes. But eventually I did succeed; and further evidence (as follows) leads me now to believe this was probably due (finally) to the quieting of drive activity due to the concluded original SearchIndexer process.


I then downloaded and attempted to install the most recent Vista updates. The *download* engendered yet another lengthy SearchIndexer process. Some of the related installation processes failed here again, until the drive activity quieted when SearchIndexer finally concluded -- much later. Obviously, many users suffering failed installs would not connect the dots to SearchIndexer.exe, or bother reporting the potentially prevalent issue.


The same pattern prevailed during download and install of all the necessary VS2005 updates.


I have seen SearchIndexer go busy for many minutes, even as a result of a single, simple email download. During this activity, normally stable, proven applications like PhotoShop have crashed.


SearchIndexer and incredible hard drive activity were likewise noticed as soon as shared desktop sessions were started. If this is a result of attempts to index file IO resulting from shared desktop sessions, of course this activity is not only unwanted; it is an impediment to efficient, reliable sessions.

I think we might finally have the attention of systems engineers on this issue; and hopefully it will be resolved shortly.

Collapse -

In reply to: MS may take a look at this...

I don't have time to document all of this, so my post will be a summary.

The many failures of my new Vista system have been a huge (perhaps unforgivable) impediment to work (software development). To this point, we have approximately 17 hours with 2 Microsoft Visual Studio technicians, their manager (who, at the urging of said two technicians, and after conducting a responsible interview with myself, conscientiously escalated this well documented and *studied* issue to higher eschelons of support), a top system diagnosis technician (6 3/4 hrs yesterday -- he went home last night at 10:45 Toronto time, unfinished), and several other Microsoft support personnel. Two other Microsoft personnel wanted ***to charge me*** to report these many Vista faults (while of course we can understand how costly *it would* be for Microsoft to be *responsible* for the costs it inflicts on its market). Two of these some 17 hours were spent with three to four Microsoft technicians in conference, and approximately half of these 17 hours have been spent not only on the telephone clear across the country, but in shared desktop sessions where the several technicians involved have witnessed for hours on end, the behavior and consequences we have documented to be associated with SearchIndexer.exe. (In other words, the reported effects have been *thoroughly* demonstrated to Microsoft.) The chronology of problems we have collected over that time, demonstrates diverse process failures, largely (because this was the work we were doing) having to do with software installation, downloading updates, and installing updates.

I have collected data on many other related issues; and there are further unrelated issues, which are now further compounding the problems we already have. My Vista experience therefore can be summarized as absolutely disgraceful, obstructive dysfunctionality.

On top of this there is such a prolific number of "little things" (which amount to big things, as we routinely encounter them again and again) which Microsoft can never get right. What am I talking about? Hideous, stupid things. For instance, my Task Bar is 7 rows high, comprising 150 shortcuts in 10 separate toolbars. Obviously, a person will enable Auto-hide for such a configuration. So, for almost 7 hours yesterday, we're to invoke Run... procmon, regedit, cmd, msdt... on and on... and the real care by which this operating system is engineered (and these faults are never fixed) is *most* (and constantly) evident in the utterly stupid concept of invoking the Run dialog *behind* the Task Bar. Yep, click run, or Windows+r (with the Task Bar raised), and you'll never even see the Run dialog you just intended to access. No. You have to move the Task Bar out of the way each time; and you have to come back to background of the Task Bar to play the Microsoft game in this intentionally unuser-friendly dialog. This isn't exactly a standard worthy of the arrogance I will address in just a bit.

Just a few other issues: Change an icon for a tool on the Task Bar and it may *or may not* be refreshed to the tool; Rename a directory and the old folder and name may still be drawn where they were, with the new folder *name* being displayed on a new folder location -- with the obvious further ramification that you can't access the graphically displayed old folder and name... and you even have to wade through a redundant error dialog which documents *their* screwup if you dare click that erroneous representation of the former folder; Right-click a shortcut on your Task Bar and click Properties -- and you lose the intended dialog behind the Task Bar, just like the Run dialog.

Just simple things that anyone and everyone who has a right to call their self a software engineer should *always* get right.

The question is, what makes these people deaf to *years* of pleas and submitted flaws?

So, Jon, I appreciate the tests you are doing, but I forewarn you that *use* is going to be your real Pandora's box. Just for instance:

Because Microsoft provides no way ("obstructs"???) to bring mail forward from *the data* (a running hard drive from a system broken by the MS mup.sys infinite boot loop flaw), I have permanently moved my mail to Thunderbird. I start up this morning, open Thunderbird, and it starts to download approximately 30 emails. OK, so there goes SearchIndexer.exe again, and after about 30 seconds I click my stop watch. While this is happening, there is extremely slow response to other processes. I try to drag one of the new mails to a "Microsoft" folder, and it doesn't land there for a whole minute (similar to the extra time it takes to open Photoshop when SearchIndexer is busy). Five minutes of SearchIndexer.exe later I notice that a number of my hundreds of new manually built mail rules (because Microsoft *obstructs* bringing them forward from data) are not correctly executed. Hmmm. After SearchIndexer is finally finished, I apply the rules to the InBox and sure enough they are all correctly applied. Now, please note that well after startup I haven't noticed this *particular* manifestation of the competing processes -- the mail rules have always been correctly executed. But then, ask yourself what is the sanctity/reliability of the thread competition *handling* (by the OS), if Thunderbird's processes are *always* otherwise executed perfectly?

That's not a stupid question, and it *is* rhetorical.

These are just *some* of the things which are going on. What else?

Well, yesterday a Microsoft technician was attempting to perform regular diagnostic processes important to gathering evidence for systems engineers. We waded through masses of laughable of documentation in a shared session, and reach a point where the system is required to reboot to honor the changes. "Software engineers" of course "might" consider this too a flaw... but what happens next? Ostensibly, to successfully execute the reboot so that it will not break the shared session, the technician has to initiate the reboot. Everything on my system worked fine to that point, except when SearchIndexer competition precluded. So what happens? A new form of blue screen of death tells us startup has failed and Windows is going to diagnose the problem. OK, so Vista reports a $$%$@# of problems it is going "to repair." Really? No option to cancel or ignore. Vista reports it will run CheckDisk... and it tells a few other lies... the screen is blinking back and forth between this an that -- then finally, no diagnosis, no repair... only a few seconds into a process it tells us could take hours, all of a sudden (surprise), I'm at the password dialog for login.

Hmmm. So is everything fine?

Absolutely not. Things are such a $%@$%@$ mess now we have no idea yet how to restore the system without rebuilding it (and negating *days* I have in setting up my software -- which process of course I am going to have to go through again). We don't even know if we'll get my software development environment back on the system -- although, one would think, what with the indexing process being completed, the SearchIndexer thread competition which existed should not be a further problem. But...???

What are some of the further problems?

Well, just for starters, we try to open Internet Explorer (necessary nowadays only for Microsoft sites), and what happens? It *starts* to open, instantly closes, and presents us (still, *always*) with five successive dialogs which apprise us that a "navcancl" file "from ie...something.dll" cannot be opened. Well... research soon shows that evidently this yet another well known Vista issue... and so we go into the diagnostic and repair processes for this issue.

The only problem you see, is that at one point of this process we have to open the Users interface in Control Panel to do some simple verification of password data... and, (guess what?) ummm... we next are shown that Users *can no longer be opened*.

Well, "that's real good," right?

Actually, you can probably begin to understand now why this technician and I spent 6 3/4 hours on my system just yesterday.

Here are just *some* of the consequences:

I ***RELY*** on FireFox! But the Internet Explorer ***WE NOW CAN NEVER OPEN*** (it always closes and notifies you of the navcancl issue VISTA WILL NOT ALLOW US TO FIX) ***IS NOW PERMANENTLY SET AS THE DEFAULT BROWSER****. NO LINK I CLICK IN AN EMAIL FOR INSTANCE WILL EVER OPEN. YOU HAVE TO COPY THE LINK *SOURCE*, OPEN FIREFOX (THE ONLY OPERATIONAL BROWSER STANDING), AND LABORIOUSLY PASTE EACH LINK IN. And whatever way there might be to fix IE now, we do not yet know. We both decided to sleep on it. More research has to be done -- and were MORE, giant steps backward. "Where do YOU want to go today?"

You get the picture. I'm so frustrated right now I can't possibly tell you. All this is a giant leap backward from the worst of the Windows 3.x days; and about the only thing Microsoft can do right now, is to offer ME the job of assuring all these kinds of things get fixed. Believe me, nothing like this would even *be build* under my watch.

Instead, we have resistance from the systems engineer people. They want us *to reproduce* issues they readily know exist -- when several Microsoft technicians have *already* witnessed said events for hours on end, and when they were (and will be) produced by installing Microsoft software ***AT DAYS OF EXPENSE***!

Here is ONE THING which is wrong with this picture:

ANYONE who designs an *operating system* thread which *can* (and *does*) consume 95% of CPU and IO resources for *any* sustained period (more than a few seconds) *has committed a fatal (and rudimentary) design flaw from the very outset. But OBVIOUSLY, without any need to reproduce *anything*, the very fact the thread *can* consume so much of resources is therefore the issue -- and one which has to be fixed.

If this person (or these persons) worked for me, the rules of design would have forbid them to implement such an ill conceived philosophy. In fact, I wouldn't let them dedicate 25% of resources to such a thread; and here is why:

What you *really* need to do is dedicate UP TO 25% of resources to a certain *class* of OS thread. Why? Developer A has the selfish approach of whoever wrote SearchIndexer, and grabs the limit of the rule we subject them to ("25%"). Developer B does as well. So do C and D, and we're using 100% of resources.

The obligatory approach is to share only so much of system resources so that *other* competing process *can* succeed -- and that's the whole issue here: people *refusing* to do right the job they should (already) know is done wrong. When you hear it from a customer who can't use their system, you have really blown it.

There IS a way to build software without flaws. Many of us have been doing it for many years. If those well known principles are not enforced as a standard, this is the result. Moreover, this far inferior result is produced at far greater cost, because everyone in the development process suffers the consequences of the poor work. But shipping this to the consumer, and particularly as a glorious advancement, asking customers to pay to report flaws they and Microsoft technicians have well documented... is worthy of no more than a class action suit.

If Microsoft paid me for what they have already cost me *in this "one incident"* (playing by *their* rules), they couldn't hope to make it back for the next few centuries.

And yet, we have a broken system... and we're only hoping to gather evidence with broken tools... hoping to convince "engineers" their code has a problem which WAS obvious from the outset.

Collapse -
This may be why...


We left our development systems back on XP Pro.

We develop on those and run the application on Vista as a check. No developer at the office would take the current Vista offerings.

Have you tried that?


Collapse -

In reply to: This may be why...

Absolutely -- and I might never have gone to Vista otherwise -- but my main XP box went down to the infamous mup.sys infinite boot loop error, a condition which often is not fixed until *everything* is replaced.

I hope you're not advocating that release of such flawed wares should be expected -- especially in a day when open source alternatives should cause Microsoft to be far more careful about stepping on our toes than in the past.

But frankly, there's no indication as yet that I'll have trouble *running* Visual Studio (at least when SearchIndexer is kept out of the picture by processes which are already in effect). So I can't accept your point, no matter how you intend it.

Collapse -
It's reality.

In reply to: Yes...

I had no point to make but only shared our choices.

As to the XP down in flames issue, our developers are very steeped in repairing this old OS. We also have full retail versions of XP Pro SP2 so we can migrate to a new PC if need be. In fact most if not all machines supplied with Vista save some laptops that I won't mention here can be moved to XP Pro SP2 so we can carry on.

Our livelihood would not survive long if we accepted your issues and didn't take matters into our own hands as we have done. No one forces Vista on you. That seems to be your choice.


Collapse -
Re: "It's reality."

In reply to: It's reality.

The reality is that Visual Studio is running fine on Vista.

You claim expertise in "taking matters into your own hands." You claim to solve the cited problems. But that's not the case at all. If you were developing third party libraries (commercial components) -- and even if you aren't -- if *you are* a developer you understand the *obligation* not only to test the end product on Vista, but to test the end product *in Visual Studio* on Vista.

The "reality" is, nothing less counts. The reality is insufficient testing is an underlying cause of *all* these problems. The reality is, your remarks solve no issue at all for me: I *have* to test *on Vista* *in* the development environment.

As for "taking matters into your own hands..." I gather your shop does own copies of Vista -- and that you haven't made Microsoft come good on a product you aren't even able to use. The intelligence of recommending that others just tuck tail and whimper somehow escapes me. People should not be afraid of extremely unethical corporations. Extremely unethical corporations should be afraid their markets will revolt.

Collapse -
"and that you haven't made Microsoft come good on a product

In reply to: Re: "It's reality."

"and that you haven't made Microsoft come good on a product you aren't even able to use"

I see you didn't either. Back to reality. We have our work to do and don't care to wrestle with Microsoft. You seem to want to.

What I'm sharing is how we went back to work. You seem to not want to hear this but want to take out your spite on anyone that wants to discuss this. I might be wrong about it but I read your post twice and offer not only what we did but my commiseration.


Collapse -

In reply to: "and that you haven't made Microsoft come good on a product

Alright. Thanks.

Collapse -

In reply to: Excessive Hard Drive Activity

Thrashing is caused by too little virtual memory. Check the level of your virtual memory on your computer. On XP professional SP2: MyComputer>properties>advanced>performance>settings>advanced>virtual memory>change>click on a drive, select system managed. You will receive a warning if there is too little space on the drive to set an acceptable virtual memory size.

RAM memory would help. Too little RAM means that the CPU has to use virtual memory for it's resources. Thrashing can wear out your hard drive, literally. Virtual memory is very slow compared to RAM.

Indexing can also add to your woes. Of special concern is cideamon.exe this indexing service can use up over 50% of your CPU resources. It is a function of desktop search. Check "task manager" to see if its on your computer.

You have three hard drives and you don't have enough hard drive space. Face it your a pack rat. Copy some of your stuff to CD/DVD disk and leave it there. You can clutter up your living space instead of your computer. This should make you much happier.

Collapse -
Wow there.

In reply to: Thrashing

I've seen thrashing due to a maximum size swap file too.

It's gotta be another Windows anomaly that won't die. Our theory was the Windows memory manager was trying far too hard to swap unused memory out. But that's our theory. The fact is probably stranger.


Popular Forums

Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions


This one tip will help you sleep better tonight

A few seconds are all you need to get a better night's rest.