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Runaway hard drive

by sknoof / January 12, 2010 12:03 AM PST

I'm usually pretty good at getting under the hood and solving odd problems, but this one has me bewildered.

The computer is an HP pavilion 763n. P4-2.4, 160GB primary (with second partition for pagefile) and 160GB secondary drive aliased to "My Documents." 2GB RAM, XP home sp3 updated religiously. Norton NIS also updated religiously.

About 2 weeks ago, I noticed the hard drive was audibly running virtually all the time. If I restart the computer, it runs normally for about six or seven minutes and then the HD starts running away with itself again, with NO CHANGE in the process table. Everything in the table looks completely normal. System Idle Process hovers near 99%. There's nothing unusual in "Scheduled Tasks." I disabled Windows Search. I disabled indexing. I turned Norton off. I checked manually for viruses, spyware, sevearl different ways with several different products. And the computer's speed and even HD access seem totally unaffected. This goes on and on, even when I am running no software at all. I kill all killable processes, one by one, and there's no change. Whatever is going on here, it seems totally invisible. I'm completely baffled.

And no, I've changed nothing. Installed no new software, done no reorganizing or repartitioning. (The pagefile has been in a separate partition for a couple of years now.)


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second partition for pagefile can = hard working drive.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 12, 2010 12:45 AM PST
In reply to: Runaway hard drive

Here's the rub. Every time the page file is accessed that's one LONG seek to that partition. You can find tomes (web pages) about this.

But the most common reasons are forgotten motherboard drivers and the old XP DMA issue. We can't count on XP to report the DMA proper so we set it to PIO, OK it and then back to DMA and OK it. Repeat for all channels.

Another common item I see today is overlapping protections. Mix Spybot's Teatimer and Norton (there are some dozen combos like that) and the machine runs hard and slow.

What confuses the usual owners is "I didn't change a thing." But we still find the usuals at play.

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runaway hard drive
by sknoof / January 12, 2010 12:55 AM PST

Yeah, I don't run TeaTimer for that very reason. And I'm doubting that it's the pagefile since this has never happened before. But I didn't think of the DMA/PIO thing, I'm going to investigate that. Thanks!

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runaway hard drive
by sknoof / January 12, 2010 3:02 AM PST
In reply to: runaway hard drive

The DMA thing made no difference, I'm afraid. Nor did removing the pagefile partition.

It's utterly maddening that this thing is churning away so fiercely and I can't find any smoking gun.

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Any indexing?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 12, 2010 3:57 AM PST
In reply to: runaway hard drive
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runaway hard drive
by sknoof / January 12, 2010 5:22 AM PST
In reply to: Any indexing?

Nope -- I had already checked both of those -- sorry I neglected to mention it.

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Still haven't figured this out...
by sknoof / January 16, 2010 7:49 AM PST
In reply to: runaway hard drive

More info: the churning hard drive does NOT stop churning, even for a second, when I restart the computer. But when I shut down fully and bring it back up, it takes about a minute or two to start churning (after the normal drive-access associated with bootup has finished.) Watching the task manager when the churning starts, I see no change.

Nothing in the Hijack This report looks out of the ordinary:

Logfile of Trend Micro HijackThis v2.0.2
Scan saved at 6:43:25 PM, on 1/16/2010
Platform: Windows XP SP3 (WinNT 5.01.2600)
MSIE: Internet Explorer v8.00 (8.00.6001.18702)
Boot mode: Normal

Running processes:
C:\Program Files\HP\Digital Imaging\bin\hpqSRMon.exe
C:\Program Files\iTunes\iTunesHelper.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\bin\AppleMobileDeviceService.exe
C:\Program Files\Bonjour\mDNSResponder.exe
C:\Program Files\Norton Internet Security\Engine\\ccSvcHst.exe
C:\Program Files\Norton Internet Security\Engine\\ccSvcHst.exe
C:\Program Files\iPod\bin\iPodService.exe
C:\Program Files\Trend Micro\HijackThis\HijackThis.exe

R1 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Default_Page_URL =
R1 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Default_Search_URL =
R1 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Search Page =
R0 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Start Page =
R1 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings,ProxyOverride = *.local;<local>
O2 - BHO: Symantec NCO BHO - {602ADB0E-4AFF-4217-8AA1-95DAC4DFA408} - C:\Program Files\Norton Internet Security\Engine\\coIEPlg.dll
O2 - BHO: Symantec Intrusion Prevention - {6D53EC84-6AAE-4787-AEEE-F4628F01010C} - C:\Program Files\Norton Internet

O3 - Toolbar: Norton Toolbar - {7FEBEFE3-6B19-4349-98D2-FFB09D4B49CA} - C:\Program Files\Norton Internet Security\Engine\\coIEPlg.dll
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [hpqSRMon] C:\Program Files\HP\Digital Imaging\bin\hpqSRMon.exe
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [iTunesHelper] "C:\Program Files\iTunes\iTunesHelper.exe"
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [QuickTime Task] "C:\Program Files\QuickTime\qttask.exe" -atboottime
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [ctfmon.exe] C:\WINDOWS\system32\ctfmon.exe
O8 - Extra context menu item: E&xport to Microsoft Excel - res://C:\PROGRA~1\MICROS~3\OFFICE11\EXCEL.EXE/3000
O16 - DPF: {17492023-C23A-453E-A040-C7C580BBF700} (Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool) -
O16 - DPF: {6414512B-B978-451D-A0D8-FCFDF33E833C} (WUWebControl Class) -
O16 - DPF: {6E32070A-766D-4EE6-879C-DC1FA91D2FC3} (MUWebControl Class) -
O16 - DPF: {73ECB3AA-4717-450C-A2AB-D00DAD9EE203} (GMNRev Class) -
O16 - DPF: {8100D56A-5661-482C-BEE8-AFECE305D968} (Facebook Photo Uploader 5 Control) -
O16 - DPF: {9C23D886-43CB-43DE-B2DB-112A68D7E10A} (MySpace Uploader Control) -
O16 - DPF: {A9F8D9EC-3D0A-4A60-BD82-FBD64BAD370D} (DDRevision Class) -
O16 - DPF: {D27CDB6E-AE6D-11CF-96B8-444553540000} (Shockwave Flash Object) -
O23 - Service: Apple Mobile Device - Apple Inc. - C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\bin\AppleMobileDeviceService.exe
O23 - Service: Bonjour Service - Apple Inc. - C:\Program Files\Bonjour\mDNSResponder.exe
O23 - Service: InstallDriver Table Manager (IDriverT) - Macrovision Corporation - C:\Program Files\Common Files\InstallShield\Driver\1050\Intel 32\IDriverT.exe
O23 - Service: iPod Service - Apple Inc. - C:\Program Files\iPod\bin\iPodService.exe
O23 - Service: Norton Internet Security (NIS) - Symantec Corporation - C:\Program Files\Norton Internet Security\Engine\\ccSvcHst.exe
O23 - Service: WAN Miniport (ATW) Service (WANMiniportService) - America Online, Inc. - C:\WINDOWS\wanmpsvc.exe

End of file - 4627 bytes

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3 things that could be it.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 16, 2010 8:12 AM PST
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I thought I sounded smarter than...
by sknoof / January 16, 2010 11:09 AM PST

" can't possibly be a virus because I have Norton." Geez!

Well, I'm two thirds of the way ahead of you...I had already disabled snmp as well as all the Apple stuff. Removed the Apple stuff from the services table too. I haven't killed off the Norton yet, but that was my next step...

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Glad to read that.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 16, 2010 11:24 AM PST

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