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Strange HDD Activity

Hello everybody.
I'm running a HP Pavilion ZE4230 Notebook.
Specs are:
Celeron 1.8
512 MB RAM
IC25N040ATCS04-0 (40.0GB)
XP Home

I have just recently formatted the computer and reinstalled everything because after too many years of using the computer, it was beginning to run a bit slow.
The only differences between my last install and this one was that I switched from AVG Free Edition to Avira's Antivir and that I installed and uninstalled WMP11.

The HDD light will randomly stay lit, and the computer will become unresponsive for a pretty long while, I don't know why that is. Mouse pointer and caps lock key will still work, but it will show the hourglass pointer and Icons, programs and start button will stop responding. After a while of leaving it alone (~5min.)
The HDD will stop "working" (the HDD activity light will return to normal) and the computer will become responsive again.
When this starts happening, I open up the task manager but processor usage is idle and memory usage is completely normal.
I ran a full CHKDSK last week, but did not solve the problem.
The problem seemed to be alleviated when I uninstalled WMP11, but it has since returned.

My guesses are viruses or a dying HDD, but have not found evidence of neither.

This computer has always had temperature issues.
The core temperature is 61 celsius and the HDD temp. is 49 celsius. (used to be much higher, but I installed a Targus Chill Pad).

Here is the S.M.A.R.T. dump I got, but I don't know how to read it.

Raw Read Error Rate: 94
Throughput Performance: 100
Spin Up Time: 132
Start/Stop Count: 98
Reallocated Sector Count: 78
Seek Error Rate: 100
Seek Time Performance: 100
Power On Hours Count: 67
Spin Retry Count: 100
Power Cycle Count: 98
GSense Error Rate: 100
Power Off Retract Count: 100
Load Cycle Count: 69
Reallocated Event Count: 67
Current Pending Sector: 100
Offline Uncorrectable Sector Count: 100
Ultra DMA CRC Error Rate: 200

I would really appreciate your advise

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Just a google about the most common cause (indexing)

In reply to: Strange HDD Activity

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Not Indexing

In reply to: Just a google about the most common cause (indexing)

I formatted because the install was about 2yrs old, and registry bloat was hogging down the system, but it was virus and spyware free (according to AVG Free at least).
I've ran ad-aware and all it found was a couple of tracking cookies, and one of the first things I did when I installed the OS was to disable the indexing service.

I use FF as a browser and TBird for e-mail, so I'm pretty sure I didn't catch any spyware along the way.

I'll try with Housecall and EWIDO to see if they find anything strange going on, but right now i'm betting on hardware.

I seem to have some kind of HDD Curse. The last computer I owned (a Toshiba Notebook) killed two of them, so this one might be dying as well.

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2 curses.

In reply to: Not Indexing

1. Run the drive maker's FITNESS TEST. The name changes so run that and see what it thinks (SMART report?)

2. Perform the IDE PIO DMA flip noted at
Sometimes I find XP has silently moved to a lower DMA mode (it lies what it's doing) and by flipping it to PIO and back per the article I find some hard disk activity ceases.

In closing, another owner installed a cache manager. Turns out it did what it said and hard disk use went up.


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In reply to: 2 curses.

Even though the Fitness test says the drive is OK, (not in tip-top shape, but shouldn't die either. Since I killed Windows Live Messenger Beta the problem seems to have dissappeared. Momentarily at least.
I think i'll get a can of kerosene and just torch the darn thing, it's driving me insane.
Thank god i'm replacing it next month.

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I was about to mention Windows Messenger,

In reply to: baffling

and also the Indexing Service, although as you said nothing was showing up in Task Manager as taking up cpu usage, I was a bit unsure of indexing.

But hopefully you have now cleared the problem.

Good luck.

And I am still in your debt for helping me out of my own DNS problem a week or so ago. Happy


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Windows Live Messenger Beta

In reply to: I was about to mention Windows Messenger,

The most baffling thing about all this is that there's no unusual CPU or RAM usage as per the task manager. although I was sharing a rather enormous file through WLM's sharing folders; I doubt if it has anything to do with the problem.
So far, since I killed MSN Messenger the problem has not occurred again.

Thanks for your input mate!

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