Vista thrashing of the hard disk

the lone gunman

Limp Gawd
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Oct 30, 2005
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i have been using vista 32bit for some time now and i, like some of you have this problem with vista. the problem being the constant thrashing of the hard disk that vista seams to like doing.
i have downloaded SP1 and i was under the impression that this problem would have been fixed with this update but its still doing it.
I understand it is somthing to do with the way vista indexes, so is there now a way to turn this indexing off so i can save my hard disk from being over used?:confused:
 

sanitarium16

Limp Gawd
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Dec 5, 2007
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Turning off indexing i believe will slow vista down a lot. Mine does it too, it seems to be the norm with vista.
 

the lone gunman

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Oct 30, 2005
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i wouldnt mind so much but i have it installed on my media center PC and there is nothing worse than the noise of the hard disk being accessed all the time whilst waching a film ect...

anyone have any ideas to a possible solution to this common problem?
 

NoxTek

The Geek Redneck
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There are two things you can do to curb Vista's constant HDD accessing behavior:


1. You can turn indexing off, simply go into the administrative options control panel and launch the 'Services' applet.

Now scroll down the list of services until you find 'Windows Search' and then double-click on it to open it's properties. Now click the 'Stop' button to stop the service from running, and then change the startup type to 'Disabled'. This will shut down the Windows Search service and all search indexing it does while your machine is idle.

The drawback to this is that file searching will take a lot longer than before since Windows Vista will no longer have a search index to rely on. If you never search for files on your computer you probably won't miss this much. On the other hand once you've had Vista up and running for a week or so the search indexes are built and the HDD thrashing goes away on it's own.



2. You can disable SuperFetch.

I don't recommend this if you use your Vista PC as a normal computer running everyday applications and games. SuperFetch is what makes Vista so responsive and snappy because it constantly monitors your PC usage and keeps your most commonly used programs loaded in memory ready to launch. If you disable SuperFetch Vista will return to an XP-like way of doing things and a program will not be loaded into memory until you launch it.

If you really do use this machine as purely an HTPC, then it may be advisable to disable superfetch since all you are doing is playing movies and watching TV.

Launch the 'Services' applet located in the Administrative Options control panel and double-click the 'Superfetch' service to access it's properties. Click the 'Stop' button to stop the Superfetch service immediately, and then change it's launch options to 'Disabled'. This will disable Vista's Superfetch caching scheme.


3. If you have 1GB of RAM you should upgrade to at least 2GB. Vista likes memory and on systems with under 2GB of memory it will constantly be accessing the swap file (virtual memory).
 

J4M3S0N79

Gawd
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Jul 25, 2002
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ROFL!!!! hehehehehe

I agree, Vista, is annoying with all of the HDD but if you have a desktop, let it do it's thing.

For mobiles, I would suggest turning it off for certain. Desktop search is really useful depending on how you use your machine, but I will tell you that once build up a document and media collection...it's useful to have.

I turned off my XP desktop seach off immediatly...it was slowing down my lappy a lot.
 

Jerome36

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Doesn't Vista also defrag during periods of inactivity. Perhaps that is what your system is doing, though it's just a guess.
 

jwhazel

Limp Gawd
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Apr 22, 2007
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^^I believe it does it once a week. But I've never seen it happen when the computer is actually in use.

Don't forget about disabling system restore.
 

griffinhart

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Interesting. The machines I am running stopped the HD thrashing shortly after Vista was installed. If you are seeing a lot of HD activity, it may be worth using the resource monitor to find out what exactly is doing the thrashing. I'm looking at the HD activity lights of three separate Vista machines as I type this and none of them are showing any significant activity.
 

rhexis

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the hdd thrashing slows then eventually stops after a few days of use. you will either have to deal with it or uninstall and go back to xp.
 

Phoenix86

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Blue Falcon likely hit the nail on the head.

Indexing can be disabled for most people. Vista will basically randomly access the HDD, generally while not in use. It wouldn't shock me to see it doing it while a process has been running for a while, but no keyboard/mouse activity is going on (like while watching a movie).

Superfetch is a good thing. The more ram you have, the more data vista can pre-load into RAM (and the longer it takes after startup for it to load). You shouldn't see superfetch hitting the HDD up after the initial boot process settles down.

I'm betting on #3, though. Your machine is disk-swapping while you have a large data file loaded (movie).

Check task manager and compare total, limit and peak commit charge under performance tab. What are these values? How much RAM do you have installed?
 

f1y

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I roll my mouse over a big file in vista and I can hear my Harddrive scream in pain. I roll over my music folder (600GB) and it goes crazy.
 

Mithent

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I roll my mouse over a big file in vista and I can hear my Harddrive scream in pain. I roll over my music folder (600GB) and it goes crazy.

It's trying to calculate the size of the folder for the folder, I think. It seems to give up if it takes more than a few seconds, reporting that my Games folder is "larger than 4.23GB".

Incidentally, regarding turning System Restore off - note that the System Restore shadow copies are also used for Previous Versions, so if you turn one off you turn off the other too.
 

the lone gunman

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Oct 30, 2005
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there seams to be alot of different things that could be causing this problem.
my media center PC only has 1GB of ram and its a S754 AMD system, so upgrading the RAM is not an option as DDR cost almost twice as much as DDR2.

Im gonna try a few of the suggestions and see what happens. because its such a low end system vista could be struggleing to perform all its tasks hence the "thrashing"

thanks for the advice, think its time for a system upgade:D

Credit to Blue Falcon for the in depth advice:)
 

NoxTek

The Geek Redneck
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there seams to be alot of different things that could be causing this problem.
my media center PC only has 1GB of ram and its a S754 AMD system, so upgrading the RAM is not an option as DDR cost almost twice as much as DDR2.

Ouuuuch. 1GB + Vista isn't the best idea for sure.

You may want to see about purchasing a ReadyBoost Approved flash drive. That would help some of the HDD thrashing for virtual memory. Almost as good as buying more RAM...

My other suggestion would be to run XP Media Center Edition or plain XP on the box. While that machine isn't really suited for Vista, XP will run great on it and should be able to handle any media center type duties with ease.
 

griffinhart

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It depends on what you are doing with it. My Dad's PC is Vista home premium on 1GB and no readyboost. It runs pretty darn well for office, browsing, mail, taxes and managing his digital photos.
 

milkweg

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Turning off indexing i believe will slow vista down a lot.

No it won't. It will just slow down searching but indexing might negate performance in other areas, like gaming, so it is a user choice. I turn it off because I don't need super fast searching and want to make sure my system is optimal for games.
 

milkweg

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2. You can disable SuperFetch.

I don't recommend this if you use your Vista PC as a normal computer running everyday applications and games. SuperFetch is what makes Vista so responsive and snappy because it constantly monitors your PC usage and keeps your most commonly used programs loaded in memory ready to launch.

I disabled Superfetch except for boot files and notice no difference in before and after performance. If there is a difference it must be quite a small difference and not something worth caring about.
 

CpuMan

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Yea it is definitely the 1GB of ram on your pc that is the OP's problem. In Vista when ever your ram usage reaches 80%, the hard drive thrashing starts, which would only be around 800MBs in your case.

Vista needs 2GBs or ram to run properly in my opinion.

Since I have upgraded to Vista x64 and 6GBs or ram, I do not get any hard drive thrashing till I hit 4.8GBs of ram usage, which is 80% of 6GBs, and I do not do that to often.

Up grade your ram on your pc, Vista will thank you for it.
 

number69

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Yea it is definitely the 1GB of ram on your pc that is the OP's problem. In Vista when ever your ram usage reaches 80%, the hard drive thrashing starts, which would only be around 800MBs in your case.

Vista needs 2GBs or ram to run properly in my opinion.

Since I have upgraded to Vista x64 and 6GBs or ram, I do not get any hard drive thrashing till I hit 4.8GBs of ram usage, which is 80% of 6GBs, and I do not do that to often.

Up grade your ram on your pc, Vista will thank you for it.

I've mentioned this before and I agree..I recommend 2GBs of ram for Vista...for basic use. In my experiences it's sluggish with 1 gig.
 
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