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In the Resource Monitor I'am looking at the disk response time. There are a lot of processes where the response time is thousands of milliseconds consistently, I'm pretty sure this is the source of my computer slowing down. I'm not sure what normal response times are, though?

I'm running Win 7 64 Bit Ultimate. This is running on a new computer, i5 with a terabyte drive, 4gigs of ram, the disk is still pretty much empty, so it should all be pretty snappy.

And if it is going really slow, how do I track down what's causing it?

I've turned off things like real time virus protection as experiments to see if there is something weird there, but it makes no real difference (other than it doesn't contribute to the problem by accessing the disk).

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Resource Monitor should tell you the program and the file involved when this occurs (see the screenshot from a similar problem of mine:…). Also, have you tried de-fragmenting the hard drive? – sblair Feb 2 '10 at 22:27
all programs and files! its like fundamentally something slowing down access to the disk. and funny you should mention defragmenting the disk.... I just was looking at that, and without defragging, I ran "analyze" and for some reason all of a sudden all the response times suddenly dropped to around 10ms instead of 4000->8000ms. Snappy! But I'm still confused what caused it. – Keith Nicholas Feb 2 '10 at 22:32
and now its back to taking around 4000-8000ms again. – Keith Nicholas Feb 2 '10 at 22:37
well, from what I can tell its TortiseSVN ( a source control tool ) that was causing the disk to be in constant use! I think it just ended up making the disk seek all the time and the disk was 100% active. No tools showed the problem up. Nothing suggested it was TortiseSVN. I just was pondering things which might hook the underlying file system in some way and uninstalled, and remembered not so long ago I got an update for TortiseSVN. So uninstalled. So far it seems all good. Turned everything else back on. – Keith Nicholas Feb 3 '10 at 1:07
sigh actually, no, for some reason it has come back – Keith Nicholas Feb 3 '10 at 1:21
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I personally use Microsoft / Sysinternals Process Explorer.

Click on one of the four graphs at the top to bring up the current system information, then you can click on any of the peaks under the I/O bytes History graph and it will tell you what is doing the most hard drive related activities at any moment.

My crude drawing

If however you are getting no peaks and very slow responses, it could be a sign that the hard drive is dying (or in some rare situations, faulty memory)

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I had a play with that.... however it is actually way less detailed than resource monitor. Which gives the exact same information plus a whole lot more about each individual process and what its doing. I think the problem is something to do the access to the drive / pagefile? or something like that.... its like its encrypting all the data or something :) Maybe doing lots and lots of seeks or something? I'm not quite sure. when there is harldy anything running then its pretty quick, as soon as a few programs are running it seems to really slow down. – Keith Nicholas Feb 3 '10 at 0:07

99% it's your hdd!

I have seen this problem on 3 Laptop running Windows 7 in the last 6 months.

Each time replacing the HDD has fixed it.

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protected by Community Aug 14 '11 at 11:30

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