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It has been over a year me using my machine (a laptop), and these days disk access has become really slow.

  • I am using Windows Vista Home Premium.
  • The disc fragmentation (checked using Defraggler) is only 9%.
  • Also, there is plenty of space free left in the partition. So, that is not a problem either.

What can the problem be and what should I do to get the fast accesses back?

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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Here's two possible causes:

  1. Too much disk access from some programs you may not know are there (malware, rootkits, etc.)
    or
  2. Your disk is getting old and it is starting to run into errors, bad sectors, etc. Run a disk integrity check and make sure that the physical hardware is fine. You shouldn't hear any clicks, clunks, pops, etc. coming from the drive itself. Such noises is commonly an indication of a drive failure which is about to happen.
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Solutions: For 1. - If you are an advanced user, use ProcessExplorer from sysinternals.com and kill all unnecessary processes. Then try using computer. If it is ok, you have to remove items that are loaded when computer is turned on with Autoruns, from sysinternals.com - If you are a newbie or if above solution failed, save all your important data in some DVD's etc. and try to format the drive and reinstall OS (well, I think WinXP, for old computers, or Win7 are better) For 2. - Save all your important data on DVDs etc. and buy another HD. Note: old HDs have some normal noise –  kokbira Jun 21 '10 at 16:33
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If this didn't happen before and the disk seems very busy and slow lately, then it could be a virus/spyware or a newly installed software that keeps the drive busy. Maybe an update on a program you're using introduced new features that change the way it accesses the drive. It could be an antivirus/antispyware software you are using keeping the drive busy more than they should. You could try the new Soluto software to scan the boot process and maybe spot a slow program.

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Defrag. ASAP. 9% doesn't sound like much, but for Windows that's a lot. This will make it "better" but may not "cure" the problem.

Next step (assuming you're not satisfied with result of defrag) is to upgrade to Windows 7.
Yes, it's that much better. Vista falls into the same category as Windows ME. It was released before it was ready (my personal opinion). Unlike Vista, Win7 is actually pretty good. Stable. Reasonably fast. Lower/better resource usage compared to Vista. Whether it's worth the $150 to upgrade is up to you, but I thought it was worth the money.

Hotei

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