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When I'm working on my computer (usually using Word), I experience these annoying long HD hits which freeze up my typing or other activities. When I look at the Resource Manager (Disk) at the times that my HD light lights up for a long hit, I see response times for reads/writes that are typically on the order of 1000-4000 msec. Now, I don't know what a 'normal' response time should look like but these seem extremely long to me. (Hmm, perhaps all of my R/Ws are longer than they should be and these are just the worst offenders...).

I'd like this annoying behaviour to stop ASAP and, to that end, have done some chronicling of the behaviour and some homework.

The behaviour:

  1. From a fresh boot, (no apps running (other than startups incl. Symantec Endpoint Protection, etc)), the long HD bursts seem to write to some files much more than others (though perhaps this is because they're read from/written to more frequently anyway...).
    Particular favourites for 3-4 sec HD write bursts: lastalive0.dat/lastalive1.dat. 3-4 sec is a long time given that the total data written seems to be quite small.
    Other occasional long writes from a fresh boot: pagefile.sys, SerStat.dat (Sym. End. Prot.) and System.etvx. It's probably worth pointing out that not all writes to the above files take so long every time. Some/most writes to them are <10 msec.

  2. Disc reads also can take 1-4 sec if I open a program/folder that I haven't used in a while/ever (4 sec to open Win 7 Calculator??) or call a Word function that I haven't used in a while (3-4 sec to read the .dll file).

  3. Viewing of a video/listening to audio displays no lag as the 3-4 sec writing to the above files seems to be suppressed while the video/audio plays and then returns once the video/audio is finished. During playing, the response times for the writes to these files drops to <10 msec.

  4. Other apps (e.g. Word, Firefox) launch files which also occasionally exhibit long R/Ws.

Some homework:

  1. Resource Manager (Memory) shows lots of free RAM available so it's not an excessive paging issue though the long file R/Ws occasionally involve pagefile.sys.

  2. The laptop has been scanned and is virus-free.

  3. The behaviour persists after disabling antivirus software.

  4. The behaviour persists in Safe Mode.

  5. I have run both OEM and third-party diagnostics on the HD - it's fine (as it should be since I've only had the laptop 6 months!) Besides, the fact that the behaviour is suspended when audio/video plays (and under other circumstances such as indexing) suggests to me, the newb, that it's not hardware.

Laptop = Gateway NV79C51, Win 7 64x Home Premium SP1, i5 CPU, 4GB RAM, WDC WD5000BEVT HD

Could this perhaps be a latency/queuing issue of some sort?

Any assistance is greatly appreciated!

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There is a file indexing service on windows which runs in the background to optimise search. I believe it can cause the behaviour you've mentioned, although it's usually on older machines. try disabling that. The only downside is that search won't be as fast, but who ever uses that? –  roryok Aug 2 '12 at 8:54

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