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I have an issue that seems to be disk related. Occasionally my system will block for 30 or so seconds and is mostly unresponsive. Those things already in memory requiring no disk access continue to function but those things requiring disk access (even small) hang. 30 seconds later everything is back to normal.

  • I have 2 Samsung drives in RAID 0.
  • I have 1 WD drive (has pagefile)
  • I have an SSD used for caching (Intel Smart Response).

This is a new install of Windows and the drives were fine in my old PC (~1 month ago).

Has anyone experienced anything similar? Any suggestions to solve this one?

Thanks in advance.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Sounds like there could potentially be a problem on the disk, maybe it is hanging trying to read a bad sector. I would suggest testing the Hard Drive to ensure it isn't failing.

There are a variety of bootable disk utilities to test the health of Hard Drives. One simple but effective tool to use is Drive Fitness Test. This will tool will essentially go through the drive checking for bad sectors as well as performing a number of other checks in the process.

If DFT reports that the drive is failing (diagnostics in red box) you should IMMEDIATELY back up anything of importance and then check to see if the drive is still under warranty to see if you can file an RMA on the drive.

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I'll be the nag that says "you should be backing everything up anyway" –  Mark Sowul May 30 '12 at 14:50
    
@jmreicha I have completed low level scans of every disk and come across no problems. Once the problem happens once it will continue to do so every minute or 2 until the computer is rebooted. Any further ideas as to the cause? I would rather not blindly replace the HDDs with current prices as they are. –  diolemo Jun 2 '12 at 23:16
    
I personally would continue testing for hardware issues just to be thorough. It wouldn't hurt to run a memtest. After that is completed if there are no issues you'll probably want to start troubleshooting the OS. Does this happen in safe mode? –  jmreicha Jun 3 '12 at 16:11

Same basic response as jmreicha above, but I'd recommend you download the specific drive testing software (usually a bootable CD or USB image to burn) for each drive and test them with a reboot individually. The hangs typically happen because of a drive error that causes the drive to keep retrying what it was doing (reading or writing) until it succeeds or gives up. You want to know if the drive has a problem like this before losing data.

Another option is to install something like smartmontools (top result for that word in Google), and enable the service on startup. It will report any errors the drives report with SMART and leave them in the system events log for you to read. I'd do this anyway; having events listings when a drive overheats or has seek errors is always a nice warning.

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I have completed low level scans of every disk and come across no problems. Once the problem happens once it will continue to do so every minute or 2 until the computer is rebooted. Any further ideas as to the cause? I would rather not blindly replace the HDDs with current prices as they are. –  diolemo Jun 2 '12 at 23:16
    
Did you install the smartmontools monitor service so it logs any hard drive abnormalities? –  mikebabcock Jun 8 '12 at 16:20
1  
I am monitoring it yes. It hasn't happened again yet after my extensive fiddling. –  diolemo Jun 10 '12 at 11:32

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