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Just recently, my Windows 7 computer (Thinkpad T410s) is suddenly doing a lot more disk I/O (as indicated by a light on the case) and randomly freezes for a couple seconds at a time before resuming whatever I was doing. The disk I/O light on my laptop stays solid on while the computer hangs (not flickering, like usual).

  • I have run a CHKDSK on both my drives, no problems.
  • Did a full scan with Microsoft Security Essentials, no viruses
  • Checked the ram with Window's built in memory checker (forget the name), no warnings
  • Did a full test on hardware with Lenovo's ThinkVantage hardware test software, no issues
  • Checked the event log, nothing stuck out as out of the ordinary
  • Updated all the drivers (and bios) to the latest version
  • Emptied disks so they are less than 50% full
  • Did a factory reset of the system, problem still exists
  • Cannot reproduce problem in safe-mode <-- problem now exists in safe-mode

This is especially weird, since after the factory reset, the problem still exists. I was wondering if anybody has any insight as to what this might be; I'm stumped.

Many thanks for your time.

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Suspect hard drive is my first guess. If you can, try swapping the drive and see if there's a change in behaviour. – user3463 Aug 3 '12 at 4:10
Would CHKDSK (HD Tune, or similar) detect faulty hard drives? I will test another hard drive as soon as I can, though it may be hard, as 1/8" HDDs are not very commonplace. – Michael Tang Aug 3 '12 at 6:02
I've the exact symptoms and tests... My only one solution was intall Windows 8, the PC was absurdly fast! – Click Ok Aug 3 '12 at 18:56
Super User answer to diagnosing possible HDD problems: – Deltik Aug 3 '12 at 18:56
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I suggest you download a disk checking utility such as the free Acronis version. This will at least hopefully narrow down any issues with the hard drive.

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Thanks for showing me this tool. It says my boot disk's health is at 20%, the reallocated sectors count failed at 91 (raw: 198), and the reallocation event count is degrading at 100 (raw: 31). Do these warnings indicate a drive failure, and is the problem I am running into characteristic of a drive failure? Many thanks for your time. – Michael Tang Aug 3 '12 at 19:02
The HD is $%^&! Back up, test the back up, and then bin it! – Dave Aug 6 '12 at 7:40
I've purchased a new SSD as a replacement. Worked great setting Windows up, but now the computer freezes for almost a minute at a time (though at further apart intervals). I will run Acronis again and post the results. – Michael Tang Aug 10 '12 at 21:20
It says my brand new SSD is at 80% health (Soft read error degrading). Should my drive be at such low health (threshold for warning is 70%) if it's brand new? – Michael Tang Aug 10 '12 at 21:25
I can mark an answer, though I don't believe this issue is resolved. – Michael Tang Aug 10 '12 at 22:09

If its at 20% the hard drive is going fail very soon . Get a new hard drive now , and backup all your files( you can use a hard drive dock for this) .

Reinstall the OS on a new hard drive and you should be good .

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Yes, I've ordered a new drive (mSATA SSD with 1.8" adapter) and will post and update when it comes. – Michael Tang Aug 4 '12 at 4:44

Install the latest Intel Rapid Storage driver, as this is often a cause.

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That assumes the OP actually has a version of that installed. Unless he is doing windows fake RAID via the BIOS there is no reason to assume this. – Hennes Nov 7 '12 at 20:45
It turns out the AHCI controller was broken (breaking?). Running a linux distribution under compatibility mode for the hard drive controller does not have the same issue (Windows will not run in compatibility mode) – Michael Tang Nov 13 '12 at 9:09

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