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The one really rattles the brain.

The computer was "slow", which is why I was called out in the first place.

The first thing I noticed was that it took literally 3-4 minutes to turn on. This is a fairly fast, low cost computer I built for a company about a year back with the following specs:

  • BIOSTAR A880G+ Motherboard

  • 3.00 Ghz AMD Phenom II X4 960T

  • Windows 7 Ultimate

  • Seagate ST3500413AS 500GB 6.0Gbps HD

  • 4GB of Memory

It was getting stuck on the BIOS screen (everything about the BIOS seemed slow, I could read the information quite easily as it flashed across the black screen and it took a good 30 seconds for anything to even show up) around loading the hard drive, so I switched the hard drive SATA cable and also the motherboard's port.

Now the BIOS loads up as fast as you would expect it to, but the OS is still excrutiatingly slow.

I manage to get to the Windows 7 "Install" screen after about 10 minutes of waiting, when I had just tested the exact same install sequence on a much slower laptop earlier that day and it took all of a few seconds to hit the "Install" screen.

Could the motherboard be "broken" but still working, perhaps?

I just checked the hard drive using CHKDSK and SeaTools and it passed with flying colours. There was some mention of "Bad LBA: ### Not Repaired" inside the SeaTools analysis but that's about it.

The only other thing I can think to check would be to swap out the memory..? But Belarc advisor claims it can find all of the Memory and that it's working properly.

Any ideas?

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2 Answers 2

For this problem you've got three components you can swap, the motherboard, the SATA cable and the hard drive. Your question didn't mention swapping the hard drive into another machine or a different hard drive into this machine. I would look at what happens when a different hard drive is put in this machine.

Standard troubleshooting procedure is to change out components till you've isolated the busted component. So far you've got two of the three components switched.

And "Bad LBA" errors is a fairly significant problem, not "with flying colors".

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I meant "with flying colors" as in it passed the long generic test from sea tools. I couldn't find much information on what a "Bad LBA" even was :S Thank you for the suggestions. –  darkAsPitch Aug 16 '12 at 18:25
    
I don't know exactly how they work either but looking at the wikipedia page gave me the idea that they're really important for actually locating information on the actual disk. LBA And if there are corrupt LBAs then there might be some kind of timeout going on disk access. –  Green Aug 16 '12 at 20:58

Try doing a hard drive benchmark with hdTune once the system is fully booted (there is a free version half way down the page). The average read speed should probably be above 60 MB/s. The graph should curve down gradually. If it happens to be slower... you could check to make sure it is in ultraDMA mode and not PIO mode.

While you have hdTune open, you can check the health tab just for fun to see if you have any reallocated sectors. According to a google study, hard drives are more likely to fail in the near future if they have reallocated sectors. It happens from time to time that hard drives go bad without a single sign of failure other than slowness or data corruption.

You can try running a live cd like Knoppix to compare the speed. If Knoppix runs fine... then the motherboard is probably fine.

You can try booting with soluto to see if there are any applications that start with windows that take an abnormal amount of time to start.

It might be necessary to re-install if files were corrupted due to the faulty cable or a bad hard drive. If you end up wanting to re-install for some reason, you can use Advanced Tokens Manager to backup and restore the windows activation (since this is a custom build).

I don't think the memory is to blame but you can do a thorough test with the memory tester that comes with windows 7 or you can boot knoppix and type memtest and press enter at the boot prompt.

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