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I just ran a test over at PC PitStop and on the whole my PC is working well. CPU is top 2%, RAM top 7%, Video top 11%, 3D video top 6% and then my HDD... bottom 45%.

This isn't a cheap HDD either, it's a 1TB Western Digital but it recorded the transfer rate at 48 MB/sec. I don't really know if that's good or bad, but being in the bottom 45% for a 6 month old HDD can't be good.

The only reason I ran a test was due to strange Windows freezes and slow booting, so I figure after that it might be the HDD. It does list a potential problem that my fragmentation is at 5%. I also have a partition on my HDD that I installed Windows 8 on, it has 20GB allocated and has been formatted and empty - I am not 100% sure how to remove it so just left it.

Anyway, any help would be greatly appreciated!

Edit: On another note, I did run a SMART test on it and it came back okay (this was using SpeedFan).

Edit2: Just done a test on HD Tune, did a benchmark and this is what it finished with:
enter image description here

The random dips look a bit alarming, but I am not really sure if I'm honest!

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If you have several other applications accessing the hard drive while running this test or if you ran it while the computer was still trying to boot (same difference) then you could experience these kinds of dips.

Since you're CPU is in the top 2% I'm assuming that you're running an Ivy Bridge Processor with a Z77 Chipset, if so then look into getting a small SSD for HDD Caching.

Personally, computers are at a stage right now where the bottleneck is the hard drive, there is very little that you can do to fix this problem without investing into SSD. I have a 2TB platter at home and a 128GB x2 RAID1 Intel RST 11.5Beta running. It works great. My boot times are more often than not less than 10 seconds. I install heavier programs on the 2TB platter and keep my pictures, videos, VMs on the platter.

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Thanks for the reply! I run an AMD Phenon II X6 1090T (6 @ 3.2GHz). It's been fine for months, it's not that it's randomly slow... just these past few days the boot times have been massively increased, and the entire PC has frozen several times... this afternoon it booted, froze and I had to force-restart it. That's the problem I'm trying to get to the bottom of - the random freezes. – Ashley Aug 24 '12 at 20:43

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