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How to debug problems with simple copying files?

I often have a problems when just copying many files from one disk to another. Probably the problem occurs only with ONE of hard drives, installed on my computer, only if copying FROM any drive TO this drive.

Copying application hangs while doing copy. I can't interrupt copying, because when I click cancel or closing copy window is starts "finishing" and never stops. Also I can't KILL copying application in any way.

Logout/login (closing a session with pressing "by force") helps, but if copy again, it can freeze again.

My question is: how to detect ALL potential problems with copying? How to know, for example, which program occupies hard drive in the same way we see processor or memory occupation in task manager?


Disk is Seagate Constellation ES, ST1000NM0011

Motherboard is ASUS "P7P55-M" (iP55, 4xDDR3, SATA II-RAID, U133, PCI-E, SB, 1Gbit LAN, IEEE1394, USB2.0, mATX)

Windows in Windows 8 x64 prof

enter image description here


I found a way to unfreeze copying.

To unfreeze copying, I should run some another copy in parallel! When parallel copy stops, first copy can freeze again, may be not immediately. To unfreeze it, one should run parallel copying again and again.

Windows For Workgroups

I remember similar was in Windows 3.11 times when copying over network was freezing. Microsoft can't fix 20 year old bugs?

UPDATE: no errors in event viewer

There are no errors in event viewer at the time of describing events and after last reboot.

UPDATE: no errors on disk

Chkdisk also show no errors.

UPDATE: probable explanation

Probable explanation is some buggie Windows File Explorer plugin.

UPDATE: upgrade to Windows 8 didn't help

UPDATE: Resource Monitor shows nothing special - just "pulsing" which looks normal

UPDATE: Far and Windows Explorer behave apparently equal

UPDATE: Turning on AHCI didn't help (was off in Windows and BIOS)

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I'm not sure if a tool exist, but, I would consider your AV and download the Acronis Disk Monitor Smart Tool for free to check your hard drive –  Dave Rook Jan 8 '13 at 15:04
Long hangs and extremely slow copying is an indication of SATA controller or disk problems. You aren't running an early Sandy Bridge chipset (Q67 or so) on the 3GB/s (SATA-II) port, are you? Are you aware that this port has a known defect? Also check the Windows event log and see if it documents any ATA transfer errors (disk write timeouts or so). –  ÃŁŁǫǛȉЖΦΤїҪ Jan 8 '13 at 15:08
@allquixotic how to check? I have ASUS "P7P55-M" (iP55, 4xDDR3, SATA II-RAID, U133, PCI-E, SB, 1Гбит LAN, IEEE1394, USB2.0, mATX) motherboard. –  Dims Jan 8 '13 at 15:16
If the OP is using an old IDE (40 pins parallel) hard drive then it will not be connected to a SATA connector. @OP: did you mean "IDE/PATA drive" or "SATA drive in ancient IDE compatability mode" ? –  Hennes Jan 8 '13 at 15:23
Any errors in the event viewer, system log part? (You can start that with [start] [run] eventvwr.msc. Then open [windows logs] and [system]). –  Hennes Jan 8 '13 at 15:26
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3 Answers

First thing is to check that the SATA/IDE controller or hard disk is working correctly. You could achieve this, as suggested by Hennes in the comment above, by checking the event viewer for I/O errors.

Next step would be to test your hard drive using a program such as HDTune. If speeds reported are unusually low, then there is a problem either with the disk or the controller.

If the controller and the disk are working properly, I suggest you check your hard disk for errors.

Another possible cause for the extremely low speed could also be excessive fragmentation; this is not likely as in Windows 7 defragmentation is done periodically by default.

If you want to monitor the hard drive usage, you can run Windows Resource Monitor.

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No errors in log and no errors from chkdsk. HDTune is not required since as with "parallel copying" method the speed is 16 Mb/sec which is ok. The reason of low speed is freezing. While frozen the speed is zero. The reason of freezing is unknown. –  Dims Jan 8 '13 at 21:20
Have you tried using Resource Monitor to watch the hard drive bandwidth usage while copying? –  Pincopallino Jan 9 '13 at 17:52
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If you suspect that the problem is with a Windows File Explorer add-on, then boot Windows in Safe Mode and see if the problem still exists. If the problem disappears, then the cause is some installed program (not necessarily an Explorer add-on).

To analyze the problem, download Autoruns for Windows and use it to see all your boot startups. Autoruns lets you save the current state, turn off startup items, and also turn them back on.

The Explorer tab is of special interest, containing all the Explorer add-ons. You can here turn them off, singly or in groups, then reboot to see if the problem still exists.

If the problem is not with Explorer add-ons, then use the Everything tab of Autoruns to do the same with other boot startups.

Before starting, I suggest creating a system restore point just in case.

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I can't enable/disable dozens of plugins. There thous be more precise way to catch the reason. –  Dims Jan 19 '13 at 14:03
You can disable them all by first booting into Safe mode. This will at least tell you if this is the problem or not. –  harrymc Jan 19 '13 at 14:39
This may not help since freezing is not 100% guaranteed –  Dims Jan 19 '13 at 17:54
It's certainly hard working in Safe mode for long. But anyway, you shouldn't have dozens of Explorer add-ons, so with Autoruns you can do this easily. –  harrymc Jan 19 '13 at 18:21
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This error may be related to Windows Explorer, or it may be related to low-level I/O subsystem.

To sort out Windows Explorer issues, try copying your files in the Far Manager. If it doesn't hang, then this problem should be resolved by uninstalling shell extensions, plugins, etc. If it still hangs, then problem is at low level: drivers, AHCI/IDE mode, cable, disk hardware etc.

Also it's a good idea to set "use system copy routine" = off in the Far Manager settings (F9, Options, System Settings) just for this test. System file copy routine is very complicated since Windows Vista.

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Today I was hanged with FAR, although "use system copy" was ON. –  Dims Apr 15 '13 at 11:33
If "use system copy" is OFF then it hangs too. –  Dims Apr 15 '13 at 11:34
Look for CRC cable errors, disk hardware errors and remapped sectors in some SMART monitoring tools. Do some error counters have nonzero value? Does CRC cable error counter grow over time? –  Mikhail Kupchik Apr 15 '13 at 11:44
See SMART report above. I found no "cable" information there. May I used wrong tool? –  Dims Apr 15 '13 at 11:52
Another probable cause of errors like this may be disk controller, especially buggy NCQ in AHCI mode. Try updating chipset drivers and BIOS first; if it doesn't help, then turn AHCI off in the BIOS setup. Windows will likely fail to boot with BSOD "STOP 0x0000007B INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE" after toggling this setting, in this case you should revert SATA controller to the AHCI mode, boot Windows, enable PCIIDE.SYS ( overclock.net/t/1227636/… ) and try changing this setting in BIOS setup again ( goo.gl/5BaAf ). –  Mikhail Kupchik Apr 15 '13 at 12:15
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