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I have this peculiar problem on an HP Pavilion DV7-5000 (product number XE385EA) that can hang the system for a few moments—up to 10 seconds sometimes—if the application reads from the disk and it was occurring since the beginning. The disk LED is on when it happens. It also does not appear to hang the OS itself, but the application that reads from it:

  • It happens on videos that are read from the internal HDD and not if they are read from an external USB drive. The video hangs as well as the audio and it resumes later. The rest of the OS does not appear hang completely, but applications such as browsers also “pause” momentarily.

  • It happens on games installed on the internal hard drive. Not on games installed on an external USB drive.

  • It happens on browsers and other applications that are installed on the internal HDD.

Relative models of the HP Pavilion DV7-5000 had a SATA problem so they were eligible for replacement. But I heard that did not apply for the HM55 chipset and it appears this model has the HM55 chipset so I assume it’s not that problem.

I have searched for “thrashing” and HM55 and I don’t see anything definitive. Or with “pause” hm55.

The problem appears also on completely different operating systems (Linux, Windows 7 and Windows 8) so it appears closer to hardware, though you never know if both have the same software problem.

I wonder if a new internal disk would fix it or it's a controller problem?

The problem is that the laptop does not have a 2nd slot for a disk (not even connections) so one can’t just add a second disk.

I have some limited programming knowledge and this reminds of an fread() hanging a single-loop app, but in a deeper hardware sense since it occurs on apps that provide for that.

The disk/controller from CrystalDiskInfo:

-- Controller Map ----------------------------------------------------------

 + Intel(R) Mobile Express Chipset SATA AHCI Controller [ATA]

   - ST9500420AS

   - hp CDDVDW TS-L633R

Seeing that, I wonder if disabling the CD will fix it. I doubt it, but I may try it.

As far as what I have tried to attempt to solve the issue, with both caching options selected the problem is alleviated (both boxes ticked in the relevant device manager properties page for the drive). It still occurs but it’s more rare and it appears to last for fewer seconds. With caching options disabled (both caching options unticked in device manager for the drive) it occurs much more frequently.

It doesn't appear to be much different between normal and safe mode, though it may be related to frequency of operations/activity in general of writes or reads.

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2 Answers 2

It may be the drive has a bad area and periodically is retrying when it gets to that spot. Look for a disk utility to test the integrity of you drive ASAP. You can try and look to the manufacturer of the hard drive for a free version. Click Start, right click Computer, go to Properties, go to Device Manager and look for Disk drives. Identify your drive (Western Digital or Seagate) and then go to their website. They will usually have a utility for free to test your drive. Dependent on the drive, look for a non-destructive test. May take a LONG time to run. Back up your data.

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The drive is like that for more than 2 years and I have made checks. The only suspicious thing is that (for years) the 'reallocated sectors count' is stuck at 96 which is theoretically suspicious but even if it's the problem it doesn't escalate since the number is stable since the beginning. –  leladax Jan 17 '13 at 14:50

I have found a way to greatly alleviate the problem. I don't know if it's solved completely but it's certainly easier:

Disable Windows write-caching from the drive's options in control panel (yes, tick both boxes there).

Also, according to the Intel Rapid Storage documentation their service should aid in performance when that option is used. In fact they appear to hint to users on the main window of their app to disable windows' caching even if they warn it increases the risk when unexpected power failures occur (this may hint to the whole thing being a deficiency of the controller).

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