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About two days ago my Lenovo V570 laptop (Windows 7 Home Premium) slowed to a crawl. After checking the resource monitor I found that the "Highest Active Time" is always at 100% (Not Disk I/O, just Highest Active Time). When I boot it into safe mode everything works fine, which led me to believe it is some running service/process that is causing the problem.

I used Services.msc (in safe mode) to switch every automatic startup service I could to manual (with the exception of "Group Policy Client", "Task Scheduler", and "Norton 360" which it wouldn't let me change.) When that didn't help I uninstalled Norton 360, which didn't do anything either.

This problem has occurred once before and was solved by a reformat of the system. Unfortunately I don't have access to a large enough external hard drive to store my data at the moment. I recently installed FileZilla, VLC, and Office 2007 Compatibility pack, all of which I uninstalled without any luck. The slowdown appears to occur shortly after I enter my windows password, usually during the Welcome loading screen.

Any ideas? I'm all out.

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Does any process or (especially) service shows high CPU usage? 5% of CPU can be considered high in idle state. –  Petr Abdulin Feb 12 '13 at 17:08
    
Have you tried defragmenting your hard drive? Lot's of good free tools out there. –  Enigma Feb 12 '13 at 17:11
    
Nope, all process are under 1% as are all services. Though the Maximum Frequency (whatever that means) is at a consistent 87%. As for defragmenting, no I didn't think of that. I can just use the tool that comes with windows though, right? –  yajtheman Feb 12 '13 at 17:15
    
IMO, the windows one is sub-optimal. You may benefit from a more comprehensive tool that can optimize the defrag. –  Enigma Feb 12 '13 at 17:16
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1 Answer

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  1. Defrag (http://download.cnet.com/Auslogics-Disk-Defrag/3000-2094_4-10567503.html - a good tool)
  2. If not better after doing a full defrag/optimize, run a chkdsk /R
  3. If it's still problematic, get a comprehensive hard disk health checking tool to verify that the disk health is still good (http://pcsupport.about.com/od/toolsofthetrade/tp/tophddiag.htm - for some ideas).
  4. Depending on the results of the health test, you may have a hard drive on it's way out. At this point, you definitely want to get another disk and back up your current data while you still can.

It seems clear that the issue is the read/write speed and less likely to be the CPU being overloaded. The computer will slow down if it is waiting for slow disk reads (ie OS files).

http://www.addictivetips.com/windows-tips/crystaldiskmark-check-readwrite-speed-of-hard-drives/ - can give you an idea of your disk's current performance. You can match the results to the specs to see at what % it is operating.

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I'll give Defrag a try then. /R would be the same as /r, correct? –  yajtheman Feb 12 '13 at 17:25
    
It will either accept it or it won't - can't remember if it's case-sensitive. Depending on the disk size, it will take some time (several hours for 100'sGB+). –  Enigma Feb 12 '13 at 17:27
    
Question just occurred to me: If fragmentation is the problem, why would it work perfectly in Safe Mode? –  yajtheman Feb 12 '13 at 17:28
    
For one thing, less is working in safe mode. Less drivers, less services, and ultimately less disk I/O. For your sake, I hope it is just fragmentation but I'm not betting on it. I had a computer with similar symptoms and the hard drive was the last thing I thought It'd be. Reformatting worked for a while but as it continued marking more and more bad sectors, the fragmentation consequently was getting worse and worse. –  Enigma Feb 12 '13 at 17:32
    
I think I might have to go with a bad hard drive. The defrag worked for about five minutes and then it went back to 100% Active Time. I ran chkdsk /R (Which caused it to schedule a run on next boot) and it ran for about 2 seconds before reporting that the disk was clean. Was that what should have happened? –  yajtheman Feb 12 '13 at 17:56
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