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When I plug my external USB 2TB hard drive into my windows 7 box, my RAM usage climbs up to all 4 Gigs (but in task manager it shows that all process are small) and the hard drive is churning like crazy. My CPU is only about 20% utilized

All I can think of is there is a Virus scanner or an indexer running like crazy. I've tried to kill all virus scanners (AVG and Windows Security Essentials) and it still keeps going.

My computer is completely unusable as everything is constantly swapping.

I've tried leaving it on for 2 days now and it still hasn't finished whatever it was doing.

Any ideas?

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10  
You're running two antiviruses at the same time? That's never a good idea. –  Phoshi Jan 19 '10 at 8:50
    
Uninstall one of your AV softwares! –  Moab Dec 4 '10 at 17:53

4 Answers 4

up vote 13 down vote accepted

You might want to check in the Resource Monitor as well. It shows much more detailed information about where memory is being used. You can access it from the start menu, or by clicking "resource monitor" in the Task Manager's performance tab.

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And that's a screenshot taken over SU, so for sure it works better! –  Gnoupi Jan 19 '10 at 9:32

Check eventually with Process Explorer from Sysinternals, to have more details about all processes, and which one is taking memory.

Process explorer screenshot

Keep in mind that the low CPU is not surprising, it doesn't need to use a lot of it, to use simply memory, and a lot of data.

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Make sure you click "Show processes from all users" in task manager. Otherwise it hides the system processes. Switching to 7 from XP this tripped me up a few times troubleshooting CPU hogs; I kept forgetting to click the button.

(In XP it was a persistent checkbox; hope I can find a way to make it persistent in 7...)

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Good point. Sadly, I already found that. It shows svchost.exe at 141MB, my IM client at 35MB, MsMpEng.exe at 19MB and it goes down from there. They definitely don't sum to 4 Gigs. –  Paul Tarjan Jan 19 '10 at 8:50
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It's persistent if launched as admin - otherwise it'll need to manually elevate to get it. –  Phoshi Jan 19 '10 at 9:39

I've been using the same external USB drive with the same OS on the same laptop for quite a while. A few days back I transferred some data from another computer (running Vista) into it, and whenever I plugged it in nearly 100% of my 2G memory was being used.

Don't know the hows and the whys, but I solved it by reducing the number of files/folders stored directly in the drive.

When I cleaned up my drive by putting everything into folders, the problem went away.

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