Edit: New discovery! It seems there is something about idling that's getting to it. If I load a program immediately as after the OS is finished loading the speed is perfect and phenomenal, but if I wait for say half an hour or more before loading anything from disk it works too slowly. I suspect Windows 10 is doing something on it if it's left for idle too long.

I have a SSD as main disk drive for frequently used applications and OS (Windows 10) and a second HDD 1TB Seagate Barracuda. The SSD is fine, the problem is with the HDD. It has the exact same issue as it was with the previous unit before it was replaced.

Early on the disk was running fine for about a month or two, but recently it became slower than dirt. Any read write action would lead to 100% disk usage with barely a few KB of data transfer actually happening.

In the Task Manager I noticed it was msmpeng.exe scanning it all the time which is Windows' antimalware tool, so I added the drive into exclusions for it so that it no longer scans the disk leading to disk usage because of it, but the problem stopped only temporarily

Opening a large file like a video is so slow that the playback become choppy as the system struggles to read the file as it is being played. It sometimes becomes universally slow as in anything that uses the drive becomes dirt slow as well, including defragmentator, chkdisk, image thumbnail generation or any disk check utilities.

I used Seatools on it and passed the SMART check.

Since it was sealed packed and everything like its predecessor I don't suspect a vendor foul play yet, but rather something wrong with the configuration of the system or damage from a faulty power supply, etc.

6 Answers 6


I will assume you mean that you are talking about your new 1TB Seagate.

My workday involves plugging hard drives into workstations for data destruction. Often, I come across hard drives that have the following problems that do not raise any errors from S.M.A.R.T. tests:

  1. Very slow random write speed. This could be due to internal resistance on the spinning platters or resistance on the read/write head. Read speed is about 20% percent faster than the random write speed on a normal hard drive.
  2. Very loud metal scratching sound coming from the hard drive. I have had hard drives pass S.M.A.R.T. tests that sound like a car is dragging a metal body panel behind it.

Possible cause:

  • Shock to your hard drive. Did you or a mail service drop it or accidently hit the drive on something? This could cause the drive to degrade rapidly.


  • Check for programs making frequent read/write requests to the disk in activity monitor. Make sure no unwanted programs are tying up your disk in the background.
  • If activity monitor looks OK, check how long it takes to transfer a large file to the disk. It should be close to the drive's advertised write speed (this may be affected by how the drive is connected i.e. USB 3.0 versus SATA).

If your disk is unable to write close to its advertised speed (or the maximum speed of the connection type) with few interruptions from other programs, it may just be faulty or damaged.

Just came across this possible solution

  • I found some new symptoms ! please see the Edit on the top of the question Dec 5, 2016 at 17:10
  • @user1062760 This sounds like the behavior of a "green" hard drive. The RPM slows down when the HDD is not being used, thus taking longer to spin up and access files. Is it a Barracuda LP or green drive? This however doesn't sound like the full answer to some of the problems described.
    – Craig
    Dec 10, 2016 at 0:38
  • @user1062760 I am not too knowledgable with the software side, but I would try some basic tools like [CCleaner] 1
    – Craig
    Dec 10, 2016 at 0:47
  • Well that didn't work. Here is the link to CCleaner: link. Also try out the tools on link. TDSSKiller, rkill, and adwcleaner have helped clean up my computer for free. If this is a virus of some sort, maybe this will help.
    – Craig
    Dec 10, 2016 at 0:50
  • So after multiple similar tests I can gurantee that its somehow related with drive being idle. leaving it idle goes to dirt speed of 20KBps but a system restart immediately restores it to 50MBps or more. checking the windows power settings says shut down harddisk after 20 min of inactivity, is that the reason? Dec 18, 2016 at 1:27

I had a similar experience with 1Tb Western Digital drive.

Turned out it was a defective drive.

Suggest 1. testing that adequate power supply is available for this drive. 2. check that corrrect PM and ACPI drivers are loaded (my experience is with Lenovo, and they are quite famous for providing bad drivers) 3. if possible replace drive with another one as a test.


I tried to disable some window service like bellow. My HDD performance 100% go down arround 10%

net.exe stop "Windows search"
net.exe stop superfetch
sc config "DiagTrack" start= disabled
sc stop "DiagTrack"
  • Just so I understand correctly - is your HDD performance improving or getting worse from disabling diagtrack? and it looks like a telemetry service so where/how you found it might be helpful, since it shouldn't impact performance that much
    – Journeyman Geek
    Apr 14, 2018 at 7:26
  • Run these command will prevent HDD too busy by these services (100% active) . when the HDD is not busy it will run other application faster. "My HDD performance 100%" => it mean HDD run too much. it's so busy to run needed application
    – Lê Tuấn
    Apr 17, 2018 at 8:33
  • I think "Windows Search" was one of the culprits in my case. So I've disabled the service. Thanks for the tip.
    – Simon E.
    Jun 26, 2022 at 2:17
  • @journeyman-geek The thing is that Windows does not seem to adapt to bandwidth scarcity (whether due to other loads (including heavy juggling with virtual memory) or to something limiting the total bandwidth, e.g. driver/hardware issues) when deciding to run heavy processes such as search indexing, telemetry or periodical virus/malware scans. Therefore, whenever bandwidth is for some reason constrained, Windows tends to make the problem far worse than it would otherwise be. I have experienced this a lot, and can confirm that disabling such services helps, though the root problem evades fixing. Sep 15, 2022 at 9:07
  • Well - its more about 'how' OP found the problem, rather than what it was, since knowing the source of the problem can be useful for similar issues with other processes
    – Journeyman Geek
    Sep 15, 2022 at 9:10

Even though the post is a bit older I thought id share my experience for future readers: I had a somehwat similar experience with a 3TB Seagate Harddrive that suddenly operated excruciatingly slow. That also showed in the TaskManager, the hard drive was always at 100% utilisation.

I tried setting the MSISupported Key and changing the Harddrives from ACHI to IDE as suggested by Ecnerwal, but that did not help.

I then checked the services and processes again, sorting by drive utilisation, and found the Oracle RDBMS kernel executable among the top processes with about 10% usage (its always hard to tell which drive is used, since I got 3 in the computer and TaskManager wont tell you which one is used). After killing that the usage of the "bad" drive went down to 0% again. I have no idea what oracle's executable was doing there, but it did the trick.

So I recommend checking your process list and getting rid of this and that before you start messing with the Registry or the BIOS like I did (the latter screwed up my boot order and PC would not boot, got a bit scared there but managed to fix it), sometimes the solution can also be simple ;)


Windows 10 seems to have some serious driver issues with SSDs, from my limited experience. Windows 7 seemed quite hunky-dory and happy with having one swapped in (did that about a year ago for someone who was very happy with it.)

I just helped a kid replace a drive on Windows 10 and it kept going to 100% disk use (reported; and it would become unresponsive/hung) with no (or very little) actual disk use, a search found many instances of the same problem, and various "solutions" (many of which did not work for us.) In this particular case, what worked for us eventually was setting the drive mode (which started out as "RAID" - kinda odd for a 1-disk-space laptop) and also failed for us as AHCI back to IDE.

This requires a trip into safe mode each time you change the drive setting.

There's a Microsoft forum post claiming that changing the interrupt setting fixes the problem, but it did not work for us...likewise someone claimed that going from RAID to AHCI worked for them. So what will work for you, I don't know - I just report what appears to have finally worked for us.

I should note that this problem did not "wait a month" - we could not get get the initial windows 10 updates to load because the computer kept hanging (original disk died, no backup, reinstall 7 from CD and re-upgrade to 10)

  • Umm My SSD is fine , HDD is the one that's pain Dec 5, 2016 at 17:11
  • 1
    That was not at all clear.
    – Ecnerwal
    Dec 5, 2016 at 21:20

I would say reboot computer and wait for it to fully load. Press ctrl+alt+del to access Task Manager. If the hard drive is constantly reading/writing at 100% when system should be at complete idle, check for updates. Ever since Windows 10 came out pending updates cause PC to run at snail speed due to this.

If it's not an update issue run chkdsk (run CMD as admin then type in "chkdsk D: /f" , with D being the whatever letter your drive is. But from my experience, it can still pass Check Disk with flying colors and 100% be a failed/failing hard drive. No matter what if you have a spinning-disk hard drive you should upgrade to SSD (They start at $15 for SATA SSD). If it passed chkdsk then it will likely pass any hard drive test your Bios has available.

If there are no updates available, reboot the PC again and double check for the constant read/write at 100%. If everything is normal yet it still runs incredibly slow then it is for sure defective. Backup your data immediately. Then load a new Windows system for your final confirmation. If it still runs slow (and you'll likely notice it during the OS install), then the disk is bad.

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