I am a developer and on my work laptop it is entirely normal for my disk activity as shown by Task Manager to be 100%. With an average response between 7k-10k ms. This is under relatively simple load.

My machine is a dell Latitude E5430, with 8 gb of RAM 2x4gb sticks and a ST10001LMo14 highbrid ssd/normal drive. This is running Win 8.1.

The machine can be extremely sluggish even when operating at approx 20-40% CPU usage.

Does anyone have suggestions of things I could do to possibly help get past what appears to be an IO bottle neck.

Info from Crystal Disk

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Info from Crystal Disk Marks

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  • 2
    Have you used the Resource Monitor to figure out exactly what's using the disk yet? If not, do that first. Aug 11 '15 at 15:31
  • 1
    Rather than look at the Performance tab of Windows Task Manager look at the Process tab. Then click the Disk Column heading until is shows the "sort descending" icon (a down arrow head) and see what program/process is taking up room. Also how much free disk space do you have remaining?
    – albal
    Aug 11 '15 at 15:33
  • The programs and processes change on a regular basis, at the moment its sql server, firefox, mcafee, tortoisesvn
    – Ben Whyall
    Aug 11 '15 at 15:51
  • Check for a failing disk (SMART test). See Util to check external USB Drive health? for some possibilities.
    – DavidPostill
    Aug 11 '15 at 17:09
  • Might also be possible under extreme circumstances where the disk is severely fragmented (run the fragmentation), multiple anti-virus softwares deadlocking themselves, or a virus/zombie/bitcoin-generator being hosted on the machine (are you running micro-torrent?).
    – rlb.usa
    Aug 11 '15 at 18:34

Since the S.M.A.R.T. data on the drive doesn't indicate any problem, you're likely dealing with either an application that's using the drive excessively, or an I/O subsystem bottleneck.

Narrow it down to any offending process(es)

  1. Open Windows Task Manager
  2. Select the Processes tab
  3. Select View->Select Columns
  4. Enable the I/O Read Bytes and I/O Write Bytes columns and press OK
  5. Press the 'Show processes from all users' button
  6. Click on the Image Name column header so processes are sorted by name (minimizes them bouncing around)
  7. Monitor the previously enabled columns and terminate any non-critical processes (sql server, firefox, etc.) one-by-one, checking system performance after terminating each one to see if it was the offender

If you find a process that's causing the problem, you'll have to deal with that as a separate issue (maybe it will just need to be updated for a bugfix).

Check I/O subsystem performance

If you didn't find an offending process, you should find a benchmarking tool (since you've already used CrystalDiskInfo, I recommend CrystalDiskMark). Run a benchmark on the drive and search the web for other peoples' results using the same benchmark program on the same or similar type of drive, and see if your drive's performance is reasonably close. Post your benchmark results here too so we can see them.

Update drivers

If neither of the above shed light on the issue, try installing updated drivers from the system manufacturer's website.

  • Great I will try and get the time to do some of these things tomorrow. However Its anti virus day so my results week be skewed by mcafee doing a scan and dragging the machine to a Holt.
    – Ben Whyall
    Aug 12 '15 at 21:43
  • After examination a frequent max user of IO is SQL server, unfortunately as a developer I need to have both sql server 2012 and 2008 installed and running on my laptop. Frequently I have to run queries on relatively large datasets that seem to cause an issue. Currently SQL is using as much as 15mbs of disk access and has been since I kicked off the process I am running this afternoon. I'm going to try benchmarking of the disk to see whats occuring.
    – Ben Whyall
    Aug 20 '15 at 16:20
  • Added some benchmarking, the problem now manifests itself as high disk usage regularly with long >10sec average response times. If I am doing any sort of disk access machine starts to drag
    – Ben Whyall
    Jul 7 '16 at 21:50

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