. /../Hard disk problem/ 1
krasnyj bibliotekar
written by Serpens on Dec 23, 2008 22:52
As in the title, I have a hardware problem. I actually ignored it for some time, but it's getting annoying.

Some time ago, my old hard disk simply died and I had to buy a new one. Since I always wanted more space, I chose a 250 GB, apparently produced by Western Digital, called WDC WD2500AAJB-00WGA0 in my Control Panel. Windows XP needed enabling support for disks larger than some number of gigabytes I already forgot, so I did that.

Everything was seemingly OK, even though Paragon Hard Disk Manager said that the disk is 233 GB instead of 250, but I quickly noticed that although usually the speed is all right, the disk has... It's difficult to say... Very low "reaction time". Sometimes nothing can be noticed, and sometimes seconds pass before, for example, I can do anything in Total Commander. And after running Noctis, the screen stays black for like five seconds before the first screenshot is taken.

I'm not sure if it isn't worse now than before, and if it's even the disk's fault at all. Maybe it's the system? I have Windows XP SP3. Previously I had the same configuration, but with 80 GB disk, and everything was fine. Any ideas?

EDIT: I am protected from malware and scan my system regularly, so I don't think this is the problem. But perhaps something could escape the attention of Comodo's protection set.
lost, not forgotten
written by Alex on Dec 23, 2008 23:31
I have a similar problem with the Eee, and it's sure quite a different hardware (SSD). I also noticed slowdowns and short "stops" on my former computer when I had tried installing SP3 over my good old SP1 out of curiosity. In fact I downgraded back to SP1 there, by copying back an ISO, because the "stops" and some background activity were annoying. All this makes me think it could be something with XP service packs beyond SP1, but then you say you had no problems before changing the harddisk.

However, here's my facts: when I do something like... using Opera, but even Firefox 3 was giving the same trouble... it stops reacting for a while, maybe a couple seconds, often (or particularly noticeably) while scrolling pages with the mouse wheel, then reprises working.

And I'm saying this because I get the same kind of "pause" upon starting something that runs in a Virtual DOS Machine, like... Noctis, and other 16-bit DOS applications like the BFE, or Linoleum's old C version of MAKERTMP. This kind of pause can be 3-4 seconds. I have no idea what does it, but I blame the system.
absent more than alex
written by Shadowlord on Dec 23, 2008 23:40
Noctis and NICE pause on startup on my computer too (and I don't know why), but about a quarter second after starting, so there tends to be an image on the screen when it does it. Perhaps you could be right and it's related to the hard drive somehow, but I don't know why that would be (I figured it was a bug in Noctis, but I hadn't seen it on any other computer).

I don't get pauses like that in any other programs, and I'm also using Windows XP (Home) SP3.

If Western Digital is still using the misleading 1000-based gigabyte definition (windows uses 1024-based) on the box, then the size you're seeing in Windows is correct (250 * 1000 * 1000 * 1000 / 1024 / 1024 / 1024 = approximately 232.83).
lost, not forgotten
written by Alex on Dec 23, 2008 23:51
I'm no longer sure who'd be "correct" on the disk's capacity. Until a few years ago I'd have said 1GB = 2^30 bytes, but now... it seems even some software recently tends to adopt the gibibyte (GiB) indication for that, while leaving the giga prefix to be consistent with the rest of the SI multiples, i.e. having it mean exactly 1 billion bytes. although I don't remember exactly what software did that, perhaps a Linux installer; yet I remember it surprised me
written by Cryoburner on Dec 24, 2008 01:28
Serpens said:
Everything was seemingly OK, even though Paragon Hard Disk Manager said that the disk is 233 GB instead of 250
Shadowlord said:
If Western Digital is still using the misleading 1000-based gigabyte definition...
As Shadowlord said, that's because the drive's capacity is measured with a kilobyte defined as 1000 bytes rather than 1024. However, it's not at all misleading on the drive manufacturer's part. Drives by all manufacturers have always been measured this way. It's the correct way to use the kilo, mega, and giga prefixes. The problem is that many operating systems and programmers in general over the years have used the term kilobyte to equal 1024 bytes, simply because it was 'close enough'. The programmers are the ones at fault here, for misusing the SI prefixes.

Serpens said:
I am protected from malware and scan my system regularly, so I don't think this is the problem. But perhaps something could escape the attention of Comodo's protection set.
I haven't tried Comodo, but I know that many antivirus suites can greatly slow down system performance, especially disk reads. If active protection is enabled, the antivirus will scan files in the background before they're allowed to be opened, which can really slow things down. You might try disabling the active scanning feature, and see if that helps your performance.

Another thing to note is that no antivirus offers perfect protection, so some things can slip through. It's probably not a good idea to install muliple AVs though, since that can cause system problems. You might try a free web-based scan from someplace like Kaspersky. Kaspersky's free online scanner won't remove the files, but it will let you know where they are. You also might try a free adware scanner like Ad-aware. Also, some malware can be hidden from traditional scanners using rootkits, so check your system with rootkit scanners like Panda Anti-Rootkit and RootkitRevealer

Other things to check would be to make sure your drive is defragmented, and to disable Windows search indexing, which is a feature that can hurt performance while being almost useless.

Alex said:
I have a similar problem with the Eee, and it's sure quite a different hardware (SSD)...
...This kind of pause can be 3-4 seconds. I have no idea what does it, but I blame the system.
This is a common problem seen among lower end SSDs. The issue is that while they have fast read access times, they can be very slow at random writes. There are some ways to improve performance in regard to this, but I haven't tried them first hand. I might check to see if I can find some information on that for you though.
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