Windows 7 experiences 100% disk busy and system compleltely unresponsive

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Help and Support' started by PeteGeraghty, Feb 5, 2010.

  1. PeteGeraghty

    PeteGeraghty New Member

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    Windows 7 experiences 100% disk busy and system compleltely unresponsive - won't even move the mouse pointer. Occurs anything from a few minutes to an hour after connecting to a VPN to which many other Windows 7 users connect with no problem. The problem sometimes clears itself in 5-30 minutes but on other occasions has carried on overnight. Disk activity will subside and then stop if I pull out the network cable.

    Happens without me doing anything specific to trigger the problem.

    Once the problem begins ResourceMonitor quickly falls behind and stops responding but as the problem gathers pace a typical Resource Monitor showing would be “System” with pid 4 writing about 9MB/sec to pagefile.sys, lsass.exe was reading about 8MB/sec from pagefile.sys, and other programs such as iexplorer, outlook and avp were reading substantial amounts from pagefile.sys. The physical memory was only about 50% utilised at that time.

    This was happening on a laptop which had been rebuilt clean with 32 bit Windows 7 after previously working OK with Vista (if that's not a contradiction in terms).

    I've just got a different brand new laptop, run it OK for a week with XP then done a clean rebuild with 64 bit Windows 7 - and immediately get the problem back again with the same symptoms. This machine has 4GB memory, 250GB disk with 200GB free - when the problem happened there was 2.5GB memory available - so why the pagefile writing?

    Even when the problem isn't occurring you can see in Resource Monitor that at certain times lsass.exe is intermittently grabbing and releasing very large amounts of memory (hundreds of MB). Maybe the problem is an extreme manifestation of this behaviour?

    It's driven me nuts - now I have two machines but no solution.....
     
  2. Trouble

    Trouble Noob Whisperer

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    Assuming that in all other instances the computer works properly and that you have performed a full virus scan and received a clean bill of health. It sounds like an indexing issue, when you are plugged in to the vpn, do you have a lot of mapping to other share libraries in that environment or probably more importantly are you sharing a lot of files that other users on other machines may have included in their local libraries through mapping and causing unusual indexing demands. Just a thought
     
  3. PeteGeraghty

    PeteGeraghty New Member

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    Thanks for the reply.

    I don't have any drives mapped to reconnect at logon to the VPN and I don't believe there is any logon script executed on my machine at that time. After connecting there are no shares shown in Windows Explorer. Sometimes at a subsequent point I access shared files on the network either by mapping a drive or just typing in a UNC address into Windows Explorer. The timing of the problem doesn't seem to correlate with me doing (or not doing) these things.

    I haven't set up any share permission going the other way - my hard-drive properties show it as "not shared".

    In terms of virus I have Kasperskey which reckons I'm clean - I did try un-installing this just to see if it was part of the problem, but the problem occurs without it too.

    At the moment I have turned off use of pagefile.sys and am running without - an extreme move which occurred to me when I was making the original post a few hours ago. So far I haven't had the problem. But I have already had one warning dialog popup that I am low on memory and need to close something, so whether this is going to be a feasible way of working I'm not yet sure.
     
  4. Trouble

    Trouble Noob Whisperer

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    Try opening taskmanager, check the box that says show processes from all users, sort on the memory column by click the column header and see what process is grabbing all the memory. If it's something like svchost.exe then perhaps down load svchost viewer svchost viewer and see what programs are embedded in that particular process.
     
  5. PeteGeraghty

    PeteGeraghty New Member

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    I looked at the memory usage in Resource Manager, which shows processes from all users. Typically I had over 2GB available, but periodically lsass.exe would spike sometimes with a commit size of over 2GB, lasting for just one or two seconds on the Resource Manager snapshot. I have seen discussion of lsass.exe on a server deliberately using all available memory (e.g., find the word lsass in this link: Monitoring Your Branch Office Environment) but I am just a client here.

    When running with no pagefile, these spikes could lead to prompts for me to close some applications. I'm wondering whether when I have pagefile in use they are causing thrashing even though it appears that I have plenty of memory.

    Today I am running with pagefile back on, and for no reason I can logically see the behaviour is much better than at any time since I installed Windows 7 at the beginning of January. I've had one period of 100% disk lockout when even the clock display in the task bar froze, but this cleared within 20 minutes - which is a vast improvement if still far from ideal! Don't know why it's improved, though.
     
  6. padarjohn

    padarjohn New Member

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    Any resolution to this? I'm experiencing the same problem (not sure about pagefile usage - I've got 6G RAM, and it's not coming close to using half of it).

    When I'm lucky enough to get Task Manager up and get to Resource Monitor, the Disk tab shows serious disk activity but doesn't show any processes. Eventually even that locks up and all I can do is a reset/reboot.

    Very frustrating.
     
  7. TorrentG

    TorrentG Banned

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    It's not unusual for certain VPN clients or versions of them to be incompatible with Windows 7. Here may be the answer. Try updating the client and/or testing a different one known to be compatible.
     
  8. padarjohn

    padarjohn New Member

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    There is no VPN client installed on this machine.

    It's a pretty vanilla 64-bit Windows 7 system on a core i7-920 machine with 6G RAM.

    Usually when it happens I don't get the luxury of actually running anything. Just opening a Windows Explorer window can take several minutes. In this particular instance it was running fine, then I shut it down for a few days. When I turned it back on it started this again. After three or four resets it's finally letting me do things, but load times are excessive, and the disk activity light is on solid. It appears to have been in that state all night.
     
  9. chasbolt

    chasbolt Senior Member

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    I have the same problem and with the computer speed chopped to nothing for 3-10 minutes at random times. I have done what all the rest have done, I have rebuilt my software from scratch. I rebuilt again not using my paid for AVG but MS Essentials for my anti-virus and only using the Windows software. No other manufactured software except for Gigabytes. I upgraded the BIOS, I downloaded and ran the WD Lifeguard diadnostics. I have sent the computer back to Cyberpower twice. I would have gotten a refund if it hadn't been the 47th day or so when I applied for the RMA (only good for 45 days!). :ar! I thought. Now it seems that it is a Windows 7 problem occurring in a variety of instances. My Win7 came installed on the computer from Cyberpower. The Win7's I bought and installed from MS on line for my other machines worked without a problem. I anytime upgraded my bad Win7 to Professional, the problem came with it. I was about ready to buy a new PS, Videocard and WD Green Caviar, throwing what would be more money down the drain, but if it's the Win7 distribution. I don't know....at my wits end.:-ss
     
  10. padarjohn

    padarjohn New Member

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    My problem turned out to be a bad disk drive. Even though there were no related events in the Windows event log, and the drive's SMART data didn't show any problems, I finally managed to install and run the WD diag software and it immediately reported drive failures. (I had to install it because their stand-alone software won't run from a SATA CD drive.:p)

    I put in a new drive and re-installed Win7 and haven't had a problem since.

    The drive issues may have been masked by the Intel RAID software which was installed (even though I currently didn't have any drives configured as RAID). I left it out when I re-installed the OS.
     
    chasbolt, Sonny, Trouble and 3 others like this.
  11. chasbolt

    chasbolt Senior Member

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    I'll probably get a new drive and try it. My WD diagnostic was clean and I did the detail check too. Thanks for the prompt response. I'll clone my drive with Acronis and see what happens tomorrow.
     
  12. chasbolt

    chasbolt Senior Member

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    I got a Green Caviar 1TB and cloned the old drive to it with Acronis. Worked well though I noticed it having slow points when I had the old drive connected. I wiped the old drive and use it as storage and all is fine...super fast. the Western Digital DataGuard showed no problems at any point. Thank you padarjohn! :D
     

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