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LCF-AT

How to find reason for high active HDD time?

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LCF-AT

Hi again,

I have some issues with my system HDD and the active HDD time for this one.First I wanna just know what it means "Active Time" for a HDD which I can see in taskmanager.First I thought it means when some is reading or written on this HDD but I cant confirm this.For me it look like a random thing.Lets say I do copy any file on my HDD or download something and check this Active Time for this HDD then it dosent change very much just maybe only a few percent 0-5 what is very low = good.On the other hand I see very offten that my system HDD active time does increase to 100% for a while more or less  and then all is much slower of course.

1.) What could increase the HDD active time to 100% and how to find exactly out who it really is?I tried to check this with resource monitor but this isnt helpfully for me to find it out.Just see almost all same running anyway whether HDD stand on 100% or 0% etc.

2.) How to prevent HDD active time to reach 100%?I also need to wait 2+ minutes when I boot my system.I think the reason is that 100% HDD usage during the boot process which makes it slower to finish.I also tried to disable some services like SysMain aka Superfetch and some others but I dont see any diffrents having them running or not.

Maybe you know how to find that out or you have some hints what I can do against this things etc.

greetz

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Kurapica

Are you on Windows 10 ?

Are you using Chrome ?

Do you have < 4 GB of RAM and a paging is enabled in your OS ?

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Progman

Active time means the % of time in which it is active or basically having been issued a command until that command is completed.  If you want more information, click "Open Resource Monitor" and on the Disk tab you should see which files are being read and written and you can sort by bytes.  I have used this to troubleshoot slow boot up times exactly as you are trying to do.  Forget merely looking at active disk %, you need more detailed information.  But this is not for a deeper system issue enough information still...

So here is the catch: NTFS files are not shown there!  So for example if you had a highly fragmented master file table (MFT or $MFT) or any other NTFS internal $... files and there are more than a few, and this are fragmented it could lead to slow boot times.  I use PerfectDisk Professional (you can find it out there ;)) on occasions to defrag this, and yes even on an SSD, the file system can get fragmented, even if the disk itself does not get fragmented or need defragmenting.  Hence SSD mode defragmentation which is much lighter on the disk and faster as it focuses on the MFT.  The boot time defrag is needed for some of these files.  Granted on a fresh install one would hope they are not fragmented, but I find especially when installing a lot of files for development software among other things, a mess always results.

Too generalize this further, and maybe more importantly than the prior point, low level disk drivers which are doing their own accessing of the disk are not shown in this tool.  I don't know any good tool to reveal all of this activity though a kernel level filter driver should be able to get into the chain and dump out the information.  Probably tools exist.  This would be able to show even those NTFS files or the boot sectors, or any other low level file system activity which could be effecting that time.

It would be wonderful to have a full kernel driver activity log which is properly simplified to human readable form for a full boot process - sorting that data, and the key bottlenecks would be come immediately obvious.

@Kurapica: how are Windows version, a friendly browser like Chrome, RAM or paging part of the branches of the system which are involved in this?

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Gorina
2 hours ago, LCF-AT said:

Hi again,

I have some issues with my system HDD and the active HDD time for this one.First I wanna just know what it means "Active Time" for a HDD which I can see in taskmanager.First I thought it means when some is reading or written on this HDD but I cant confirm this.For me it look like a random thing.Lets say I do copy any file on my HDD or download something and check this Active Time for this HDD then it dosent change very much just maybe only a few percent 0-5 what is very low = good.On the other hand I see very offten that my system HDD active time does increase to 100% for a while more or less  and then all is much slower of course.

1.) What could increase the HDD active time to 100% and how to find exactly out who it really is?I tried to check this with resource monitor but this isnt helpfully for me to find it out.Just see almost all same running anyway whether HDD stand on 100% or 0% etc.

2.) How to prevent HDD active time to reach 100%?I also need to wait 2+ minutes when I boot my system.I think the reason is that 100% HDD usage during the boot process which makes it slower to finish.I also tried to disable some services like SysMain aka Superfetch and some others but I dont see any diffrents having them running or not.

Maybe you know how to find that out or you have some hints what I can do against this things etc.

greetz

On modern operating systems you cannot do much to considerably reduce the HHD use time by the system. That is the bad news. If you are using a modern SSD on Windows 7 then the SSDs would not be very optimized to deal with the older operating systems. Therefore it could result in a higher HDD usage. Windows 10 for instance turns off or drastically reduces features like SuperFetch when it recognizes that an SSD is being used instead of a normal hard drive.

You could of course uninstall some programs that could be responsible for the HDD usage.

This post is a little old but still very much relevant if all you want to do is to just check out your HDD usage by the installed programs on your PC. In the end what do you want to do after finding the progs responsible for the HDD usage?

In my opinion you should be concerned only if any prog turns up your HDD usage for prolonged periods of time without any good reason. Otherwise just leave it :D

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LCF-AT

Hi,

yes Win 10 with 8 GB.Where to see if paging is enabled?In taskmanager?Just see the used memory are 2.8 GB / free are 5.1 GB etc.I have a pagefile.sys file which has 1.3 GB.

As I said I dont see anything with the Resource Monitor also if I check the EA read / write entrys.Mostly svchost or MsMpEng (defender) used most of this and in this case the HDD active time can be 100%  but also 0% = I dont see or find the real reason for this 100% active time.There is no easy info like which process does used most memory or CPU usage for this active time thing.

So you mean I should just do any defrag of my HDD then it should work better?Or using any tools like you said etc?

Question: I did download any free defrag tool to check my HDD status.My C disk has now a fragmentation of 36% and my other has 84%.So what was good or bad now?Should it be 0% at the end?

Question2: I tried this free Defraggler tool and in this list I can see all my disks as HDD NTFS media type but one of them is listet as SSD NTFS type!?I dont  remember having a SSD disk at the moment.It should be a HDD instead.Is that a app error or is my HDD a SSD?Where can I check this on Windows 10 whether my HDD is a HDD or SSD?Just asking to be sure about it whether the app shows wrong info to me or whether its really a SSD 3.5 Zoll disk?! :) On internet I found infos that SSD disks should not be defraged.

PS: So all in all I cant find any special app what could be the problem for that 100% disk usage.In resource manager all is jumping around  more or less.I also dont think to have any trash on my system what could be the problem for this.In my case my goal is it to increase my bootup which takes a longer time than before few weeks etc.

greetz

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whoknows

use this shit to see which reading/writing @:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/procmon

 

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LCF-AT

Could you also explain how to check that with this tool?

greetz

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Progman

I would not worry if your SSD is detected properly.  It certainly should be - you could check Device Manager -> Disk drives or msinfo32 -> Components -> Storage -> Disks to see details about the model and size information but it will not really tell you if it is an SSD or not.  As far as getting the TRIM command to be used to save writes to an SSD: you can check "fsutil behavior query DisableDeleteNotify" from an Administrator command prompt and make sure its set to 0.  However with Windows 10 this is not really an issue.  Its an interesting question if Windows is disabling SuperFetch (which it should) and using the TRIM command due to correct detection.  The protocol which is ATA and ATAPI is basically the same for the different drives.  Even Easeus Partition Manager and Perfectdisk failed to tell me which is an SSD and which is magnetic drive.  But I know which is which and that is good enough in my case but not friendly to an average user.

You still need to defrag SSDs - just not in the same way and its invariably a much faster process as files do not need to be made contiguous as an SSD actually has a mapping table and distributes writes evenly anywhere on the disk so the data never need be in sequence.  Windows might do the TRIM command, but the file system itself can become fragmented meaning the MFT might not have a contiguous entry for a file but a chain of entries which will make things slower and more inefficient for sure.  You need an SSD defrag tool preferably one that can do boot time defrag of the NTFS files, and defrag the MFT online.  Consider it to be "virtual fragmentation" since the SSD itself is not fragmented.  For some odd reason, countless websites have failed to understand or demonstrate this issue in proper detail and made it a confusing topic for most people.  https://download.raxco.com/perfectdisk-ssd-optimization

They use the term optimize instead of defrag to avoid confusion:

Quote

Detects solid state drive hardware (to perform the appropriate action for that type of drive)

TRIMs free space from partially full blocks of data

Identifies where the largest section of free space exists on the drive

Consolidates free space in that location, whether at the beginning, middle or end of the disk

Reduces writes to the drive, extending its life

Be careful with the tools you mention - unless they offer a special SSD defrag, you could be wasting the life of your SSD.  Use only a tool which is especially designed to do an SSD optimization.

Procmon is a great suggestion but it will not show you kernel driver read and writes to the disk - I think it only will show direct IOCTL commands sent to drivers and even then I am not sure if it works for the SYSTEM process.  But drivers can invoke other drivers and there is no way for Procmon to monitor that.  Still it would get one deeper that Resource Viewer.

My investigations like yours found that that Windows Defender/Microsoft Security Essentials were one of the worst burdens on the disk always which is hardly surprising.  Normal user level software on the system which accesses a lot of files can cause these to scan and excessively rescan lots of files on the system.

I have remained forever suspicious however of what activity is going on at the kernel driver direct IO level - anything from a hypervisor, rootkit, the BIOS, Windows kernel drivers or 3rd party kernel drivers could be up to something which so far I have not seen any mention of anything which would have a chance of detecting this information.  But its so low level that it would be quite a load of work to bring that information back to a high level useful view, given that if things are deleted or rewritten or the MFT changes, the details would have already been lost.

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Gorina
On 4/4/2020 at 5:04 AM, LCF-AT said:

PS: So all in all I cant find any special app what could be the problem for that 100% disk usage.In resource manager all is jumping around  more or less.I also dont think to have any trash on my system what could be the problem for this.In my case my goal is it to increase my bootup which takes a longer time than before few weeks etc.

Did you check out the tools that are mentioned in this article? They are quite good actually.

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LCF-AT

Hi again,

does it mean I cant check anyhow via Windows itself or any tool whether my space disk is a SSD or not?When I enter my HDD name from taskmanger on internet than I can find it on a benchmark site for HDD...

https://hdd.userbenchmark.com/SpeedTest/466743/ST2000DM008-2FR102

....its a HDD if I am not total stupid.Just wonder why this Defraggler tool does show it as SSD disk.

PS: No I didnt check any of those tools yet Gorina.I dont think that it would help to find out what does increase my active time to 100%.Similar like using Resource manager so there you cant see this too.You can check the EA read / write / all times what used most at the moment but also at this time the HDD active time can be on 100% or also 0% and the EA times and  processes are still same running.Thats the problem.

greetz

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Progman

If you boot off an SSD and if you have one it would be ridiculous not to, Windows boots in a few seconds usually whether SATA or the even faster NVMe.  If it's a magnetic drive it will take much longer like a minute or two.

If you are using SSD for data that would be wasteful since the speed of it is best suited for OS and apps.

Empirical for sure.  Speedfan 4.52vwill give S.M.A.R.T info which is not present for SSDs and for SSD only shows temperature.  My guess is Windows detects the existence of a TRIM command and assumes SSD if the ATA interface indicates it.  The exact technical detail here would be really interesting to know.  The details of how the drive functions seems to be totally hidden from the system.  So we can be sure it's a protocol method and TRIM command is the only major difference I know of.  It's why clean and clean all in diskpart securely (short of lab recovery which is still difficult) removes all data instantly without using a full drive write cycle.  Unless trim is disabled and even then it's very fast but it just used 1 of the 10000 write cycles.

100% for SSD is not common in my experience.  A bad or old ATA driver could influence this too.  Make sure to update your chipset drivers and Speedfan or CPU-Z can help identify your chipset manufacturer and model.  If you have bad clusters on a magnetic drive, 100% would be a common problem.  First you must identify the drive type as you say.  I still suspect though kernel driver operation is to blame in System process ID 0.  It could even be a virus on the system or a 3rd party driver, or a user mode program which keeps opening files for no reason and causes the antivirus software to excessively check stuff.

I will tell you this is a painful and not fun project you are embarking on.  Though it is important if you want to not be frustrated with you computer.  Hope we can learn how you solve it and that the ideas and knowledge here helped 

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Sangavi
Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, LCF-AT said:

...its a HDD if I am not total stupid.Just wonder why this Defraggler tool does show it as SSD disk.

Yes it's a Seagate Barracuda 2TB HDD according to the info you provided.

5 hours ago, LCF-AT said:

PS: No I didnt check any of those tools yet Gorina.I dont think that it would help to find out what does increase my active time to 100%.Similar like using Resource manager so there you cant see this too.You can check the EA read / write / all times what used most at the moment but also at this time the HDD active time can be on 100% or also 0% and the EA times and  processes are still same running.Thats the problem.

If you check out the tools then you can see which process is using the HDD for the maximum time and continue from that point. You can actually sort through the list of apps that take up most of the HDD time to the one taking up the lowest time to have some sort of a starting point for your investigation.

Otherwise you don't have anywhere concrete to start.

Edited by Sangavi (see edit history)
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atom0s

If you are using Win7/8/10, you can also use the built-in perfmon with the /res switch.

It can be accessed easily via Task Manager as well. 

CTRL+ALT+Delete > Performance tab > Open Resource Monitor at the bottom.

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Teddy Rogers

You could also try using the Extended Tools plugin in Process Hacker to monitor disk activity, then filter by process if required. My preference though would be using Resource Monitor, as @atom0s already mentioned. You can filter a process to see everything happening with it on the Overview tab plus it catches things like Page File activity.

Leave Windows 10 to optimise (or defragment) your drives, no need for another program to do this work...

Ted.

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LCF-AT

Hi guys,

so it means my HDD is a HDD and not SSD = Defraggler (portable) tool is wrong showing info.Does Windows 10 defrag the HDDs by itself if needed etc?

Ok, so you mean using a SSD is only good to perform quick runnings like boot & access / loading files from system disk and not using SSD as storage for file / backups etc.I am still checking for any SSD or PCIe M2 card (still not sure which type I should pick now) using it as new system drive later.SSD has something like 500 MB/s read / write and PCIe something  with 1500 MB/s.Do I need this?Yesterday I did copy some GB from one HDD to other and I got only a copy / write speed of 25 - 30 MB/s whats really bad.No clue why it was so bad this time so before its running double so fast.Maybe the defrag I did has done something to make it slower or whatever.Bad thing is that I did install my OS on my older HDD which is much slower than my newer HDD.Uhhmm!Ok, my fault.Just wanted to use the newer HDD as storage only and my smaller old HDD as system drive.Anyway, will see to get any M2 card and throwing then my old HDD out of my computer.

greetz

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Progman

HDD regenerator 2011 can do a quick scan for bad clusters on your disk due to magnetic error, and it can fix them it's quite an interesting tool. 100% disk activity often on page file reads was extremely common symptom though it would hang the machine for a minute even.  Not the most common problem though and when  I had it, the problem kept happening repeatedly until I had to replace the disk though I avoided data loss.  Chkdsk can show if any bad clusters have been found, happens on old disks sometimes.

Win10 defragger is enough, but for heavy power users with MFT, page file or other system file fragmentation, a good boot time defrag now and then has always improved speed slightly for me.  You won't get more than 2 or 3% though typically.  But I have not found a free one that does a good enough job anymore...  not that I'm encouraging to crack or find a serial ;)

You can put data on SSD but its priority is for where fast reads and writes are most beneficial.  200GB of movies, pictures and music for example are definetely wasting valuable SSD space.  Yes go with NVMe or PCIe or SATA or the best SSD for your bus speed as the cost is close enough to the same.  

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Taitor
3 hours ago, LCF-AT said:

Does Windows 10 defrag the HDDs by itself if needed etc?

Yes, unless explicitly disabled.

3 hours ago, LCF-AT said:

Ok, so you mean using a SSD is only good to perform quick runnings like boot & access / loading files from system disk and not using SSD as storage for file / backups etc

If you use it for storage then you will benefit from fastrer I/O times.

3 hours ago, LCF-AT said:

Anyway, will see to get any M2 card and throwing then my old HDD out of my computer.

Before buying it, it's better to check if your motherboard supports it (or not). Otherwise would be a huge hassle and waste of time for nothing. Even if it supports, if the bus speed is very low then you may not gain much more additional benefits in terms of I/O.

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LCF-AT

So in my Windows Topic I made a while ago we found already out that my Mainboard should support both versions SSD & PCIe (just unsure whether my SATA 2 port get disabled if I should connect a SSD SATA M2 card instead a PCIe M2).So what is the bus speed now?Do you mean that SATA 6 thing?Maybe you can have a look in this topic I made talking about SSD / PCIe & my Mainboard etc to check the bus.

https://forum.tuts4you.com/topic/41784-installing-win-7-problem/

I am still not sure what I should choose.Like this...

https://ssd.userbenchmark.com/SpeedTest/341807/WDC-WDS250G2B0B-00YS70

...just a SSD one but on this benchmark site it has very bad results what makes me think I should better forget this model and pick something like this...

https://ssd.userbenchmark.com/SpeedTest/636955/ADATA-SX8200PNP

right?

greetz

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Gorina
Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, LCF-AT said:

Maybe you can have a look in this topic I made talking about SSD / PCIe & my Mainboard etc to check the bus

OK, so from that thread I assume you have this motherboard. Your motherboard is actually quite good!

Quote

So this is what it supports:

1 x M.2 Socket 3, , with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (both SATA & x2 PCIE mode)*1

So remember these important points: It is "M Key" and "Type 2242/2260/2280" . When doing a search to buy the storage modules you want to check that these parameters match.

Read more about M.2 Form Factor here.

So you can buy an NVME with those parameters above matching. You can choose company and disk size according to your budget. Of course check out the reviews too from sites like Tom's Hardware etc.

You also have 4 SATA ports for 4 ordinary SATA drives  (4 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), gray,) . So what they say is that if you install an NVME then port 2 would be non-usable. It should not be a problem since you have 3 more.

So just go ahead and buy an NVME. Make sure it is M KEY and  Type 2242/2260/2280.

Edited by Gorina (see edit history)
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LCF-AT

Ok wait one moment, do you mean it only supports M key?But the M Key are just that PCIe types and not SSD SATA types which have both B and M keys!?Just want to be sure so before they told I can use both types!=?

Look here a example image of a SSD M2 SATA 2280 which has B+M keys = 2 recesses.Can I use this or not?Just asking only.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61GrDNFfbmL._AC_SL1280_.jpg

By the way,  maybe I could ask else....so are there any SSD or PCIe M2 card types I can NOT USE with my mainboard (dont asking about the lenght 22xx)?At the moment I thought I could use all = both types only M key or B+M key etc.Now I am confused again.

Next question about my SATA port 2.So the NVME = PCIe high speed thing and not that SSD SATA thing or?I also thought if I choose that PCIe NVME card means that all my 4 SATA ports keep alive to use them for other 4 devices.If I should decide to grab a SSD SATA (which is B+M key) type and which is slower than PCIe types then my SATA port 2 is gone....or?As I said I am  confused now again, so I thought I did check that now to understand the diffrents between those M2 cards.Uhhmm. :(

greetz

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