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Slow access rate, clicking sound, 3 second lag when opening files

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23 April 2011 02:45:28

When accessing locations on my Hard Drive such as the C: drive, or clicking my Music folder Ill get a strange problem. The computer will hang for about 3 seconds. During this time I hear a little spin up on the HDD, then a clicking sound and then my computer is able to access everything normally.

This happens all the time and Im wondering why. I have W7 64 bit installed on my C: drive which is a: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0.
Accessing files is the only problem I encounter. I have no trouble when gaming, or anything else. Just circumstances similar to what I mentioned above.

Specs:

CPU: I7 950
GPU: GTX 480
RAM: 4 gig 1333 mhz DDR3
OS: W7 64 bit
23 April 2011 13:24:04

Xyos said:
When accessing locations on my Hard Drive such as the C: drive, or clicking my Music folder Ill get a strange problem. The computer will hang for about 3 seconds. During this time I hear a little spin up on the HDD, then a clicking sound and then my computer is able to access everything normally.

This happens all the time and Im wondering why. I have W7 64 bit installed on my C: drive which is a: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0.
Accessing files is the only problem I encounter. I have no trouble when gaming, or anything else. Just circumstances similar to what I mentioned above.

Specs:

CPU: I7 950
GPU: GTX 480
RAM: 4 gig 1333 mhz DDR3
OS: W7 64 bit


Access the drive a couple of times. After that, access it a couple more times. Did you hear the noise on the second set of accesses and was there the same lag? If not, perhaps the parameters of the BIOS or Windows are set to spin down the drive and the delay is it spinning up. I would have to actually hear the clicking to analyze it. It could range from nothing more than the drive seeking the data to the drive getting ready to die. Different noises mean different things.

Have you defragmented it lately? Try that also UNLESS you think the drive is dying. You never want to defrag a dying drive because that will hasten the death.
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23 April 2011 21:37:56

dmcomputerguy:

After the initial access to the drive, afterwards the same actions are instant. If I went into sleep mode, or came back awhile later to access it again the issue would occur, but it seems once its done it once, its normal for a period of time.

Ill try defragging, but both my drives have a 0% fragmentation rate.

THanks for the help so far guys :) 
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23 April 2011 22:18:53

Xyos said:
dmcomputerguy:

After the initial access to the drive, afterwards the same actions are instant. If I went into sleep mode, or came back awhile later to access it again the issue would occur, but it seems once its done it once, its normal for a period of time.

Ill try defragging, but both my drives have a 0% fragmentation rate.

THanks for the help so far guys :) 


I think that you are saying that you access it once and have the problem, then wait a few seconds and access it again with no problem, then wait for a long long time and access it again and have the problem. If what I just said is correct, then there is no problem, it is normal. If what I just said is not correct, please tell me again what the results are of doing this.
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23 April 2011 22:44:42

Im sorry for phrasing that in a strange way. Your correct in interpreting my confusing choice of words :p 

Ive had this drive for about 3 years. I dont remember the spin up time being so long. Is this something that degrates over time? Can it be sped up in any way?

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a c 415 G Storage
23 April 2011 22:59:47

It sounds to me like Windows is spinning down the drive after a period of inactivity. This is something that is usually done on laptops to conserve power, but it's not necessary for a desktop. You might want to check your power options:

Start -> type "Power Options" into the search box, press <enter>

Click the "Change Plan settings" link beside the currently selected power option

Click "change advanced power settings"

Navigate to "Hard Disk" -> "Turn off hard disk after..." and change the interval to whatever makes the most sense for you.
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23 April 2011 23:15:08

Xyos said:
Im sorry for phrasing that in a strange way. Your correct in interpreting my confusing choice of words :p 

Ive had this drive for about 3 years. I dont remember the spin up time being so long. Is this something that degrates over time? Can it be sped up in any way?


No problem. Glad we understand each other now.

I would certainly not worry about this issue. I would highly recommend you not try to "fix" this since it really isn't a problem. Spining down the drive helps it to last longer. The only exception is if you are on and off the computer so much during a day that it is constantly going on and off.

As far as making it spin up faster, there is no way to improve that. It should not change over time, but we all slow down as we get older :wahoo: 

Many drive are guaranteed for three years. That means the manufacturer expects it to last that long, but not necessarily too much longer. While I have seen drives last for much longer, I have seen them last for much less. If it were mine, I would be sure to keep a backup so when it does go out, you will not lose anything.

I will stake my reputation on the fact that your hard drive WILL go out if you keep using it. That is guaranteed to happen. I will not place any bets, at all, on when that might be, since it could be 10 minutes from now or 10 years. All hard drives go bad eventually, just like all living things eventually die, the only question is when.
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a b G Storage
24 April 2011 00:17:27

Check the event logs do you see any disk errors?

WD has a diagnostic utility called Data Lifeguard. It's a free download. Use it to check the condition of your drive.
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25 April 2011 03:02:22

THank you all for the help. I changed my HDD power saving options sminal suggested. It was set to every 20 minutes, I changed it to 45.

I do have a backup drive, so if anything happens I should be good :) 

Thanks again :D 
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a c 415 G Storage
25 April 2011 04:55:16

Xyos said:
I changed my HDD power saving options sminal suggested. It was set to every 20 minutes, I changed it to 45.
That'll probably do the trick for you. I have mine set to 120 minutes.
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13 April 2012 00:25:55

Hello everyone, I have a similar issue except mine does not make a noise. Here's what happens step by step; I will boot up my computer, once everything is loaded and there is no more loading and no heavy programs running I will click on a FoF in my C drive (lets use the name FoF -> "file or folder" for easier referencing) it will give me a slight lag of 1-2 seconds and show the spinning blue circle where the cursor is currently at (indicating that its loading). This problem has only started to happen as of 4 days ago. Now here's the weird part is that it does it with out ever clearing up. If I click on a FoF (1 click) it will show the spinning blue circle for about 1-2 seconds and then highlight the FoF no matter what the size (1 byte - 100gb) and if I try to drag the file I would click and drag and it will not respond right away but instead appear like nothing is happening until i move the mouse from the landing location to 1 pixel beside the target location of where I wanted the file to land before releasing the mouse button.

I am using an Alienware m17x r3 which is only about 8 months old and I've never had a single problem with it up until randomly 4 days ago when i tried moving file from one folder on the C drive to another folder.

The specs for my computer are literally the best they offered when i bought it which are as follows

Alienware M17X R3
Windows 7 64bit Service Pack 1
Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2820QM CPU @ 2.30GHz (8 CPUs)
16384MB RAM
DirectX11
BIOS: InsydeH2O Version 1.0 A08
Nvidia GeForceGTX 460M, 4063MB Memory.
120Hz 3D Monitor.

If I've left out any information let me know, I've tried to be as thorough as possible because it really did happen out of nowhere and I haven't downloaded anything in 2-3 weeks so I know it's not a virus. (Using Kaspersky Antivirus for 6 years now on my computers and it seems to do a pretty good job, never had any kind of virus)
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a b G Storage
16 April 2012 05:00:24

Could it be a power-saving option that is spinning down the drives after being idle for some time?
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13 September 2012 21:36:19

Thank you for having this thread, I thought my hard drive was dying, but my hard drive was set to spin down after 20 minutes. I reset it to 90 minutes. Have not had the slow access/clicking thing happen again during my normal workday except for one time when I get on in the morning each day.
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21 September 2012 04:17:09

Best answer selected by Xyos.
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