Computer really really really slow...

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  #1  
Old 01-20-13, 01:00 PM
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Computer really really really slow...

This has a happy ending, but I don't know why!

My son's Toshiba W7 laptop got really slow yesterday. Webpages or word documents would take 5 minutes to load, and when you typed you got 1 letter up at a time. However virus scanning and downloading went just fine.

I looked at memory and disk utilization but they were low.

I scanned with MS Security Essentials and found 8 trojans, but removing them didn't help.
I scanned with Superantispyware and it found 242 tracking cookies, but removing them didn't help.
I scanned with Malwarebytes but it didn't find anything.

I unplugged it and removed the batteries, but it didn't help.

I tested the memory and disk with Toshiba utilities and they were fine.
I tested the memory and disk with MS utilities. Memory was fine, but disk gave me the blue screen of death.
On reboot it went into CHKDSK. It found one bad sector in a temporary file.
When it was done I rebooted and it was fine.

So, my question: why would a bad sector in a temporary file cause this problem? Its fixed, but since I don't understand why, I don't feel good about it.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-20-13, 03:18 PM
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Bad sectors on a hard drive can definitely do something like this, especially if it's in a swap file. Basically, the computer uses the swap/temporary file to store often used information. It tries to write this information to the drive, but the drive may return either an error or just that it couldn't write it. So the computer tries again, and again, and again.

By running chkdsk, you've now identified that sector as bad, so it shouldn't try to write to it again. If that's the only problem, you should be good to go. The downside, is one bad sector is often followed by another, then another, then another. I would recommend you ensure all your data is well backed up. I don't think you have to rush out and buy a new drive just because of this... but beware that you may experience other drive issues. Daily backups are a good thing - even better in your case.
 
  #3  
Old 01-20-13, 04:24 PM
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I agree with Zorfdt bad sectors usually do follow other bad sectors just make sure to keep an eye on how things are going with the laptop. I recently swapped out a hard drive on my laptop that I use for testing memory and other components on a Dell and I guess I wasn't as careful as I should have been because now my hard drive in there now is working slow. Trouble especially with laptop hard drives is that they are more susceptible to shock and being damaged. I have found that where you grip the laptop and pick it up really makes a big difference. Trouble is where is the safe place as each manufacturer is different. The easiest way to find out is to just look on the outside of the computer and see where the laptop try slides in and then avoid picking up your laptop in that spot.
 
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Old 01-25-13, 11:41 PM
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I've seen that several times before with laptops my customers bring in. I've also done it myself.. Hundred bucks says he dropped the laptop while it was on, although he probably won't admit it..

If a hard drive is subjected to shock during operation (as in dropping a laptop), the head literally smacks into the spinning platter - which causes physical damage to the head, the platter, or both. The damage to the head causes it to have to read each spot multiple times to get the data, which is why things slow way down. The bad sector you found is very likely the point of impact on the platter. And Zorfdt is absolutely right - once you find a bad sector they tend to spread like cancer.

However I have to disagree with his anticipation of longevity.. You need to replace the drive ASAP. You should back up all of his data immediately because it WILL fail on you. Basically he lit a short fuse on its self-destruction. To avoid this in the future I highly recommend replacing it with a SSD (Solid State Drive). These are much more expensive per gigabyte than a standard hard drive, but they have no moving parts and are 100% shockproof. I sell and recommend OCZ drives because I use them personally and they haven't let me down yet.. But there are other brands out there. Just stay away from the really cheap/off brand ones.
 
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Old 01-26-13, 01:59 AM
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I don't dispute the fact that SSD's are shock proof but I have heard of some errors with them. In desktops anyway dealing with drive letter assignments I have heard can be bothersome as they seem to want to write only to one drive and don't want to write a file to another drive. At least that is what I have been told. Maybe it has to do with some of those drives being cheap. I don't know I haven't had any experience with them. I hear most of them are good though.

One of the reasons I mentioned be careful about where you grip a laptop is because my friend was told by his friend who fixes laptops that you have to be careful where you grip them. Anyway what do you think of that JerseyMatt does it really matter where the laptop is picked up? My Dell has the hd in the front and most times it is hard to pick it up from any other place so I have wondered about that. As the old laptop still works like a charm and this particular laptop has only had the hd taken out once since I put a new one in. Nice to see you back by the way JerseyMatt I hope the new year so far has brought good things to you.
 
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Old 01-26-13, 06:16 AM
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Good to be back! I had some things going on.. Things here have been on hold for a couple months, my sister was hit by Sandy and I was staying in NJ helping her out. Then naturally I was all set to come home right after New Years and I got the flu and was delayed another week and a half.. But Im all good now

First off, an SSD in a desktop is a waste IMO. If someone wants to pay for one I will gladly sell it to them, but there's nothing to be gained except a few seconds off your boot time and opening Photoshop.. They shine in laptops due to the shock resistance and ultra-low power consumption (I gained almost an hour of battery time per charge in mine after I switched to SSD)

I don't know what you mean by wanting to write to one drive but not another.. That sounds like a misconfiguration in Windows or stupid partitioning. That's a defective operator, not a problem with the drive. To Windows - or any other OS for that matter - an SSD looks no different than a standard hard drive (except for a few commands exclusive to SSD).. Not only that but there's no meaningful difference in the way an OS works on a laptop vs a desktop (again except a few things like lid close sensor, battery meter, etc) that would make an SSD work differently on one vs another.

It's entirely possible to damage a laptop drive by squeezing in the wrong spot. My Toshiba also has the drive bay in the front right under the palmrest, and I have also picked it up by that spot and felt it 'crush in' a bit.. If you crush it too far, its possible to squeeze the top cover of the drive down to where it hits the upper head.

One other thing to consider is that when you change the position of the laptop (a lot of people - myself included - close the lid, then pick it up and carry it like a book under their arm) with the hard drive spinning, there are tremendous gyroscopic forces at work on the spinning platter. If you do this enough times, it can cause the platter motor bearing to fail, therefore crashing the drive. Unless you have an SSD, the laptop should always be asleep before you pick it up.
 
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Old 01-26-13, 08:57 PM
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Sorry to Hear your sister was hit by Sandy I hear things are better now but they still have a long way to go. We had the flu too in our household despite the fact that we had the flu shot. The doctor said we should. Maybe it helped some but what do doctors know anyway. Anyway glad you are back.

I had heard from another member who had problems with writing to another drive with his SSD drives on his wife's computer. When I wrote to the other member on this forum I said at the time I had never heard of that problem but apparently with him there was a problem. He had quite a few SSD drives in his computer that was built for him. When I built mine for my office I intentionally didn't buy an SSD because of the costs of buying them. If you want a big drive the cost is prohibitive at least right now. Besides that you just told us they are not that much faster anyway.

I kind of thought my friends advice was right and I try not to pick up the laptop in the wrong place. I am guilty too of picking up the laptop while it is running and hadn't even thought about it too much but you are right it isn't good for the laptop.
 
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