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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our computer's hard drive is constantly going. We can hear it and see the light flashing. Could this be the windows desktop search program? Is there a way to turn that off?
 

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1.
Which version of Windows have you?
RIGHT click "my computer"
Left click "properties"
If XP, which version of XP? Which SP?

2.
When did the problem begin?
Can you associate the onset of the problem to the addition or removal of hardware or software, to include an update to Windows or your antivirus program? Have you run a registry cleaner recently? I am NOT suggesting that you run a reg cleaner.

3.
What happens in safe mode?

4.
In normal mode, open task manager.
Go to the processes tab.
Is a process other than system idle using your processor at a high %age?
If so, is it svchost.exe?

For the most part when I have seen this problem in the past it has been caused by a problem with Microsoft Automatic Updates being enabled and not functioning properly.

If Automatic Update is running reboot in Safe Mode, run services.msc and double click the entry for Automatic Updates and set the startup mode to disabled and reboot.

If this resolves the problem let us know and we will try to guide you to a further resolution.

RF123
 

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Do you have a third party defrag program (Norton Speed disk, Iolo system mechanic, OODefrag etc) ? If so it could be conflicting with windows built in defrag which is based on Executive Software Diskkeeper lite. The windows defrag (and most others now) includes an "optimize hard disk when not in use" feature which runs "mini defrags" whenever it detects that you are not using the computer. Since each defrag utility uses a different algorythm to determine where on the disk each file belongs (do you sort by name, file type, date of creation, frequency of use, size, catagory, etc how should the files be organized?) often having two will result in dueling defrag where one moves a file and then the other moves it elsewhere and then the first moves it back...
You can disable this feature using TweakUI for XP , under General options => uncheck optimize hard disk when idle.

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Even on a drive with just windows defrag it can often be a sign of a severely fragemented drive.
With the NTFS format which is file based, a segment of the drive large enough to hold the entire file in one contiguous stretch is found when a file is saved. Later windows defrag will analyze the files usage and determine where on the drive it belongs permanently . It will then attempt to move around files in that area to get a large enough area to store this file there in one non fragmented space. Thus files are not normally fragmented but the drive is the moment you save anything in XP on an NTFS format drive.

So go and run defrag (my computer, right click drive, choose tools , defrag)
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http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/desktopsearch/default.mspx
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/desktopsearch/getitnow.mspx

Windows desktop search can conflict with other similar tools like google desktop and therefore you should only use one of them.
If you have more than one, choose and uninstall the others.
Any of these will initially spend a lot of time indexing the drive and therefore there will be a lot of drive activity initially which will taper off as the drive gets fully cataloged .
These can also conflict with competitors "toolbars" so it is best to uninstall these too if you do not use them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
rainforest123 -

Thanks!

Question 1. Which version of Windows have you?
Answer: Windows XP - SP2

Question 2. When did the problem begin?
Can you associate the onset of the problem to the addition or removal of hardware or software, to include an update to Windows or your antivirus program? Have you run a registry cleaner recently? I am NOT suggesting that you run a reg cleaner.

Answer: The problem began around end of Nov/early Dec. There were two key events I can relate it to:
  1. We had a virus problem on this machine. This was catpured in a thread here - and resolved due to tremendous help from Cookiegal. I did try to install various anti-spyware tools like spybot, spyware blaster, I think some type of host filter list, etc. with the instinct to close the barn door after the recurring infection issues.
  2. I uninstalled Office 2002/3 and installed from scratch Office 2007. I believe Windows Desktop Search got installed in the same install, inadvertently.

Cookiegal has since reviewed the latest diagnostics and determined that there is no serious virus infection issue any more. Furthermore, noticing that the Desktop Search seems to be looking to do indexing or waiting to do indexing gave me the notion that it might be that. As for registry cleaners, I do not think I have run it on this machine. I have run CCleaner.

Question 3. What happens in safe mode?
Answer: I need to come back and update my answer. I thought I noticed the problem there too, but need to reconfirm.

Question 4.
Is a process other than system idle using your processor at a high %age?
Answer: Most of the usage is by Systemidleprocess. However, two other processes having noticeable usage are:
Searchfilterhost.exe
Searchprotocolhost.exe
 

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You really don't want to turn off the "idle defrag". This is when Defrag is optimizing those files referenced in the \Prefetch folder, and thus should not take a long time.

a segment of the drive large enough to hold the entire file in one contiguous stretch is found when a file is saved. Later windows defrag will analyze the files usage and determine where on the drive it belongs permanently
Do you have a technical reference for this comment?

The concept does not make sense. AFAIK files are created/saved using the linklist of available space. To create a file in a contiguous area (and thus non fragmented), and then turn around and move it, sounds like a complete waste of cycles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Wow! I had missed several of the responses.

rainforest123 - The safe mode definitely seemed to be a bit quieter. I looked at the active processes - and the idle process was 99%.

oshwyn5 - I do not have third party defrag tools. Did use windows defrag tool a couple of weeks ago, and it did reduce the problem. However, the issue is still there and got back to the original levels.

WhitPhil - The Windows Desktop search was my first guess. I tried to uninstall it from the add/remove programs option in the control panel. However, the uninstall fails saying "you can only uninstall installed programs" - implying that the program I am trying to uninstall is not installed. However, it shows in the list of installed programs! Also, I am able to see the desktop search on my horizontal bar at the bottom of my screen.

With uninstall not an option - how should I proceed? Thanks.
 

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k:
If things are better in safe mode, THEORETICALLY, the culprit is starting as a service or from the startup group. You are NOW about to begin the adventure of clean boot troubleshooting.

start > run
delete contents of long, skinny, white box, to the right of "open"
type: msconfig
Left click "ok".
The system configuration utility will open.
If you are in selective startup, take note of the items which are checked or unchecked. Note specific names, because the order will change, after a reboot. Thus, don't document that the 1st 4, the 9th and 12th items are unchecked.

The following assumes your computer is in normal mode.

Left click the dot to the left of "diagnostic mode".
Left click "ok".
Left click "yes".

Reboot.

Does the HDD issue occur?

If the problem does not occur, continue as follows.

Reboot.

start > run
delete contents of long, skinny, white box
type: msconfig
Left click "ok".

Left click on the "services" tab.
Left click "hide all Microsoft services".
Left click "disable all".
Left click the "startup" tab.
Left click the "disable all" button.
Left click "ok".
Left click "yes".

Reboot.

Test your system.

If the problem does not occur,

start > run
delete contents of long, skinny, white box
type: msconfig
Left click "ok".
In the system config utility
Check the "startup tab" to find out if a program has enabled itself.
If so, make a note & report that occurrance.

services tab
Hide all Microsoft services [ as above ]
Enable 1/2 of the items that are unchecked.
I suggest enabling items in groups, according to manufacturer.
It is MOST important that you keep careful notes.

Add items from the services tab, in groups, rebooting & testing after each addition of a group of startup items.

Reboot.

Test

Continue adding items from the services tab until all services have been added.

Then, add items from the "startup" tab, in groups, rebooting & testing after each addition of a group of startup items.

When the problem returns, go back 1 step, remove 1/2 of the items you just added, reboot, test. If the problem still occurs, remove some more of the items you had most recently added. Eventually, you will narrow it down.

Clean boot troubleshooting in tedious, laborious, and unexciting, but if performed methodically, it will yield good results.

See these links for detailed information:

http://support.microsoft.com/default...b;EN-US;310353
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929135 << for Vista, but applies equally to XP, and better written.

RF123
 

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Windows Desktop Search was installed in KB917013

You should be able to uninstall it by doing the following from a Command prompt.

C:\WINDOWS\$NtUninstallKB917013$\spuninst\spuninst.exe /passive
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I tried the solution offered by WhitPhil, particularly as it was short and sweet. And, it worked great! The problem I was complaining about is gone. The HD is restful and quiet and the speed has improved. I looked at processes in the task manager, and idle process was holding steady at 99%, whereas earlier the CPU was considerably less idle and fluctuating. Thanks a lot! The solution offered was brilliant - and it even fixed the problem!
Wonderful!
 
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