Slow Hard Drive Partition

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DonC

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WinXPSP2
VAIO PCG - FXA36

48G IBM Hard Drive, in 4 partitions

Recently my boot times sky rocketed to the point that it was taking 15 minutes to boot. As I often turn on the computer as soon as I get to my office and then go off to do other things, I'm not exactly sure when this happened, and can't associate it with any change I made.

Testing the system, I found that my computer was reading data on the C partition at 1/10 the speed of the other three partitions.

I defragmented the partition without significant change.

Running "TuneUp Utilities 2004" I found several hundred registry problems which had been missed by Norton Utilities. I also defragmented the registry. That helped, but the C partition is still accessed (read from) at about 1/3 the speed of the other three.

I'm baffled, and would appreciate any suggestions.

Thanks in advance.

DonC
 
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Drive reading speed can be significantly slowed by a disk error. Have you run a thorough chkdsk /r on that drive, preferably from the Recovery Console?

Is DMA enabled in Windows and in the BIOS for that channel? Are you using a UDMA cable and is it in good condition?
 

DonC

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My BIOS does not have an option for DMA, but my IDE setup has UDMA enabled, not DMA. As far as I know the original UDMA connector is good (My memory says there is no cable on my laptop, but I haven't checked).

I ran chkdsk /r from the recovery console last night - it took a while, but found no errors.

Testing this morning, using Norton's Passmark Software version 4, read speeds were still terrible on the C partition. Write speeds were slightly less than on the D partition.

Standard C/C++API – 3.6 (C); 10.4 (D)
Standard Win32 API cached – 3.47 (C); 14.25 (D)
Standard Win32 API Uncached – 2.59 (C); 15.67 (D)
RAW .53 (C, 2nd try; read error about half way through 1st try); 15.72 (D) This is on a single drive. :confused:

Elvandil wrote:
Drive reading speed can be significantly slowed by a disk error. Have you run a thorough chkdsk /r on that drive, preferably from the Recovery Console?

Is DMA enabled in Windows and in the BIOS for that channel? Are you using a UDMA cable and is it in good condition?
 

DaveBurnett

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Just a thought... tick .... tick....
As well as the disk itself getting fragmented, under NTFS, the MFT also gets badly fragmented and can cause slow access. The safest way to resolve this is to back the partition up, format it to clear the tables, then reload from the back-up.
 
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And what about your cluster size? Did you convert that drive from FAT to NTFS by any chance?
 

DonC

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Thank you for the thoughts.

No compression. 15 G on the partition only half used, and just defragmented.

Fat 32, cluster size 4K. One of the other partitions is 8K (I'm not sure how that happened), but the rest are all 4K. I tried NTFS once on a previous hard drive, and didn't much like it.

Perhaps the MFT is the cause. But because it's my C partition, simple backup won't work. I'd have to do a Ghost backup. Unless it gets much worse, that will have to wait until my holiday (home office situation).
 

DaveBurnett

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Ah FAT32!!! That gives you other options as well. Fat32 uses FAT rather than a MFT, but the same does apply to a lesser extent.
Being as it is Fat32, see if you can get hold of a copy of the DOS version Norton Disk Doctor. It does a more thorough job than CHKDSK. Or you can even download a Bootable diskette with SCANDISK on it - that is even more thorough than CHKDSK.
 
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DonC said:
Testing the system, I found that my computer was reading data on the C partition at 1/10 the speed of the other three partitions.
What did you use to test this?
From your other post, it sounds like Windows is correctly using UDMA.
Also sounds like they are all FAT32. Is that also correct? You said you didn't much like NTFS.
 
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Do you notice any slowness subjectively or is your concern solely with the results that Passmark gave you?

Try running the tests at PCPitstop, or try another benchmarking utility.

Are all your drives FAT32 and have any been converted from NTFS?
 
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Is there anything different about how the C: partition was originally created or changed since then as compared to the other partitions.

Also since - "Recently my boot times sky rocketed to the point that it was taking 15 minutes to boot" - what other changes have been made that might be affecting performance. Have you tried basic scans for things like viruses and spyware. Does the system have the same poor performance when in safe mode as compared to the other partitions.
 
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Were there other symptoms while running after your slow boot?

Do you happen to have the floppy boot disks for Partition Magic available? If so, boot from them and examine your partitions.

If not, boot from a floppy containing a demo of Partition Table Doctor and see if it finds any file system inconsistencies. The MVP's seem to agree in thinking that a file-system problem may be slowing your access, so that's another possibility to investigate. Small inconsistencies in the partition tables may still allow you to boot and access your drive.

There may not be a single cause, but multiple, small contributory factors.
 
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