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Regular unexplained slowdown. Please ...

Trish's Escape from Hardware Hell Help Board » Hardware » ...All the Rest » Regular unexplained slowdown. Please help. « Previous Next »

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Lee Armstrong
Posted on Sunday, March 2, 2003 - 3:18 am:   


Please help me.Here's my problem. Until about two months ago I had a perfectly fine 400Mhz, 128MB memory computer. Then, for no apparent reason (I had installed no new software or hardware) I started to get this problem.

Roughly every 3 minutes, I hear a very faint high pitched whining noise (so faint I didn't notice it to start with) and my computer slows to a crawl. This lasts roughly 1 minute and then it returns to normal. This happens regular as clockwork whether I'm running a game which taxes the system, or nothing at all!

I have checked the system resources with no programmes running when this happens, and they say 88% free. I have 330MB free on my hard drive and 128MB RAM, so I don't think it's memory.

I have recently defragmented my harddrive, which made no difference at all, and recently uninstalling a large resource hungry game has also made no difference.

I have been searching the web for weeks now, have talked to my father who builds computers for a living and the IT department at work and have had no joy.

I'm running windows 98 with a voodoo 3 graphics card (most upto date driver). I have been getting no error messages except one. However, this was sorted out before these problems occured. (It was during boot up and said that windows could not find a necessary file for an installed component, probably a .dll, but didn't specify what). I don't think this had anything to do with it though, as this seemed to be sorted out a week or so before these problems occured.

I really am at my wits end! I know a enough about computers to be dangerous, so I haven't tried anything complicated unless I get it wrong and make it worse, so I figured asking for help would be the best thing to do.

I really hope you can help. Thanks in advance,
Posted on Sunday, March 2, 2003 - 10:15 am:   

I have a Maxtor Hard drive that exhibits the same symptoms you describe. Check the harddrive. Could be a failing servo.
Lee Armstrong
Posted on Tuesday, March 4, 2003 - 3:13 pm:   

Hey E.S.,

You could be right - here's an update.

I defragged my hard drive again on Sunday, and stopped half way through as I needed the computer for something. This "cured" the problem until I shut down. When I rebooted again, it was worse. It eventually crashed. So, I rebooted, and set my hard drive to defrag again, this time stopping at 80%. It was again fine until I shut down. It was then worse again. So...... I rebooted and defragged again, this time letting it finish. This made no difference, and I still have a major problem.

Forgive me for sounding stupid, but how do I check my hard drive to find if it is a failing servo?

Posted on Tuesday, March 4, 2003 - 8:54 pm:   

they might have a download that does a check of the hard drive like ibm does. you may be able to look on the downloads section of the web site they have. i forget if they do, but also, i'm not sure if the ibm will check a non ibm drive. if not, then i'd see if the drive is under warranty, and call for an rma to get a new drive.
Posted on Tuesday, March 4, 2003 - 9:19 pm:   

If its a Maxtor/Quantum you can download the Maxblast utility which will install itself on a bootfloppy and run the diagnostics from startup if you have the bios set to check for a boot floppy. You should run a complete diagnostic which will check the servos as well as data integrity.

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