Windows 10: Windows 10 automatic disk maintenance during idle causing hard freeze.

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  1.    16 Apr 2016 #1

    Windows 10 automatic disk maintenance during idle causing hard freeze.


    Specs: Windows 10 x64, Radeon HD 7970 Ghz ed 6GB x2 in Xfire [normally only one card is active], i7 3770k, Samsung 500 GB SSD, 16 GB Corsair RAM, Several 1+ TB HDD. I have a SSD with the OS on it, and several large Seagate HDDs with other files. 1 1 TB, 1 700 GB, and 2 2 TB drives. I also have a few external drives, but they usually aren't plugged in unless I'm using them.

    What the title says. Windows 10 keeps locking up during idle automatic maintenance. If I leave my PC untouched for too long the idle maintenance starts and locks up the PC. The mouse cursor disappears and I have to hard reset to get it working again.

    All my drivers are up to date, as well as all my Windows updates. There's nothing I can update and this has been going on for several months now and has been persistent across several driver and OS updates. I have run a clean installation of Windows 10 twice and it still persists.

    It's also worth noting that it never freezes if I'm actively using the PC. As long as I'm inputting something, playing something , streaming something, or otherwise providing some sort of input, everything runs fine. It only ever happens when the system has been idle for a bit and left to sit for a few minutes. Usually around 10 to 15 minutes or so, sometimes it can go a bit longer, but it's always within an hour or so at the absolute most, usually within 30 minutes.

    I've already basically disabled every auto update process I can, including in my optimization and defrag menu, and set up power management to prevent sleeping and such trying to keep it from happening, but nothing like that helps. I've even tried just letting it run for a long while to see if it cleared up and that was a no go.

    I've run system and hardware monitors, tested my hardware, and everything comes up clean and tells me everything in my PC is working properly. My temps are good and I'm not getting spikes in GPU or CPU usage, all my drives show good ratings as well. I've run every kind of scan and repair my PC can do, including the various command prompt scans and boot scans, and they show no problems with anything. I've run several adware scans, virus scans, malware scans, and have combed through my processes trying to pinpoint this and everything comes up clean, yet I still get these constant freezes.

    WhoCrashed and Windows Event Viewer don't show any crashes or failures. The PC doesn't think anything is wrong or failing when it locks up. The only events that show up are failures caused by my forced reset powering down the PC itself.

    There is a workaround, but it's kind of a pain. If I start a video and leave it running in a loop it prevents the freezing. I have a video file that I keep on my desktop just for doing this when I have to step away, and it's an annoying way to deal with it as I sometimes forget and come back after a trip to the bathroom or kitchen to find my PC has locked up yet again.

    This automatic idle disk maintenance can't be bypassed as far as I know. There is no way to disable it or prevent it from kicking on.

    I can 'optimize' my SSD, and all my HDD say they're defragged in my defrag and optimization menu. I've run them all manually and it's done nothing to prevent this issue.

    However, there is an oddity there. There is an option to optimize the SSD and it works, but there are two partitions below that on the SSD and I cannot run optimization on either one. They are System Resources and an oddly named \\?\Volume{ followed by a long string of numbers and dashes that I assume is a system partition of some sort. They both say that Optimization has never been run and I cannot do it manually.

    The optimize button is there and I can click on it. It isn't greyed out, but clicking on it just gives me a spinning 'busy' icon for a moment and does absolutely nothing. There is no error message and crash reports don't show anything failing. It just fails and acts as if nothing has happened, and the drives continue to say that optimization has never been run and that both of these partitions need it.

    I'm thinking these two system partitions are what is causing the freeze. I'm sure it's the idle automatic disk maintenance causing this, because that's the only thing that would be going on, and running a video prevents it from kicking in, but that's the only way I know of that reliably prevents the PC from freezing outside of actually sitting there and using it. It's too frequent and consistent to be something like an update download or install causing it, and checking updates show everything is up to date, not to mention I tried disabling updates and it did nothing to prevent it. It also doesn't happen on a schedule or particular time, but any time I leave the PC running for too long without touching anything for 10-15 minutes or so.

    Even leaving something like a game running doesn't work. It even freezes if I play audio files in the same player I use for videos. Running video works to stop it, either streaming or using a video player program to play a video file from one of my drives, but nothing else I know of can reliably prevent it.

    Again, this isn't an issue if I'm actively doing something. It doesn't freeze if I'm actively playing a game or providing any kind of input. It only occurs if I leave it running and don't touch anything for a little while. I'm not talking about leaving the PC on over long periods of time here, this is something that occurs within a half hour of leaving it alone.

    Any ideas about what to do here? I've kind of run out of ideas and there doesn't seem to be anything I can do to fix this outside of just running a video when I need to step away for a few minutes to keep it from locking up. That's really just a band aid and I shouldn't have to do that to prevent these freezes.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  2. Posts : 650
    W10 pro x64 and W10 x86
       16 Apr 2016 #2

    No real answers I'm afraid, just an observation.

    Its normal for the SSD not to allow the system reserved partitions to be trimmed. Mine is the same and I've also seen comments on that subject before. I don't think your problem lies there. Having said that, I don't know what the additional \\?\volume partition is. Shadow copies ? Maybe someone else has some clues on that. I've never seen anything like that on a standard clean install where Windows manages all the partitions needed for the OS i.e you haven't told it to put specific files somewhere other than default locations.

    Normally when maintenance runs, the very act of even moving the cursor or touching a key instantly stops the process. That's what I have found in all versions of Windows to date.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3. Cliff S's Avatar
    Posts : 13,912
    Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 14393, Windows 10 Insider Fast Ring, Windows 8.1 Update, Ubuntu
       16 Apr 2016 #3

    You have disabled the task in Task Scheduler,
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    well you can disable the service,
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    and get a 3rd party defrag tool(most these days also trim/retrim SSDs too).
    Only partitions with drive letters can be optimized. those // named ones and recovery and such, cannot be or need to be as they are usually so small it wouldn't make a difference anyhow. Example Recovery 450MB, or EFI is 100MB...etc.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    16 Apr 2016 #4

    Mooly said: View Post
    No real answers I'm afraid, just an observation.

    Its normal for the SSD not to allow the system reserved partitions to be trimmed. Mine is the same and I've also seen comments on that subject before. I don't think your problem lies there. Having said that, I don't know what the additional \\?\volume partition is. Shadow copies ? Maybe someone else has some clues on that. I've never seen anything like that on a standard clean install where Windows manages all the partitions needed for the OS i.e you haven't told it to put specific files somewhere other than default locations.

    Normally when maintenance runs, the very act of even moving the cursor or touching a key instantly stops the process. That's what I have found in all versions of Windows to date.
    That doesn't seem to be happening on my system. As I said, this is only an issue when the system is idle. I've exhausted pretty much every other option.

    Something is failing and locking up when it tries to do maintenance, no idea what. I don't have any unusual processes running and my hardware isn't getting any weird spikes of activity. It all seems to be running optimally and then it just stops working suddenly. No crash dumps, no error messages. The mouse cursor disappears and I have a hard freeze for seemingly no reason when idle.

    I've been trying to troubleshoot this for months and have come up empty. It's nice that there's a workaround for it, so it's not completely disabling my PC or interfering with my use of it, but it is super annoying to deal with coming back to a locked up PC whenever I forget to run the video or am gone longer than I expect when I step away.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5. Cliff S's Avatar
    Posts : 13,912
    Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 14393, Windows 10 Insider Fast Ring, Windows 8.1 Update, Ubuntu
       16 Apr 2016 #5

    One other reason for freezing during optimization can be if zipped or and other compressed files such as ISOs or system images, are being optimized to.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    16 Apr 2016 #6

    Cliff S said: View Post
    You have disabled the task in Task Scheduler,

    well you can disable the service,

    and get a 3rd party defrag tool(most these days also trim/retrim SSDs too).
    Only partitions with drive letters can be optimized. those // named ones and recovery and such, cannot be or need to be as they are usually so small it wouldn't make a difference anyhow. Example Recovery 450MB, or EFI is 100MB...etc.
    Recommendations on a decent defrag program?

    Also, is this the same thing as what runs when my system is idle?

    As I said, this is consistent and doesn't follow a schedule. It just hits me when I leave things alone too long regardless of when it is. The most frequently I've had this set up for is weekly, so it seems odd that it would hit me so frequently. This has hit me multiple times a day before. Manual defragging works fine as well with no issues.

    Something is kicking in when I leave things idle and causing the freeze. I'm pretty sure it's not a virus or corruption because I've scanned the hell out of everything on all my drives and come up with nothing. All my processes are also legit and I've disabled everything but the essentials for Windows in the past and still had this issue crop up. It's super annoying [thankfully no worse than that]. This has been going on for several months, so I don't think it's an update gone bad or something that slipped through the scanners. As I said, I've reinstalled my OS a couple of times trying to nuke this and it's still a problem. That suggests it's a Windows thing and not some well hidden malware I've picked up from somewhere.

    I've been at this for months and I've been pretty thorough and come up empty handed.

    I'll try disabling my scans [again] and see if that helps. Having a 3rd party defrag program won't hurt anything. More than happy to try that and give it a run.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  7. Posts : 650
    W10 pro x64 and W10 x86
       16 Apr 2016 #7

    Maintenance (that not what I call optimisation or defrag) usually occurs just once per 24 hours and is mostly Defender doing a quick scan. That's what I refer to as maintenance, and if that starts running when the PC idle (which is how it should be) then simply moving the mouse stops it or at the very least reverts it to a background process.

    Optimisation on an SSD (or defrag on an HDD) should be occurring very infrequently as indicated by the schedule. Once weekly is the default.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  8. Posts : 650
    W10 pro x64 and W10 x86
       16 Apr 2016 #8

    This is maintenance. Look where it says 'last run on'.

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      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9. Cliff S's Avatar
    Posts : 13,912
    Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 14393, Windows 10 Insider Fast Ring, Windows 8.1 Update, Ubuntu
       16 Apr 2016 #9

    It runs when the system is idle because if auto maintenance hasn't finished it's job, it carries on the next time the system is idle.
    If you leave your PC on all the time, I mean sleep or hibernate it, you could just try setting auto maintenance to another time when you are not using the PC(Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Security and Maintenance\Automatic Maintenance), or force it once in a while and let the PC sit(go shopping, watch a game, whatever )so everything gets done.
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    Then the next time it runs it won't take so long or need so many resources.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10.    16 Apr 2016 #10

    Cliff S said: View Post
    It runs when the system is idle because if auto maintenance hasn't finished it's job, it carries on the next time the system is idle.
    If you leave your PC on all the time, I mean sleep or hibernate it, you could just try setting auto maintenance to another time when you are not using the PC(Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Security and Maintenance\Automatic Maintenance), or force it once in a while and let the PC sit(go shopping, watch a game, whatever )so everything gets done.
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    Then the next time it runs it won't take so long or need so many resources.
    I see. Well, it says it's currently running.

    That's also part of my problem. I can't do that and run off to do something else because the PC freezes if I try after a few minutes if I leave it alone. I'd just come back and find it locked up again.

    This is most annoying when I'm downloading something like a game from Steam or something large like that. I have to babysit it, or leave a video running in a loop or I'll just come back to a frozen PC and a partial download.

    It's also annoying if I leave a game paused and come back to find it locked up. I've lost a few hours of gameplay to that because I paused to get up to do something and came back to an unresponsive PC. That happens less often, but it's still frustrating. When I say 'a few hours' that's cumulative, I save habitually enough that I usually only lose several minutes of a particular session when this happens. I'm pretty good about saving before I get up to do something because Bethesda games have beat good manual saving habits into my head over the years because Gambryo is such a crappy and unstable engine that likes to destroy it's own autosaves and quicksaves.

    Still, having to reboot the PC and reload a game and go over something I just did again is irritating.

    That said, my defrag menu says all of my drives are good. One is currently defragging, but it was only at like 4% to begin with. It's getting done, but something isn't working right when the system is idle and is hard freezing my PC.

    Edit: Defrag is done, Maintenance still says it's doing something. Also won't stop no matter how many times I click on 'stop maintenance'. I just get a split second of the 'busy' wheel and nothing happens. No option to 'change maintenance settings' is there either. The only clickable under Automatic Maintenance is 'stop maintenance' and it's ineffective.

    A restart doesn't change that either. Still says it's in progress and won't let me stop it from doing whatever it's doing.
    Last edited by Contrabardus; 16 Apr 2016 at 03:15.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 
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