Very slow boot time - 100% disk active time

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  1. Posts : 13
    Windows 10 - Fall Creators Update
       25 Mar 2018 #1

    Very slow boot time - 100% disk active time


    Hi !

    I purchased a new laptop a couple days ago (ASUS ZenBook UX410UAK Ė specs in screenshot) and straight from the first day I noticed it was way too slow, especially on boot.

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    I managed to pinpoint down the problem to the HDD (ST1000LM035-1RK172). The drive ALWAYS upon boot and occasionally during simple everyday work goes to 100% active time for several minutes, causing the system to be way too slow (opening an empty word document sometimes takes around 15 seconds !!) and the boot time to be around 2-3 minutes before the drive goes back to normal HDD active time and the system starts responding normally again.

    Keep in mind, I have only installed the absolute minimum of programs I need in order to pinpoint if on of them is causing the problem. (Windows -factory install with all ASUS bloatware unfortunately- with latest windows updates, Office 2016 Pro, Google Drive -backup and sync-, Google Chrome, Thunderbird, GIMP, 7zip, AOMEI Backupper, CrystalDiskMark and CrystalDiskInfo).

    After reading around the forums a lot, I made some tests in order to get an idea of whatís at fault, most importantly to exclude a hardware issue that would qualify for an immediate RMA of the laptop. First I run a chkdsk /f /r on boot. The whole process took 3 hours !!! Is this normal ?

    Anyways, log from event viewer is this :

    Code:
    Checking file system on C:
    The type of the file system is NTFS.
    Volume label is OS.
     
    A disk check has been scheduled.
    Windows will now check the disk.                         
     
    Stage 1: Examining basic file system structure ...
      368896 file records processed.                                                         File verification completed.
      47896 large file records processed.                                      0 bad file records processed.                                      
    Stage 2: Examining file name linkage ...
      542 reparse records processed.                                         473206 index entries processed.                                                        Index verification completed.
      0 unindexed files scanned.                                           0 unindexed files recovered to lost and found.                       542 reparse records processed.                                       
    Stage 3: Examining security descriptors ...
    Cleaning up 1692 unused index entries from index $SII of file 0x9.
    Cleaning up 1692 unused index entries from index $SDH of file 0x9.
    Cleaning up 1692 unused security descriptors.
    Security descriptor verification completed.
      52156 data files processed.                                            CHKDSK is verifying Usn Journal...
      35489696 USN bytes processed.                                                            Usn Journal verification completed.
     
    Stage 4: Looking for bad clusters in user file data ...
      368880 files processed.                                                                File data verification completed.
     
    Stage 5: Looking for bad, free clusters ...
      229032138 free clusters processed.                                                        Free space verification is complete.
     
    Windows has scanned the file system and found no problems.
    No further action is required.
     
     975659007 KB total disk space.
      58841668 KB in 204960 files.
        168176 KB in 52157 indexes.
             0 KB in bad sectors.
        520607 KB in use by the system.
         65536 KB occupied by the log file.
     916128556 KB available on disk.
     
          4096 bytes in each allocation unit.
     243914751 total allocation units on disk.
     229032139 allocation units available on disk.
     
    Internal Info:
    00 a1 05 00 68 ec 03 00 c5 16 07 00 00 00 00 00  ....h...........
    6a 00 00 00 b4 01 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  j...............
     
    Windows has finished checking your disk.
    Please wait while your computer restarts.
    Everything looks ok to me.

    I then run the CrystalDisk benchmarks :

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    Last but not least, I checked the Task Manager and the Resource Monitor to see if a specific process is causing the delays, but I couldnít get anything specific. Here are screenshots of a typical boot (processes in the resource monitor are sorted according to disk usage, from highest to lowest) and the apps that run upon boot in task manager.
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    Disabling OneDrive and GoogleDrive on boot improves boot time, however a) I need those two apps on boot and b) occasionally, especially in the first few minutes after boot sequence has completed, simple tasks like opening an empty docx or xls takes 10-15 seconds !!

    Any ideas on how to proceed will be greatly appreciated. I know this ainít an SSD but I believe the times recorder for booting and opening apps are unacceptable even for a non-SSD. Chkdsk didnít report any faults with the drive, so maybe itís a motherboardís controller issue ? I get the feeling that the disk has good transfer rates when it gets going, however access times feel quite slow. Should I just suck it up and accept that the disk is just slow and be done with it (and buy an SSD) ? I would really like to exclude all other possibilities before I draw that conclusion.

    Thanks in advance for any help.
    Last edited by iparout; 25 Mar 2018 at 07:13.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    25 Mar 2018 #2

    Hi.
    For starters, I would turn off Fast Startup, and give it a few good shutdowns.
    Turn On or Off Fast Startup in Windows 10 Windows 10 Tutorials
    See if that doesn't help a bit.

    You could also do a clean boot, and then start turning things back on, to see what really gives you a performance hit, and perhaps disable that altogether.
    Perform a Clean Boot in Windows 10 to Troubleshoot Software Conflicts Windows 10 Tutorials

    I notice you already have read errors in a brand new disk. Nothing to worry about, but uncommon for a brand new drive. I'd watch it closely. It would also be good to see the rest of Crystal Disk Info, as towards the bottom are allocation attributes I'd be interested to see.

    Also, from an admin command prompt, type sfc /scannow and see if you have any system file integrity violations.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3. Masterchiefxx17's Avatar
    Posts : 424
    Windows 10 Professional 64bit
       25 Mar 2018 #3

    The whole process took 3 hours !!! Is this normal ?
    Yes.

    What is not normal are those CrystalDiskMark readings. Those speeds are abysmal. Follow the steps above and run the test again.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  4. Posts : 13
    Windows 10 - Fall Creators Update
    Thread Starter
       25 Mar 2018 #4

    Thanks for helping out.

    Disabling fast startup made boot time MUCH WORSE ! (took like 4-5 minutes after logging into windows for disk activity to drop below 100%).

    Also, a clean boot didn't help either but I could see that Bitdefender antivirus could not be disabled, so I went all the way and completely uninstalled it. This helped boot time (no 100% disk activity this time at all upon boot which is normal since nothing loads up on boot), but even the slightest task (like opening a single docx) makes disk activity go all the way up to 100% for a few seconds (4-5 sec), during which everything is laggy.

    I managed to grab a screenshot of the resource monitor when the HDD was @ 100% (with Bitdefender still installed), and figured out that the disk goes to 100% with a Total (read/write) speed of 3 MB/s ! I don't know if that's normal... Also attached is the bottom part of CrystalDiskMark as requested

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    Running the /sfc scannow command gave showed no violations

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    Also, new CrystalDiskMark test, with no antivirus installed :

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    I am beginning to think that disk read/write/access speed is the reason behind all problems because, even after successfully booting into windows and the disk activity goes to normal levels, it still goes to 100% and the system becomes extremely laggy/slow even for the simplest of tasks...
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    25 Mar 2018 #5

    iparout said: View Post
    Thanks for helping out.

    Disabling fast startup made boot time MUCH WORSE ! (took like 4-5 minutes after logging into windows for disk activity to drop below 100%).
    Yeah, that will happen. That's why I said to give it a "few" good shutdowns. Usually, when I see all kinds of disk activity at startup that doesn't go away, or takes forever to go away, it can be a cause of Fast Startup being on. Turning it off can let the programs that need to finish things up, actually finish them up. Fast Startup is like a hybrid hibernation. Many times, things like FPRs (Files Pending Rename) and other stuff that needs to be done outside the OS, never have a chance to get done, because Fast Startup never lets the OS go completely.

    iparout said: View Post
    Also, a clean boot didn't help either but I could see that Bitdefender antivirus could not be disabled, so I went all the way and completely uninstalled it. This helped boot time (no 100% disk activity this time at all upon boot which is normal since nothing loads up on boot), but even the slightest task (like opening a single docx) makes disk activity go all the way up to 100% for a few seconds (4-5 sec), during which everything is laggy.
    Any AV is going to put stress/activity on a HDD; removing Bitdefender was a good test, but it appears you have something else going on. The Read Error Rate (1st line of Crystal Disk Info) may just be another symptom of whatever the problem is.

    iparout said: View Post
    I managed to grab a screenshot of the resource monitor when the HDD was @ 100% (with Bitdefender still installed), and figured out that the disk goes to 100% with a Total (read/write) speed of 3 MB/s ! I don't know if that's normal... Also attached is the bottom part of CrystalDiskMark as requested

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	182373

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thanks - the two attributes I was looking for were Current Pending Sector Count and Uncorrectable Sector Count, both of which are fine.
    iparout said: View Post
    Running the /sfc scannow command gave showed no violations

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	182375

    Also, new CrystalDiskMark test, with no antivirus installed :

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2018-03-26 (1).png 
Views:	4 
Size:	1.02 MB 
ID:	182376

    I am beginning to think that disk read/write/access speed is the reason behind all problems because, even after successfully booting into windows and the disk activity goes to normal levels, it still goes to 100% and the system becomes extremely laggy/slow even for the simplest of tasks...
    I'm no HDD expert, and perhaps others will have more ideas for you, but I think perhaps you might want to run the Seagate Seatools utility on that drive, and see if it passes. You'll want to run the long test, and it will take quite some time on a 1TB drive.
    https://www.seagate.com/support/downloads/seatools/

    Just thinking how a mechanical drive works (compared to an SSD), and seeking data, if it's scattered all over, a defrag would help. But this is a new installation. There may be something physically wrong with that drive, (or the connection) and Seagate would have to tell you what tests to run to give them whatever info they need to determine that.

    Of course, it's always possible that it was a bad OOBE setup, and a reinstall might help (yes, I've seen it happen), but that would mean setting up all your software all over again.

    Perhaps some hardware experts will chime in with some other ideas for you.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  6. Posts : 13
    Windows 10 - Fall Creators Update
    Thread Starter
       26 Mar 2018 #6

    Thanks for the thorough reply and your time.

    I will be running the Seagate Seatools to see if I come up with something useful but I am not getting my hopes up.

    Is it 100% certain that these CrystalDiskMark scores are very low for that kind of disk ? (I think Seagate calls them Hybrid HDD). Another HDD on another PC gets similar score, so maybe that's just how non-SSD drives should perform ? (although I doubt it's normal for them to be that laggy). If we have come to the conclusion it's an HDD thing, then I will be getting the laptop back to where I got it and then let them figure out what's wrong. But maybe it's the low RAM of 4 GB causing the problem ? (I don't believe an excel file needs more than that to open quickly though). Will also try to perform a completely clean install of Windows (without the ASUS bloatware) and see how it goes. Fragmentation is at 22% (was at 4% initially and the same problem occurred), will defrag, but, again, I really doubt that's the problem.

    Perhaps an HDD expert can help figure out if something's wrong with the HDD/HDD controller.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.    26 Mar 2018 #7

    I'd check which processes is hogging your disk in the task manager. I'll take a wild guess that it's either SuperFetch's doings or the telemetry processes killing your drive.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  8. Posts : 13
    Windows 10 - Fall Creators Update
    Thread Starter
       26 Mar 2018 #8

    simrick said: View Post
    I'm no HDD expert, and perhaps others will have more ideas for you, but I think perhaps you might want to run the Seagate Seatools utility on that drive, and see if it passes. You'll want to run the long test, and it will take quite some time on a 1TB drive.
    https://www.seagate.com/support/downloads/seatools/

    Just thinking how a mechanical drive works (compared to an SSD), and seeking data, if it's scattered all over, a defrag would help. But this is a new installation. There may be something physically wrong with that drive, (or the connection) and Seagate would have to tell you what tests to run to give them whatever info they need to determine that.
    I defragmented the drive (was @ 22%) and the disk also passed the short and long Seatools test. No major improvement, unfortunately but I know doubt it's a HDD problem.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  9. Posts : 13
    Windows 10 - Fall Creators Update
    Thread Starter
       26 Mar 2018 #9

    *now doubt it's a HDD problem.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10.    26 Mar 2018 #10

    iparout said: View Post
    Thanks for the thorough reply and your time.

    I will be running the Seagate Seatools to see if I come up with something useful but I am not getting my hopes up.

    Is it 100% certain that these CrystalDiskMark scores are very low for that kind of disk ? (I think Seagate calls them Hybrid HDD). Another HDD on another PC gets similar score, so maybe that's just how non-SSD drives should perform ? (although I doubt it's normal for them to be that laggy).
    Honestly, I can't say, as I don't use Crystal Disk Mark and I have an SSD in my rig, so can't do a comparison for you. But I know that I've watched read/writes on other spinners when making Macrium images, and they've been in the 100s of MBs.

    iparout said: View Post
    If we have come to the conclusion it's an HDD thing, then I will be getting the laptop back to where I got it and then let them figure out what's wrong. But maybe it's the low RAM of 4 GB causing the problem ? (I don't believe an excel file needs more than that to open quickly though).
    I don't think 4GB RAM is too little for that machine, really. Excel should be opening instantaneously (not a file, just the program).

    iparout said: View Post
    Will also try to perform a completely clean install of Windows (without the ASUS bloatware) and see how it goes. Fragmentation is at 22% (was at 4% initially and the same problem occurred), will defrag, but, again, I really doubt that's the problem.

    Perhaps an HDD expert can help figure out if something's wrong with the HDD/HDD controller.
    If you're willing to perform a clean install, I would suggest grabbing an ISO from the MS website and that way you can put just Windows 10 on there, without all the ASUS bloatware.
    Download Windows 10 ISO File Windows 10 Tutorials

    Might want to back up your drivers first, just in case there's something special you need.
    Backup and Restore Device Drivers in Windows 10 Windows 10 Tutorials

    iparout said: View Post
    I defragmented the drive (was @ 22%) and the disk also passed the short and long Seatools test. No major improvement, unfortunately but I know doubt it's a HDD problem.
    Okay, it passed Seatools long test - that's good, but twenty-two percent fragmented on a new installation?

    I'd definitely try a clean install and see if that makes a difference.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 
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