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  #1    
Old January 28th, 2013, 07:08 AM
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My laptop's 5400 RPM disk drive feels... lethargic during boots and app loads, and I see some freezing during first loads of applications after boot.

Should I replace the disk drive? If so, what should I get? A 7200 RPM disk drive, a hybrid disk drive, or a pure SSD, knowing that the 750 GB drive is currently filled with over 210 GB of data, and I'm actually looking to improve boot times and app load times only. Factor cost and the fact that there is only one standard SATA drive bay (9.5 mm high), no PCI-e slots, and a non-user-removable optical drive (I need it anyway).
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Old January 28th, 2013, 08:50 AM
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7200 RPM is going to drain your battery quicker, everything else is going to have the price per unit size be way off. I'd say stick with what you have, maybe use task manager to see what things are doing the most IO at startup and decide if those things are necessary or not.
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Old January 28th, 2013, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by twocows View Post
7200 RPM is going to drain your battery quicker, everything else is going to have the price per unit size be way off. I'd say stick with what you have, maybe use task manager to see what things are doing the most IO at startup and decide if those things are necessary or not.
That's probably one of the things that sounds easy enough on paper.

I suppose I should start fooling around in MSCONFIG, but there are certain OEM programs that are loaded on start-up to ensure media-key functionality and the hard-disk parking mechanisms work properly, and once I disable it, somehow, it'll stay broken even if re-enabled, so it's a bit of a tough thing.

I'll try to see what I can do with it, though. Keep in mind that application load times after a complete boot still probably stinks.

EDIT: Huh. Even after doing a diagnostic boot, it boots awfully slow. And even when I cherry-pick my apps to load, it still takes a long time - over three minutes - and I had to System Restore the missing functionality since using Normal Startup did nothing with them.

I think I'm going to contemplate getting a SSD or a hybrid.
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Last edited by Twiggy; January 28th, 2013 at 11:02 AM.
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Old January 28th, 2013, 03:48 PM
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Copy over any files you want to keep to a separate drive (read, NOT software), format the hdd, re-install windows. Don't buy a new HDD until after you've tried this, unless you can't be bothered and have spare cash to throw away.

Also simply buying a faster, larger HDD will do little to improve the speed of your PC. If it still contains a 5400rpm then you'll most likely also need a new CPU and possible PSU.

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but there are certain OEM programs that are loaded on start-up to ensure media-key functionality and the hard-disk parking mechanisms work properly
Hard disks don't require software to work properly. It's likely that it's just clogged up with unnecessary software and drivers which is causing your PC to run slow.
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Old January 28th, 2013, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by ♪Twiggy♪ View Post
That's probably one of the things that sounds easy enough on paper.

I suppose I should start fooling around in MSCONFIG,
Don't use MSCONFIG, use Autoruns like I said. Unticking an option in autoruns disables it for the next boot only, but you can also delete it permanently from startup as well. MSCONFIG is for diagnostics which you can do just as well with autoruns by disabling on a one-time basis. And it's easy to forget and leave diagnostic or selective startup on.

Quote:
but there are certain OEM programs that are loaded on start-up to ensure media-key functionality and the hard-disk parking mechanisms work properly, and once I disable it, somehow, it'll stay broken even if re-enabled, so it's a bit of a tough thing.
If you don't recognize something, don't disable it until you look up what it does. That's basic.

Like I said, you need to check which things are doing the most IO on startup. You can do this easily with task manager; start it up (ctrl+shift+esc brings it up immediately), make sure "IO Writes" and "IO Write Bytes" (and maybe their read variants, too) are selected under "select columns" in the view menu, and sort it by those columns. They're both cumulative, so you can see which processes are writing to (or reading from) disk the most. That can give you an idea of what's slowing things down.

If it's "svchost.exe," that's a bit tougher, since it's a service that's doing it. You can right click it and click "go to services," that'll show you which services are hosted by that particular process (there are usually multiple instances of svchost.exe running so that if one crashes, not every service on the system will crash). From there, though, it could be any of the services that are highlighted. And some will skew the numbers: Superfetch, for example, is run when idle and does a lot of writes and reads that let programs start faster.
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PM me if you have computer troubles. I work in IT for a living and can probably solve your problems. My rate is $expensive/hr, but I'm still cheaper than Creep Squad and, unlike them, will actually get the job done or let you know if I can't.

Quote:
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
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There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
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Old January 28th, 2013, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Vendak View Post
Copy over any files you want to keep to a separate drive (read, NOT software), format the hdd, re-install windows. Don't buy a new HDD until after you've tried this, unless you can't be bothered and have spare cash to throw away.

Also simply buying a faster, larger HDD will do little to improve the speed of your PC. If it still contains a 5400rpm then you'll most likely also need a new CPU and possible PSU.

How about once?

Hard disks don't require software to work properly. It's likely that it's just clogged up with unnecessary software and drivers which is causing your PC to run slow.
Um? This is a laptop. Laptop drives almost always should stay within the current power limits of the SATA power connections alone.

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Originally Posted by twocows View Post
Don't use MSCONFIG, use Autoruns like I said. Unticking an option in autoruns disables it for the next boot only, but you can also delete it permanently from startup as well. MSCONFIG is for diagnostics which you can do just as well with autoruns by disabling on a one-time basis. And it's easy to forget and leave diagnostic or selective startup on.

If you don't recognize something, don't disable it until you look up what it does. That's basic.

Like I said, you need to check which things are doing the most IO on startup. You can do this easily with task manager; start it up (ctrl+shift+esc brings it up immediately), make sure "IO Writes" and "IO Write Bytes" (and maybe their read variants, too) are selected under "select columns" in the view menu, and sort it by those columns. They're both cumulative, so you can see which processes are writing to (or reading from) disk the most. That can give you an idea of what's slowing things down.

If it's "svchost.exe," that's a bit tougher, since it's a service that's doing it. You can right click it and click "go to services," that'll show you which services are hosted by that particular process (there are usually multiple instances of svchost.exe running so that if one crashes, not every service on the system will crash). From there, though, it could be any of the services that are highlighted. And some will skew the numbers: Superfetch, for example, is run when idle and does a lot of writes and reads that let programs start faster.
Where did you mention Autoruns in this thread? Anyway, I'll take a look-see on it.

The problem: Well, since the boot itself is taking so long, it'll be a while before I even see the desktop, so there's that.

Maybe I should just live with it.

EDIT: So I just fiddled with Autoruns. Just to be safe, I made a restore point (which will come in handy).

Now, after removing a lot of entries that I deem unwanted, and also after clearing out temporary files and Prefetch, well, I gave the system five reboots. :3

94 seconds for a complete boot is pretty OK. Guess I can put the purchase plan into the back-burner for now.
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Last edited by Twiggy; January 29th, 2013 at 06:59 AM.
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  #7    
Old January 29th, 2013, 08:57 AM
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Where did you mention Autoruns in this thread? Anyway, I'll take a look-see on it.
I must have typed it out and deleted it in my earlier post.

Quote:
94 seconds for a complete boot is pretty OK. Guess I can put the purchase plan into the back-burner for now.
Good to hear.
__________________
Doctors Without Borders: one of the few charity groups you can rely on to actually do real good in the world.

PM me if you have computer troubles. I work in IT for a living and can probably solve your problems. My rate is $expensive/hr, but I'm still cheaper than Creep Squad and, unlike them, will actually get the job done or let you know if I can't.

Quote:
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken, unsourced

Quote:
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
- Isaac Asimov, Column in Newsweek (21 January 1980) [source]

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  #8    
Old January 29th, 2013, 09:34 AM
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It all depends on what you plan to use your laptop for.
If you're going to store a lot of data on your laptop, then I would probably avoid a Solid State drive as if you wish to have a larger capacity then they will be very expensive (almost the price of a new laptop.)
However if you use your laptop for JUST general use such as Internet browsing, Office work etc, then you could easily get a 80-120GB solid state drive which will make your laptop quicker !

Here are few examples:
Samsung SSD $100
OCZ 128GB $120

These prices are without postage and packaging

If you want a HDD to store a variety of music and movies, then you will probabley need a 500GB+ hard disc drive which I'd recommend Samsung, Western Digital and Seagate.
Don't bother with Hybrids, 10,000+ RPM drives as they usually will just break on you. You may as well go all in, one or the other.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by ♪Twiggy♪ View Post
Um? This is a laptop. Laptop drives almost always should stay within the current power limits of the SATA power connections alone.
Um? Which is why you may need a replacement if you were to suddenly jump from 5400 to 7200 and get a new CPU. Depends on the laptop.

For general usage there really is no reason to get an SSD or hybrid, if you sort out your HDD properly then there's no reason for it to be giving bad latency.

Last edited by Gold warehouse; January 29th, 2013 at 01:10 PM.
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Old January 31st, 2013, 11:03 PM
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Um? Which is why you may need a replacement if you were to suddenly jump from 5400 to 7200 and get a new CPU. Depends on the laptop.

For general usage there really is no reason to get an SSD or hybrid, if you sort out your HDD properly then there's no reason for it to be giving bad latency.
Yeah, I sorted things out with my disk's autostart items and now I'm booting in 74 seconds not counting POST. I guess this is much better now, huh?

Speaking of replacing the laptop, you don't need to for almost every laptop out there if you're using laptop drives or SSDs: their power consumption should be still within connector limits. 2.5" drives don't drain as much power as their 3.5" cousins.
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  #11    
Old February 7th, 2013, 04:13 PM
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I just ordered a 120 GB SSD on eBay. I lucked out in the auction and got it for $86. I have two external hard drives (both Seagate, 2TB and 3TB for more than I could possibly want to store). I also ripped out hard drives out of laptops that broke down (took them apart, sold some, recycled others). I bought enclosures/USB adapters for them and now they're fully external hard drives. I'm giving two away to friends and keeping one for school files.

I recommend a setup like this one. Also, hard drives are slow as **** when compared to any other piece of hardware in your computer.

If you need a lot of storage for things like gaming, keep Windows 7 settings to bare bones (SSD's don't need pagefiles or anything like that), and just use an external hard drive like I described. Hybrid drives seem rather pointless except for boot (other apps will still be really slow). Higher RPM disks have a minimal increase in performace (especially when fragmented) and get hotter and eat more battery.


If you stay with HDD:
You also don't need Autoruns or anything like that. Msconfig is more than enough for disabling most bloatware. I recommend Ccleaner to do a deep clean of your system (including registry and files), and then use Microsoft Security Essentials as your antivirus/antispyware. Then delete or move to external drive anything that doesn't need to sit in your computer. Then defrag and wipe the free space in your hard drive with Ccleaner or the cipher thing in Windows (1 pass is enough unless you have something really bad, then use 3 pass). It doesn't get much cleaner and lighter than that.

It also helps to use ligher versions of annoyingly slow and bloated software. For example, use WinAMP (can sync iPods) instead of iTunes. And use Foxit Reader instead of Adobe. Paint.NET can do most things Photoshop does, etc..
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Last edited by InMooseWeTrust; February 7th, 2013 at 04:36 PM.
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Old February 7th, 2013, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by InMooseWeTrust View Post
I just ordered a 120 GB SSD on eBay. I lucked out in the auction and got it for $86. I have two external hard drives (both Seagate, 2TB and 3TB for more than I could possibly want to store). I also ripped out hard drives out of laptops that broke down (took them apart, sold some, recycled others). I bought enclosures/USB adapters for them and now they're fully external hard drives. I'm giving two away to friends and keeping one for school files.

I recommend a setup like this one. Also, hard drives are slow as **** when compared to any other piece of hardware in your computer.

If you need a lot of storage for things like gaming, keep Windows 7 settings to bare bones (SSD's don't need pagefiles or anything like that), and just use an external hard drive like I described. Hybrid drives seem rather pointless except for boot (other apps will still be really slow). Higher RPM disks have a minimal increase in performace (especially when fragmented) and get hotter and eat more battery.


If you stay with HDD:
You also don't need Autoruns or anything like that. Msconfig is more than enough for disabling most bloatware. I recommend Ccleaner to do a deep clean of your system (including registry and files), and then use Microsoft Security Essentials as your antivirus/antispyware. Then delete or move to external drive anything that doesn't need to sit in your computer. Then defrag and wipe the free space in your hard drive with Ccleaner or the cipher thing in Windows (1 pass is enough unless you have something really bad, then use 3 pass). It doesn't get much cleaner and lighter than that.

It also helps to use ligher versions of annoyingly slow and bloated software. For example, use WinAMP (can sync iPods) instead of iTunes. And use Foxit Reader instead of Adobe. Paint.NET can do most things Photoshop does, etc..
1. msconfig is a diagnostic utility. Microsoft themselves recommends against using it as a permanent solution. Autoruns is a small utility put out by Sysinternals (which is owned by Microsoft) that is designed as a permanent solution.
2. CCleaner is for freeing up hard drive space, it's not going to make anything "run faster."
3. If you leave your computer on overnight most nights and you're using Windows Vista or newer, it defrags automatically as necessary. Doing a manual defrag is just thrashing your hard drive for no good reason, which will cause it to fail sooner.
4. The only time you're really bottlenecked by IO is at startup or when performing file operations (copy/move/search). There's no reason a typical consumer should want an SSD. They fail faster, they cost more, and they store much less data.

Also, with regards to startup times, you should rarely need to hard boot anyway. If it's a laptop, put it in suspend/sleep as necessary. If it's a desktop, just leave it running with the monitor off. That'll give it a chance to do idle optimization anyway.
__________________
Doctors Without Borders: one of the few charity groups you can rely on to actually do real good in the world.

PM me if you have computer troubles. I work in IT for a living and can probably solve your problems. My rate is $expensive/hr, but I'm still cheaper than Creep Squad and, unlike them, will actually get the job done or let you know if I can't.

Quote:
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken, unsourced

Quote:
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
- Isaac Asimov, Column in Newsweek (21 January 1980) [source]

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