Windows Wista Weirdness... (yes, I did it on purpose)

Discussion in 'PC Hardware, Software and Displays' started by Grall, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    I got my obnoxiously loud Dell XPS box working again by sticking in the original 2GB Nanya RAM sticks it came with, they're only 800MHz, but hey... Beggars can't be choosers.

    So it boots up, and the harddrives are grinding away...and grinding away, and grinding, and grinding and grinding. They kept grinding, filling up my physical RAM to a peak of about 93% until dropping back down to about 89%. Any action, like trying to get any actual work done, took at least 5-10 seconds of extra intensive grinding.

    So I decided I'd had just about enough of that nonsense, ran services.msc, disabled superfetch and stopped the service. Still the grinding persisted... It just would not stop!

    Anyway, windows update managed to finish despite that (even though I'd tried to stop it half an hour earlier while waiting to see if the grinding would go away on its own, so I restarted the PC (even though windows update never asked me to), logged back in...annnndd...

    Lo and behold. The grinding calmed itself down after about 15 seconds or so.

    God damn microsoft. Trust them to make something that's supposed to speed up/reduce disk access, only to run your performance right down the toilet. Even despite this, my memory useage is pegged at 1,0-1.11GB for just booting the system to the desktop with a minimal amount of resident programs. Basically there's just Security Essentials and nothing else, and I can't see in the task manager what it is that's eating such a horrendous amount of memory.

    I sat down and added together the allocated memory of most of the processes in the task manager, and the sum only amounted to less than half, maybe ~480MB or so (there was a dross of tiny processes at the tail end only using 2-3MB each which I never bothered to add).

    So where did the rest all go? Some invisible black hole, apparantly. Superfetch's revenge, I dunno.

    Anyone have any input to share here, please? I'm at a loss, and I'd rather not have to reinstall the whole damn OS (don't have a service pack CD, so I'd have to download tons of updates, reinstall WoW again with gigs of patches for that as well, and so on.)

    Humble thanks in advance. :)
     
  2. Squilliam

    Squilliam Beyond3d isn't defined yet
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    I thought it was better to actually use RAM rather than leave it idle...
     
  3. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    Yeah, you'd think that, but when it starts swapping for several seconds just to do the smallest thing you realize you're actually better off leaving your RAM sitting idle than letting MS manage its use... :roll:
     
  4. Davros

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  5. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    Hurm. It's still not well it would seem. I've had no less than 3 bluesceens in just a few hours, all different (seemingly almost random) error codes too, makes no sense. The mobo was replaced less than a year ago, now the RAM.

    Bum CPU maybe (although Intel chips are typically very reliable of course), or power supply's unreliable. Or the new mobo's crapped out. I've no idea what's wrong really, and I can't start swapping stuff out either because I've no spare components.

    I'm gonna run a memory test on it and see what it says, but likely unless it miraculously gets better I'm gonna have to scrap this thing. The components are all obsolete anyway; Core2 CPU, DDR2 RAM, 8800GTX vidcards, 320GB HDDs, BTX mobo, non-ATX size PSU, so I can't even re-use those bits. Blah!

    Maybe an OS reinstall really would help, but two of the bluescreens happened on reboot, mere moments or even just a single second after POST finished, when not much of the OS would realistically have had a chance to load. I ignored those two, hoping it would be quirks (yeah, right... Like that ever worked lol.)

    The third happened when the system sat working, heavily loaded, running the Boinc client. I went to the bathroom, came back, and there it was. Bluescreen. BCCode 50. Didn't bother to memorize/write down the others, don't think it'll make a difference since they're different ones every damn time.

    Typical! :mad:
     
  6. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    Had to disable System Restore too, as that fucker was also creating an ungodly amount of disk activity that seemingly was never-ending... A curse and a pox on all of MS's OS designers (and programmers) for their ability to create seemingly helpful features that does nothing except irritate, annoy and drag performance down into a bottomless pit.

    Dell PC running MS's built-in memory diagnostic now. We'll see what - if anything - turns up. It may be Nvidia's fault, as looking through the event log revealed at least two red exclamation mark errors in nvrd64.sys, and I recall our resident friend over at Intel had some less-than-kind words to say about NVs SATA controllers in particular... I may be somewhat inclined to agree with him on that at this point.
     
  7. Colourless

    Colourless Monochrome wench
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    Try this as it sound similar to a problem I once experienced:
    Stop the Windows Update Service
    Delete the C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution dir (and obviously everything in it)
    Restart the Windows Update Service
     
  8. Blazkowicz

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    I have no weirdnesses but yes ram usage is a bit frustrating, with the web browser using about 500MB and sometimes more. Now I only need to run a game to get max ram usage, whereas last year I could never fill the huge 2GB memory without Virtualbox.

    windows 7 runs pretty good with superfetch and indexing disabled but I miss the older US with barely over 100MB use after startup.
     
  9. Davros

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    Yep what exactly does win7 do that it needs 15 - 20 times the hdd space ?
     
  10. Otto Dafe

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    If you go to resource monitor->memory from the task manager you should be able to account for everything. If not it must be some kind of trojan/bot/virus. Is CPU usage reasonable? Something must be feeding the HD spaz. I know this goes without saying, but did you check the interface on the IDE controller? This used to happen with the 3 strikes you're in PIO mode in XP and older, I don't know if they fixed that. If not, you know a clean install only takes an hour, and then you can diagnose failing HW.
     
  11. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    What problem are you referring to, intensive, pervasive performance-debilitating disk access, or bluescreening on startup (and during use, *sigh*, apparantly related to SATA disk access which is depressing and potentially quite dangerous as it might wreck my file system...)? :)

    This PC has two different issues, or did anyway, until I turned off superfetch and system restore. Now it's just the bluescreening. When booting it up this morning I had one bluescreen as it was just about to display the login screen, and then after resetting it, another right after POST. It booted fine after that though, so I managed to download and re-install Nvidia's mobo/SATA driver package.

    Not sure if it'll do any good, but as the uninstall feature for the old installation was borked, at least maybe I'll be able to remove them now if I want to see how the system runs with just bog standard MS drivers.

    *Edit:
    I forgot to mention I tried your suggestion anyway btw even though the disk accesses calmed down after disabling the above mentioned services. There was about 680MB (!) of accumulated stuff in the folder in question... *sigh*

    The thing is, I had absolutely no issues whatsoever with superfetch, OR system restore, on this PC for the longest time. Like, a year plus. (Wow, such a long time, a year... Famous microsoft reliability! Our OS installs work for A WHOLE YEAR! :roll: Windows rot...) It was only after a while of disuse after I bought my current main rig (i7 based) that it started misbehaving like this.

    Yeah, CPU use was quite low, and the actual amounts of data transferred was also low, like 2-4MB/s according to the resource monitor. However due to the constant seeks back and forth across the disk surfaces it caused all other disk accesses to almost grind to a halt. Zoning into Dalaran on this box (back in the Lich King heyday) would take a minute, if not minutes, before everything had finished loading. Buildings and floors had lowest MIP level textures, players and mounts didn't display, my own character didn't display either, and so on. Was horrible.

    I was gonna say these are SATA HDDs, but then I remembered there's actually an IDE/ultra ATA drive attached too, which amongst other things houses the page file (carryover device in a swappable bay, from an even older Dell). Hang on, checking... No, the disk in question is running in UDMA 5 mode. But thanks for the suggestion!

    It only takes an hour if you discount the fifty-eleven reboots you need to do to patch it back up through windows update... Ugh, it's those that I dread the most. Not the actual reinstall process.
     
    #11 Grall, Apr 11, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2011
  12. Davros

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    did you just replace mboard without a o/s reinstall ?
     
  13. orangpelupa

    orangpelupa Elite Bug Hunter
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    hmm i didnt know if this will help or not...

    i have Windows 7 64bit Pro installed for many years since GF 8600 GT era.
    the windows have survived motherboard change, vga change and so on.

    but suddently it got weird performance issue (the PC keep "thinking" with blinking red led even though in idle desktop) and random BSOD like your Vista.
    then i installed Service Pack 1 on the windows 7.
    after that my PC still work ok even today.

    so maybe try reinstall Vista SP2 ? (just the .exe from microsoft)
     
  14. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    It was the exact same mobo, even down to the same hardware revision... Proprietary, purpose-built everything in that system, including entire chassis with indicators and front-panel connectors, power supply and so on. Windows never noticed the switch at all.
     
  15. Otto Dafe

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    Yeah I know it. I just think you're gonna have to bite the bullet. You know as well as I do that frequent BSODs, sporadic HW failure means kernel/driver problems. I expect you also know that those tier 1 OEMs like Dell build rigs with PSUs that have like ~5W of fault tolerance. If your lucky it's SW, if it's the HDD or PSU, well...

    So find a nice audiobook or something, get soused, and reinstall the OS.
     
  16. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    One of the many things that SSDs solve is Windows lag caused by it's weird swapping tantrums. Just put Windows on a SSD (60GB say) and be happy (and you will be).
     
  17. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    Yeah, I would if I had the money for something like that right now; I have an Intel SLC drive in my main rig and it's blazing fast. Anyway, 60 is too tight for Vista + WoW. They won't fit together unfortunately due to Vista's ridiculous install size (and WoW is no lightweight either these days...)
     
  18. Davros

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    Do you have enough ram to run a ramdrive ?
     
  19. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    No, only 2 gigs in that box right now. I got 2 more sticks of RAM, but they're only 533MHz, and I don't want to go mix and match, the darn thing's unstable enough as it is.

    Besides, original Vista's install program crashes on some/many/all PCs with Nvidia NF680i chipsets like mine if you got more than 2GB, so if I'm to do a reinstall I'd better wait until afterwards.

    The thing is, the hardware's probably FUBARd for some reason or other, so it works for as long as it works (and while it works it tends to bluescreen randomly when heavily loaded), so it's no real point in buying SSDs and RAM and stuff for it, since it's probably gonna keel over anyway.

    I ran SETI on it yesterday, and with all four cores and both GPUs running it crashed twice with different BSODs both times. Depressing.
     
  20. Davros

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    might be worth your while going back to xp if you have a disc and no real need for vista
    ps: have you tested for stability with a linux live cd
     
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