Subscriber Leroy Terry (nice name!) wrote this week to ask about a computer problem he was having:
My Compaq Presario with XP Media Center Edition 2005 has started loading programs very slow.
Using PROCEXP.EXE I see the CPU runs at 90-100% most of the time. It shows Hardware interrupt using 70% of the CPU.
I have updated all drivers, several times. I have disconnected my cd/dvd drives along with my secondary hard drive.
I have found no help from the internet.
Thought you may have run across this problem and might know a solution.
I wrote back to Leroy to tell him that, based on his description of symptoms, I suspect that his primary hard drive is having problems. It could be problems reading some particular sectors of the drive, or the drive itself could be dying.
I suggested that this was a good time to migrate to a new drive — and advised him that many of the retail hard drives include migration software to move your C: to the new drive.
Unfortunately, this turned out to be the harbinger of doom for one of my drives.
I took a couple days of vacation this week, and one of my projects was to finish the hand-me-down upgrade of my old Windows XP machine. I brought it to Windows 7 and was able to hook my SATA drives directly to the motherboard instead of hooking them up via add-in interface cards.
That part went very smoothly.
However, after a couple of boots and an overnight run, I checked it only to find a problem. Windows told me that the S.M.A.R.T. monitoring built into one of my drives was reporting that the drive was in imminent danger of failing. Windows warned me to back up my data and not do anything else to the drive.
Well, I thought about Spinrite 6 and that it might save the day. Unfortunately, Spinrite’s recommendation was exactly the same — and it warned that Spinrite might push the drive into catastrophic failure. Ouch!
Fortunately, this was early enough in the day (I was on vacation that day) that I could order a new drive from Amazon and get overnight shipping. I had the drive by noon the next day — at a cost of $3.99 for shipping (I love that Amazon Prime service).
Sure enough, copying the data files has been a pain. Most of the time, they’ve copied, eventually. But, I’m seeing SATA II to SATA II drive copies running at 300K bytes per second, or less, instead of 20M bytes per second.
Unfortunately, I have about 1.7 Gigabytes of data (1,700 Megabytes) of files on the drive. Fortunately, most of them are really disposable, although I’d rather not lose them.
Hopefully I’ll be able to continue slowly copying the files…