Another strange problem with an almost-new PC.
Another high-end PC, that was taken back to the original manufacturer (a long distance away) twice… first to fix a faulty video card and power supply, then they are unable to fix this strange computer slowdown.
The PC uses an Intel mobo, a quick, late-model NVidia display card, a quad-core intel CPU, a WD5000AADS drive, W7-64bit, and a good power supply.
Its only got WoW and Norton running on it.
Everything is less than 6 months old, so there shouldn’t be any problems.
Whats unusual, is that the system boots normally, and at some point, will suddenly start running very slow…
I also note that the hard drive light is on – solid, while the slowdown happens.
The only other symptom is that the PC is “usually” very slow to shutdown… about 5 minutes… where I would expect about 10 seconds!
So, my first guess is that its a hardware fault.
I run various RAM tests (including the built-in W7 RAM test)… no fault after an overnight run.
I look at the hard drive SMART settings: everything looks normal… a clean bill of health.
Next: stress test the Video card and the CPU… but the stress test runs normally.
OK, what about the W7 event viewer.
I can see the graphics card fault from about 2 months ago, but the only other error is a warning that the system took a long time to shut down… but no specifics.
Next, I replace the video card… but the slowdown is still there.
At one point, while trying to start the task manager, I get the following error:
Failure to display security and shutdown options… The logon process was unable to display security and logon options when Ctrl + Alt + Delete was pressed.
Now thats a doozey! It must take a lot to stop task manager from starting!
A virus scan finds nothing wrong.
So I try updating the BIOS. Nope.
Ah! the jokers who setup the PC installed W7 with the hard drive in IDE mode.
I switch to AHCI mode, and everything looks fine for a while, but the slowdown soon re-appears.
I start clutching at straws, and disable wmpnetwk.exe (it seemed to be using a lot of CPU at one stage).
On a forum somewhere, I see a vague mention of replacing a faulty drive…
I figure: its worth a shot… even though the drive doesn’t give the typical signs of failure, many things are pointing that way.
So I clone the 500Gb WD5000AADS drive to a 250Gb Seagate.
The clone process works perfectly (many faulty drives are just not cloneable).
After installing the 250Gb drive, the slowness just disappears!
I am completely amazed that a drive can have such a “quiet” fault, that its almost impossible to test for it without first replacing the whole drive.