Posts Tagged ‘win10’

Slow Disk Access with Dell Latitude E5550 in Windows 10 – Hopefully Resolved

Friday, January 15th, 2021

A quick note here on what I hope is a fix to this laptop that has been annoying me ever since I did the free upgrade to Windows 10 a couple years ago.

This laptop ran extremely well for me under Windows 7. After the upgrade to Windows 10, I would get occasional cases where the hard drive would slow to a crawl for minutes at a time. Usually, it would recover, but, sometimes I would get a BSOD, and other times I would give up and do a manual hard power-off (not recommended!). It generally correlated to the amount of disk access at any given time, more disk use, more likely to get hung up.

The hard drive in question is a 1TB Seagate SHDD (one of those drives with an 8GB Flash “cache” on spinning rust) – this was bought at a time when 1TB SSD’s would have been over $300. It’s possible that I manually upgraded Intel Rapid Store drivers at some point.

Over time this got worse, but, I suspect this is because web pages have become ever more complex – and web browsing, with easily 20 or 30 tabs at a time is very common for me. For the last couple weeks, I was getting complete failures every other day, and minute long pauses every few hours.

I uninstalled many miscellaneous software items I no longer use, or never used. I moved my web browser caches and profiles to the SD Card (which has been great, and deserves it’s own blog post) but didn’t stop the problems. I did NOT re-install – that’s far too much work on my day to day computer to do on a whim.

In the end (fingers crossed), what seems to have worked for the last few days is to switch the hard drive from RAID to ACHI mode in the BIOS. WARNING: Windows 10 will freak out, you need to get Safe Mode started for the drivers to reconfigure for this change.

Some combination of search terms in Google lead me to this thread: https://superuser.com/questions/1152901/hard-disk-suddenly-is-extremely-slow

That lead to this interesting thread here on WHY most Dell laptops of this era had the disks configured to RAID mode: https://www.dell.com/community/XPS/Pros-Cons-AHCI-vs-Raid-On-XPS13-9300-NVMe/td-p/7636984

For many people, it’s better to follow this to force Windows into Safe Mode on the first reboot after making the BIOS change, but I just waited for Windows 10 to freak out, and then worked my way through prompts to Safe Mode.

UPDATE: I’m not 100% sure this worked. I had stupid crawling HDD access again. I am now suspicious of a slow memory leak that slowly grows the pagefile.