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Old 03-29-2015, 03:18 PM   #1
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Need Laptop Help!!

I have a Dell Inspiron laptop that is about 8 months old that is running windows 8.1. It has an I-5 processor with 6 gb of memory. Every so often, the disk active light will go on and not flicker at all and the cursor will freeze. The disk active light will show a solid, steady light. Any ideas as to why this happens and what I can do to correct the issue?
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Old 03-30-2015, 11:02 AM   #2
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Buy an Apple use the PC for a wheel chock. ;-)
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Old 03-30-2015, 11:11 AM   #3
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The light just means the CPU is accessing the hard drive...so probably a process running. (I don't know if you know this, but Microsoft releases their monthly patches and updates the second Tuesday of the month. For March, these were quite a few.)

Anyway, when it does this, again, hit your Cntrl-Alt-Del keys at the same time, then click on "Start Task Manager" and then look at "processes" to see what is running so much. (If you click on memory, it will show the highest user at the time.) This will give you an idea of what's running so much.

Does the cursor freeze for good or does it come back after a while?
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Old 03-30-2015, 11:23 AM   #4
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I was thinking an update might be pushing down also but you have to be connected to the web at the time for it to happen. Are you running anyone's virus software or MS Essentials?
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Old 03-30-2015, 02:53 PM   #5
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I have McAfee security software and the cursor will free up when the disk active light either goes off almost completely or it starts to flicker. When I do the cntl-alt-del and bring up task manager, I don't see anything that is really hogging memory but the disk utilization screen shows 100%. I'm not really sure if there is a security scan running or if any updates are being installed.
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Old 03-30-2015, 03:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paulie Boy View Post
Buy an Apple use the PC for a wheel chock. ;-)
hate to admit it but that thought crossed my mind as well (Sorry Tom!)


To address the question...it could be a update downloading (Are you on a slow WIFI?) or it could be your hard drive indexing. In modern laptops, the hard drive is the weakest link in the chain Given that your Laptop is relatively new, you might want to consider investing $300 or so dollars and "upgrading" to a Solid State Hard Drive.


As far as secure backups go - Amazon just announced a unlimited (YES, unlimited!) Cloud Storage plan for $60/year. Store ANYTHING, movies, videos, music, photos & files.


BTW, if you are a Amazon Prime member, you already have *unlimited* cloud storage for your Photos
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Old 03-30-2015, 03:15 PM   #7
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Windows is famous for pushing updates and they CAN do about as much harm as good.

Example. MY home PC- the one I'm typing this message on runs windows 7 pro.
Last December windows pushed an "update" that had a bug in it. Suddenly windows
started reporting it was "a pirated copy" and not valid. After THREE years of being
valid and just fine - suddenly it's not valid???

Google windows not valid error and you will find many many articles about how this
was bogus and windows fault.

My son is an electrical engineer. He worked at Best Buy all during college at the
repair desk. He got computers all the time where windows had pushed an update
and suddenly the computer ran slow or not at all. After he cleaned them up and
got them running again he always recommended to shut off windows updates.

He still says that. Shut off windows updates!! They can wreck your system and
they are CPU hogs that block you from doing your work.
If you are on the road ABSOLUTELY shut off updates as they are wifi hogs too.

IF you absolutely must update shut them off and once in a great while do a full
system backup and then turn them on and let them update then shut them off
again!

If you have a good anti virus and have your firewall set you will be fine.
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Old 03-30-2015, 03:30 PM   #8
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Not sure apple is any better. I have 2 friends with apple computers and both lost their email to some bug. It took one of them a full day on the phone with a tech in India to get the issue resolved.

Also, I have 50/50 mbps for up and down load.
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Old 03-30-2015, 04:06 PM   #9
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As an IT professional, I'd just like to remind everyone that there's somewhere from 40,00 to 80,000 new malware that comes out daily thus the need for constant updates for operation systems, firewalls, and antivirus software to help combat it. (An estimated 60% of computers in the US already have some form of malware already on them.)

But if you do travel a lot, it's a good idea to turn off the auto-download feature in Windows updates but never turn off the antivirus updater.
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Old 03-30-2015, 04:35 PM   #10
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Is you computer overheating? Have you used low compressed air to evacuate dust from inside....just thinking out loud....
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Old 03-30-2015, 04:36 PM   #11
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Is it a standard hard disc (spinning) or solid state hard drive. It could be the disk protection software is sensing movement shutting the hard drive off (fall protection)

I look after 250 Macs, Apple/Adobe CC of late is pushing security updates every couple of weeks it seems. The Macs are really no better than the 200 PC's. I would dump Macafee, I find all the internet scare ware essentials cause more problems. Download Windows Defender (for free) and turn your firewall on. Run all Microsoft updates and don't install any freeware or About toolbars. With Windows 8.1 there are many apps that constantly access the intrnet to update content, delete ones you never use.
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Old 03-30-2015, 04:37 PM   #12
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The odds are fairly good it is when you are accessing something that requires Flash/Adobe/PDF.
Make sure you Flash is up to date or to 'test" it, turn off Flash in your browser and see if your problem goes away.
i have had the exact same issue.
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Old 04-01-2015, 07:36 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmmar View Post
I have McAfee security software and the cursor will free up when the disk active light either goes off almost completely or it starts to flicker. When I do the cntl-alt-del and bring up task manager, I don't see anything that is really hogging memory but the disk utilization screen shows 100%. I'm not really sure if there is a security scan running or if any updates are being installed.
Tom, McAfee is good, but not if you just have their low end Anti Virus software. You should used a full Internet Security version that has Anti Virus, Firewall and Malware protection. Hope you are using a complete, robust program. I am not personally familiar with McAfee and perhaps others can offer guidance.
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Old 04-01-2015, 07:52 AM   #14
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I was a loyal McAfee user for years...dating way back to the BBS days on DOS 5 (or whatever it was). That changed in recent years and I have since started using AVG. I think McAfee was just killing my system to the point that it was sometimes unresponsive. Just like Ford vs. Chevy, all will have their own valid opinion.
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Old 04-01-2015, 07:57 AM   #15
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If the unit is locking, something big is happening in the background. Use Cltr-Alt-Esc to open the Task Manager to see what processes are hogging memory (under processes).

A real big problem is malware (viruses, and spyware) so a look at the following site may help.

Bleeping Computer - Technical Support and Computer Help
Look for MalwarBytes, SuperAntiSpyware, and ComboFix when all else fails.
If you are adventurous, try the Junkware Removal tool before ComboFix.
If you are cautious, talk to your local PC shop (get recomendations) and have them check the unit for issues.


And stay away from fruit! Apple is a nice product but has such a small market share now that the cost of applications and support don't make it worthwhile (IMHO).
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Old 04-01-2015, 07:59 AM   #16
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Hi tmmar you need more ram memory installed in the laptop. you have the lowest amount of ram install in the laptop right now to run 8.1. RAM is (random access memory) short term memory that the laptop uses to think with. Any good computer store or repair shop should be able to install more for you.

Hope this helps Tim
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Old 04-01-2015, 09:11 AM   #17
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Tim/arfbee,
I have 6 gb of memory installed in my machine and run malwarebytes and superantispyware as well as glaryutilities every night. I also run defrag every 2 weeks or so. Not sure what my next steps will be.
Thanks for the suggestions.
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Old 04-01-2015, 09:45 AM   #18
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How full is your hard drive? Windows likes to use the hard drive for extra memory while running (especially if you have a lot of apps running.)

If you have a spare thumb/flash drive handy, it may be worhtwhile to try this trick:

Using memory in your storage device to speed up your computer - Windows Help
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Old 04-01-2015, 09:49 AM   #19
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Hi tmmar don't think it its malware. it sounds like you are running security on the PC right now and you are defraging the hard drive. I believe it comes down to the RAM memory or short term memory. There is not enough of it to hold amount of information that the laptop is tiring to process. RAM memory is not part of the hard drive that stores information in the laptop. It is memory chips that hold information for a short amount of time so the laptop processor can put the information in the right places on your hard drive. If there is not enough room it will cause a log jam of the information the laptop is working with slowing or freezing up the laptop. More can generally be add to the laptop at a PC or rehab store.

Hope this helps Tim
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Old 04-01-2015, 10:03 AM   #20
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According to Microsoft, the minimum amount of RAM for Windows 8.1 is 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit) Unless you're running a lot of high-intensity programs, 6GB should be plenty.

It won't hurt adding more but I've read studies that show the difference in performance between 4GB and 8GB was only about 3%.
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