Win7 task scheduler....

2Tired2Tango

Tech Monkey
Gees, I'm almost afraid to ask ... but....

I've just set up an HTPC system with Win7 (against my better judgement) and the disk drive is thrashing continuously. At this rate I'd give it 6 months to live and the constant drive light activity, right in this guy's livingroom is plenty annoying... I've already shut down Windows Search and Windows Defender (the two prime culprits)... the rest seems to be coming from a bunch of crap running in Task Scheduler...

Looking at the task list there are a number of things I've disabled (the "report to microsoft" stuff especially!).... but it's still thrashing away...

Soooo....
What is the consequence of totally disabling the Win7 Task Scheduler?

(And, no, this isn't a pounce on the old gummer thread...OK.)
 
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Rob Williams

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Moderator
Hm, that's a good question. To be honest, I thought the task scheduler was one thing that couldn't be disabled (as in, Windows just disallows it). I agree on the tasks though, it's absurd. I looked at it last night when I was gaming to see why my game was lagging, and the amount of stuff running was insane. I'm running a fairly fast quad-core and 8GB of RAM, but even so, that's way too much crap to be running at any given time.

The services I tend to disable with each install is search, defender, firewall, security center nags, the little flag in the systray that explains potential issues (forget the real name at the moment) and also updates.

I am sure you already know of this site, but Black Viper has a rather exhaustive list of what can and can't be disabled:

http://www.blackviper.com/Windows_7/servicecfg.htm
http://www.blackviper.com/Windows_7/supertweaks.htm
 

2Tired2Tango

Tech Monkey
The services I tend to disable with each install is search, defender, firewall, security center nags, the little flag in the systray that explains potential issues (forget the real name at the moment) and also updates.

I am sure you already know of this site, but Black Viper has a rather exhaustive list of what can and can't be disabled:

http://www.blackviper.com/Windows_7/servicecfg.htm
http://www.blackviper.com/Windows_7/supertweaks.htm


Thanks Rob... In fact I hadn't found Black viper's site but will check it out as soon as I finish this.

I have all those services disabled... and more. It's still beating this little laptop drive to death.

Actually, You can totally disable the Task Scheduler with a simple registry hack...
In Regedit path into ...

Hkey_Local_Machine\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Schedule

Find the Start option and set it to 4 (disabled) or 2 (automatic)... 3 is manual start, FWIW.

I tried it and it gets the disk light down to a short blip about 3 times every 5 seconds but being still somewhat unfamiliar with Win7, I do wonder if there are any unforseen side effects of doing this. There are two strong reasons I want to shut this thing down...

1) SPYWARE ... about half the timed functions in the list are aggregators and filters that send crap off to microsoft, invisibly over the internet. Legal copy or not, what my friend does with his computer is flat out none of their business.

2) Disk thrashing.... While it's true that not all services run at once and most run at low priorities... watching that drive light flashing constantly and listening to it thrash (with ear on case) is massively disconcerting... especially in a living room darkened for a movie. Under XP the thing just sat there, like it's turned off, until we asked it to do something...

I did manage one thing that might be useful, even if this whole bright idea goes south... The attached ZIP has a copy of my System Manager Console, (MMC aggregate) updated for Win7....
 

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2Tired2Tango

Tech Monkey
If you need the black viper link... http://www.blackviper.com/Windows_7/servicecfg.htm

As for disk thrashing... you checked the indexing service and windows search? They're a pain to stop, so most just leave it, it'll stop once it finishes indexing.

Rob gave me the Black Viper links and I have them dowloaded as guidance for the rest of this messy project.

The indexing and search services are very easy to stop... Just go into services and select "Windows Search"... stop the service and set it to disabled. It won't run again until you re-enable it.

But even with ....

Windows Search
Automatic Updates
Windows Defender
Task Scheduler
SSDP Discovery
Windows Backup
Home Group Listener
Home Group Provider
Disk Defragmenter
Distributed Link Tracking
Network List Service
Shell Hardware Detection
Volume Shadow Copy


... all stopped the darned thing STILL thrashes the drive...

It's something of a mystery....

In XP it's the SSDP Discovery and Content Indexer that thrash the drive... but not in Win 7... Weird stuff.


(Check the attachment to my message to Rob (#3 in the thread) it makes all this a lot simpler to manage....)
 
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2Tired2Tango

Tech Monkey
Ok... more information on this....

Watching Resource Monitor I see constant disk activity from SvcHost (Local Network Restricted)... it's constantly writing out two 0 byte files lastalive0.dat and lastalive1.dat

Anybody know what that's about?
 

b1lk1

Tech Monkey
There has to be some other issue. My laptop has 7 installed and I don't have anything sdisabled. My HD is hardly ever doing anything unless it is being asked to. I have 87 processes running as I type this which includes everything MS installs as well as a disk defragger and A/V software and so on. I'd look and see if the thing is indexing even though you are trying to kill that. That is usually the only thing that will really beat a drive up in my experience.
 

2Tired2Tango

Tech Monkey
There has to be some other issue. My laptop has 7 installed and I don't have anything sdisabled. My HD is hardly ever doing anything unless it is being asked to. I have 87 processes running as I type this which includes everything MS installs as well as a disk defragger and A/V software and so on. I'd look and see if the thing is indexing even though you are trying to kill that. That is usually the only thing that will really beat a drive up in my experience.

I'm beginning to agree with you... shutting stuff down isn't solving this problem, even a little bit. I'm beginning to think I should go "VCR" on it and just put a piece of black tape over the LED. More realistically I may just end up putting XP back into it...

Nothing annoys me more than a flashing light that just doesn't need to be flashing... The whole room flashes red along with the cursed LED... ain't that gonna be fun for watching a movie?
 
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b1lk1

Tech Monkey
Yeah, your friend REALLY needs to take your advice and stick to XP. There is no logical reason to run 7 or Vista on a HTPC since it offers nothing that XP cannot deliver. I hate it when people do not listen to the advice from system builders and then regret their decisions after.

THat light must be a HUGE distraction and after Googling this issue it seems to be a common Vista/7 issue anyways. Tell them "XP or no guaranty".
 

2Tired2Tango

Tech Monkey
Yeah, your friend REALLY needs to take your advice and stick to XP. There is no logical reason to run 7 or Vista on a HTPC since it offers nothing that XP cannot deliver. I hate it when people do not listen to the advice from system builders and then regret their decisions after.

THat light must be a HUGE distraction and after Googling this issue it seems to be a common Vista/7 issue anyways. Tell them "XP or no guaranty".

Y'know I just don't know what goes through some of these people's minds... Whoever designed that case didn't have the first clue about lighting or distractions in a home theatre environment... High intensity LEDS are for flashlights, not HTPC cases. But even with regular LEDs, it's still gonna be blinky light in a dark room...

Put the two together and....the system's at home on my workbench now, so it will get XP and a full checkout before he gets it back. I'll even put a couple of resistors in line with those LEDs for him, free of charge...

Oh well... at least I got a free home cooked supper out of the deal (steak and taters with gravey!)
 

Tharic-Nar

Senior Editor
Staff member
Moderator
The reason i said Indexing is a pain to stop is because disabling the service actually doesn't do anything, since another service can just re-activate it, even with XP it's still a problem. Only way i found it to work is to go to each hard drive properties and uncheck the Allow Indexing option; it comes up with a prompt of if you want to apply to all sub folders as well, then ok it. Takes ages on a large hard drive since it applies the no index flag to every damn file (why can't disable index just 'work'). It's a one off thing, but hey, it gets it done. As to whether this works on Vista/7, no clue....

If you haven't done the search already on lastalive....

To change the interval setting, modify TimeStampInterval in:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Reliability

Set the number to 0 to disable - each number equal to number of minutes between delays.
 

Kougar

Techgage Staff
Staff member
It is definitely annoying that WIndows 7 routinely thrashes disks as much as it does, but generally a week or two after an install it seems to stop. The OS definitely needs a better program that shows what is causing or instigating CPU/GPU/RAM/HDD/NIC activity and why.

I assume you already tried going to the Resource Monitor, HDD tab, and sorting all tasks by HDD usage? It should show you which one is behind the activity there.

For Svchost.exe, try this to figure out what process is calling it: http://blogs.howtogeek.com/mysticge...actly-what-each-svchostexe-instance-is-doing/
 

2Tired2Tango

Tech Monkey
The reason i said Indexing is a pain to stop is because disabling the service actually doesn't do anything, since another service can just re-activate it, even with XP it's still a problem. Only way i found it to work is to go to each hard drive properties and uncheck the Allow Indexing option; it comes up with a prompt of if you want to apply to all sub folders as well, then ok it. Takes ages on a large hard drive since it applies the no index flag to every damn file (why can't disable index just 'work'). It's a one off thing, but hey, it gets it done. As to whether this works on Vista/7, no clue....

In XP my choice was to use NLITE and the indexing service never hits the hard disk... You can't start it if it isn't there. I also know about the checbox thing and use it quite routinely when setting up new drives or doing formats. Doing that on a 4tb NAS is usually best right before lunch.

Win2000, WinXP and I are old friends... we get along very nicely.

If you haven't done the search already on lastalive....

To change the interval setting, modify TimeStampInterval in:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Reliability

Set the number to 0 to disable - each number equal to number of minutes between delays.

Now this is interesting... and noted for future. But if this is in minutes, it still doesn't explain the roughly 1 1/2 second cycle of the LED pulses. My first suspicion was that old bugaboo about AutoRun in the CDROM service but turning that off made no difference at all.

It's odd how such a little thing as a flashing LED can be such a major annoyance.... But sitting in a darkened room trying to watch a BluRay of Bolt as a test run, that little blinky light totally destroyed the experience... Half way through the movie we stopped watching and they started complaining about it.

Double whammy... Win7 was a Valentines present to the family, from the guy's wife.

Oh well... it's getting trusty old XP put back in as I write this and the LEDs have been dipped in lacquer thinners (which attacks the plastic and reduces them to a dull glow). They'll have the machine back by mid-afternoon, Win7 will go in the "business" machine in the den, the two kids will get a couple of movies as gifts, I'll forgive the fee for this misadventure and then we'll all live happily ever after.

I'm just hoping Win7 doesn't turn into another nemisis... Every so often I get so frustrated with Microsoft, I promise myself I am going "Gates-Free" and get busy trying to get my head around Linux... *always* there is something the messes it up and I just never get more than a day or two past the installation before I'm forced to give up.... One of those is enough...
 

2Tired2Tango

Tech Monkey
It is definitely annoying that WIndows 7 routinely thrashes disks as much as it does, but generally a week or two after an install it seems to stop.

Most of that's probably the Windows Search service ... the "new" Indexing Service that everyone has hated since Win2000... It's easily disabled and there is no real consequence of disabling it, except for a little note in the Library saying "unresponsive"... Like with half the junk Microsoft puts into their distros, the system actually works better without it.

But this behavior yesterday was something else... every 1 1/2 seconds (roughly) the light would flash and you could hear the drive do a long seek ... Flash, click, click... Flash, click click... and so on. I figure 6 months before it beats the drive to death.


The OS definitely needs a better program that shows what is causing or instigating CPU/GPU/RAM/HDD/NIC activity and why.

Ya think? :D

Actually what is needed is an OS that doesn't behave stupidly.

I assume you already tried going to the Resource Monitor, HDD tab, and sorting all tasks by HDD usage? It should show you which one is behind the activity there.

Yes, that was my second stop right after Task Manager...

For Svchost.exe, try this to figure out what process is calling it: http://blogs.howtogeek.com/mysticge...actly-what-each-svchostexe-instance-is-doing/

Downloaded! Very nice tool... thank you.


Thanks for your help on this, guys... It's too bad we can't get a good resolution... once again I find myself really liking the Aero UI in Win7 and wishing there was a proper solution to some of these idiotic problems...

FWIW... I found a way around that "Server Failed to Execute" problem when moving the "My" folders... Manually create the folder in the target location first and it seems to work just fine.
 
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Kougar

Techgage Staff
Staff member
Most of that's probably the Windows Search service ... the "new" Indexing Service that everyone has hated since Win2000... It's easily disabled and there is no real consequence of disabling it, except for a little note in the Library saying "unresponsive"... Like with half the junk Microsoft puts into their distros, the system actually works better without it.

Probably, but I don't disable most stuff anymore. I use the search options regularly and after the initial period where it rescans everything it works fine for me. With XP disabling and removing processes was enough to break parts of the OS or make it unreliable, and the only thing Windows 7 has done is make it more tricky to do the same without consequences. I run into enough issues with Windows as it is without needing to make any more, XP or otherwise.


FWIW... I found a way around that "Server Failed to Execute" problem when moving the "My" folders... Manually create the folder in the target location first and it seems to work just fine.

So what exactly did you do, point it to a nonexistent folder first?? Pointing it to the root of a drive doesn't work, it needs a folder. I presume because of access rights and/or how it configures the folder destination in question.
 

2Tired2Tango

Tech Monkey
Probably, but I don't disable most stuff anymore. I use the search options regularly and after the initial period where it rescans everything it works fine for me. With XP disabling and removing processes was enough to break parts of the OS or make it unreliable, and the only thing Windows 7 has done is make it more tricky to do the same without consequences. I run into enough issues with Windows as it is without needing to make any more, XP or otherwise.

LOL... I must be braver than you. I spent a whole mess of time with XP trying to figure out how much I could either disable or flat out remove before things started to go broke... If it's done right --and sometimes in the right order-- you'd be surprised how far you can cut it down. Haven't played with Win 7 yet, except for that one very disheartening session.

So what exactly did you do, point it to a nonexistent folder first?? Pointing it to the root of a drive doesn't work, it needs a folder. I presume because of access rights and/or how it configures the folder destination in question.

The error came from trying to have it create the new folder and move the files at the same time. I found that if I made the new folder first, then went to move files, it went along just fine.

It's still a killer flaw... but at least now I know how to avoid it.
 

Kougar

Techgage Staff
Staff member
Yeah, the process is not designed to create the folder. It expects the target location to already exist. I ran into that design flaw myself during the RC build, but it gave me other problems than what you experienced... and I completely agree, it is a design flaw.
 
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