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Once upon a time I was getting angry at Vista, because it seemed like every time I turned on my laptop, the hard drive would thrash (exhibit high disk activity) for about 5-10 minutes, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. This was a problem, because it was reducing my battery life significantly.

Using the Vista Resource Monitor, I discovered that the process performing so many writes to my hard drive was a system process, PID 4, writing to the C:\System Volume Information folder. But that didn’t really shed any light on the situation, because a system process could be anything.

After googling incesantly for weeks, I discovered that my problem was shared by others, and most likely caused by Vista’s System Restore feature making a backup. Most of the proposed solutions said to simply turn off System Restore. I’ve personally never seen the benefit of System Restore; it’s never saved my rear end before. But there’s always a first time, so I didn’t want to turn it off, I just wanted it to not run when I was using the computer.

There are three solutions to the problem, (1) turn off System Restore, (2) disable the Scheduled Task that causes System Restore to run, or (3) alter the Scheduled Task that casues System Restore to run. I am partial to solution 3, as I’ve explained, but I’ll list them all:

Solution 1 – Turn off System Restore

  1. Go to Control Panel/System/System Protection
  2. Uncheck the box next to the C: drive
  3. Click OK


Solution 2 – Disable the System Restore task

  1. Go to Control Panel/Administrative Tools/Task Scheduler
  2. In Task Scheduler navigate to Task Scheduler Library/Microsoft/Windows/System Restore
  3. Click on “SR” in the top middle window
  4. Then click Disable in the right window


Solution 3 – Alter the System Restore task

  1. Go to Control Panel/Administrative Tools/Task Scheduler
  2. In Task Scheduler navigate to Task Scheduler Library/Microsoft/Windows/System Restore
  3. Right click on “SR” in the top middle window and choose Properties
  4. Click on the Conditions tab
  5. Make sure the following are checked: “Start the task only if the computer is idle for”, “Stop if the computer ceases to be idle”, “Restart if the idle state resumes”, “Start the task only if the computer is on AC power”, and “Stop if the computer switches to battery power”
  6. Click OK


And they all lived happily ever after. ZZZ

Source: Microsoft TechNet Forums

UPDATE: I’ve discovered that there is another thing that can kick off an annoying System Restore Point creation that thrashes your hard drive and doesn’t care if your computer is idle or on battery: Windows Defender. It creates a System Restore Point when it installs a definitions update, by default about every 3 days. According to the web, this can be turned off this way:

  1. Go to Control Panel/Windows Defender/Options/Advanced
  2. Uncheck “Create a Restore Point before applying actions to detected items”


Source: MAXIMUMpcguides

Also, I found that System Restore takes up a ridiculous amount of space on your hard drive, which can only be reduced through the command line. Again, way to go Microsoft, why did you even release this crappy OS? And why did it take you until 2009 to realize that you need to get user feedback through a public beta?

  1. Click the Start menu, then type “cmd” in Start Search
  2. Right click cmd and choose “Run as administrator”
  3. Paste this in the command window “vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage /For=C: /On=C: /MaxSize=2GB”


Source: 5 Star Support


One Comment

  1. Thanks, I’ve had trouble with disk thrashing since I’ve owned my computer with Vista. I’ve disabled a bunch of stuff as I’ve seen suggested on the internet, but still it comes back. Today I had been struggling with a virus and when that was fixed I decided to get to the bottom of the disk thrashing. Thank you. I think this was the last piece of the puzzle. I had to double click on SR which was in a selection box and then right click on SR in the next screen to get the options you described in option 3. It is amazing how inconsiderate Microsoft is. There are people all over the internet complaining about this problem while they sit on their hands, what a bunch of jerks. It looks to me that a whole lot of the disk thrashing causes more problems than it could possibly solve.

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