Windows 7 PC freezes frequently with hard disk light constantly on

freezehard drivewindows 7

I recently replaced a defective hard disk with a new one [ Windows 7 – "A disk read error occured. Press Ctrl + Alt + Del to restart" ]

I have been using the new hard disk with a Windows 7 installation for about 4 days. Now it has started freezing frequently. Sometimes every 2 minutes and sometimes every 10 seconds.

The freeze lasts for anywhere between 10 and 30 seconds during which time the hard disk light is constantly on.

UPDATE: I found lots of this error in the system event log:

The driver detected a controller error on \Device\Ide\IdePort1.

The source is mentioned as "atapi" and the Event ID is 11.

These things happen randomly:

  • Explorer alone freezes and restarts by itself
  • Firefox alone freezes and becomes responsive randomly
  • Half the open windows freeze and become responsive randomly
  • All windows freeze and become responsive randomly

My Efforts

  • I scanned my computer using Microsoft Security Essentials and found nothing malicious.
  • I did a chkdsk /r and found no problems.
  • I did a memory diagnostic and found no problems.
  • When I go into safe mode, it doesn't freeze and I am able to use it normally for longer periods of time.

What other steps can I take to locate the problem?


There is lots of software installed – I am a developer and my PC is full of IDEs, database servers, web servers, developer tools, testing tools, all browsers etc..

BUT my hardware is more than capable of handling the load – Dual Core 2.7GHz, 2GB RAM, GeForce 9400GT and I think a fast and big enough hard disk.

My windows is up to date as of now. I have installed ALL updates including optional drivers etc. All my installed software is up to date.

Best Answer

  • Any errors reported in the system event log? It is possible the new drive has issues.