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W98 system often accesses hard drive

By SGinSC ·
I have two Win98 systems (Celeron/366--64MB RAM and PIII/550--128MB) that have been running fine for several years. Lately, both systems' hard drives start churning away for no apparent reason, sometimes slowing response time. Access of course occurs when apps are opened, but the access is going on much longer than usual.

In the past, I've seen this with systems with low disk space that have to use virtual memory, but I don't think it's the case here. I've checked the following possible causes:

- Both systems have at least 25% free space. Virtual memory settings are Windows default.
- No new programs in startup folder
- No viruses detected
- I've run system maintenance to clean out old files, check the disk, and defragment (with improve program load time activated)

I thought all of this would have eliminated or at least helped the problem. Either I don't understand something about virtual memory settings or I'm overlooking another possible cause.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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