Windows XP – Delayed Write Failed

It’s getting a bit annoying receiving the message “Delayed Write Failed” when working on my laptop.  The exact message being displayed when I can read the error message is “Delayed Write Failed: The data has been lost. This error may be caused by a failure of your computer hardware or network connection. Please try to save this file elsewhere.”  Unfortunately, the only option available is to Click “OK” and eventually shut the computer system down after the “Delayed Writer Error” message shows its ugly head.

The Delayed Write Failed error occurred for the first time about 2 weeks ago.  The LCD on my laptop failed and seeing how I was wise enough to buy an extended warranty, the manufacturer dispatched a technician to replace the failed component.  Before I let anyone touch my laptop, I had plugged in an external hard disk drive and made a backup of the system (just to be safe).

With the LCD replaced, everything appeared fine but now, the “Delayed Write Error” occurs at least once or twice a day.  The system becomes dead in the water, and usually, I have to attempt to reboot at least 4-5 times before Windows will load.

There’s several things that I am thinking may be wrong.

1. External Hard Drive installed a driver that is not compatible with the storage subsystem of the laptop;

2. Technician introduced a problem when the laptop was disassembled for the LCD-ectomy;

3. Windows XP is corrupt and the system needs to be reloaded;

4. A recently installed program introduced something that has caused the laptop to act all funky.

Today I spent several hours researching the Delayed Write Error and the problems with my laptop.  With Google returning 189,000 hits on the term Delayed Write Failed, I’m guessing that I’m not the only person that has encountered this.

A common thing that I have discovered is that many people have encountered the Delayed Write Error after installing either a USB or Firewire external hard drive in their computer systems.  This cause would definitely fit my current scenario.

Others had installed programs that had caused the delayed write error and yet again, others had corrupted operating systems.  The delayed write errors went away with a system reload and reinstallation of software.  Again, this would fit my current scenario.

It is highly unlikely that the LCD-ectomy introduced any problems in the system that would cause the delay write error.  I checked the laptop and it was a clean swap.  There was nothing changed that could possibly cause this error.

Now for the twist that I discovered with this delayed write error – my disk space was disappearing at a rate of about 1 MB ever 5 seconds.  I watched as the disk space dropped to below 500 MB.  The backup that I had performed only 2 weeks ago was only 12 GB (including all programs and data). The drive in the laptop is 120 GB.

Where was the other 100+ GB going?  Was the Delayed Write Error and the disappearing disk space connected?  Surely it could not be a coincidence.

Rebooting did not cure the disappearing disk space and sure enough after a few minutes I received the Delayed Write Error.  Next reboot – Low Disk Space warning and then the Delayed Write Error.  This was something more than a USB driver, corrupt software or corrupt operating system.  Now I was suspecting a virus, malware or some trojan horse program had infected my laptop even though I ran an antivirus, scanned the PC regularly and ensured the operating system was updated on a regular basis.

Virus scan – clean.

Malware/Trojan scan – clean.

Write delay error.  Disk Space Low error.  Anyone want to catch a flying laptop?

Then it was just by chance that I caught a flash on the screen and heard a subtle beep.  Something had tried to execute and there was an error because there was no disk space remaining on the hard drive.  A scheduled task with an obscurely named DLL file as the extension tried to launch and execute but failed because of lack of disk space.

I deleted the entry in the list of scheduled tasks, rebooted the computer system and voila – errors were detected in the filesystem which required a disk integrity check.  This was the first time since seeing the delayed writer error did this message come up after either reboot.

Next stop?

Clean install of my operating system, reinstallation of my application software and restore of data from backup.  While the scans for virus, malware and trojans turn up negative, I will feel much more comfortable with a fresh installation.  Hopefully, this is the last time I receive the message Delayed Write Error.

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About Barry Wheeler

Barry Wheeler is a blogger, novice SEO, geek and passionate Newfoundlander. Operating several successful websites and online communities, Barry has started exploring the social internet and its impact on all facets of society including personal life and business relationships. Find Barry on Twitter @barrywheeler and FaceBook or on his website Barry Wheeler - Blogging for Success.
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One Response to Windows XP – Delayed Write Failed

  1. David says:

    Hi, I’m in the midst of this right now. I’m trying to find the cause. Is the data really lost or can the system just not see it?

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