Hard Drive constantly active

By samantaga ยท 10 replies
Jan 6, 2004
  1. I have two Cyberpower PCs running Windows XP Home. The newest one's hard drive is constantly active (the yellow "active" light on the drive blinks every 1 - 2 seconds).

    I have installed and ran Spybot Search-and-Destroy to eliminate tracking threats. Still the hard drive pulses away. The older Cyberpower acts normally. The hard drive shows activity when I would expect it.

    Is there a utility that can tell me what application is generating all this hard drive activity?

  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    This is hardly something that can be called "constantly active" and it is quite normal with Windows XP. It can be any of the murky background tasks that run constantly. Most likely it is the indexing service building up its database. It should stop after all the updates have been made.

    You shouldn't worry, this sort of activity doen't wear down your HD - it actually works only maybe about 0.1% of the time.
  3. samantaga

    samantaga TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I understand your response. Unfortunatley, my drive never stops showing activity. I have two XP Home PCs side-by-side. Ones hard drive is rarely active, the other is always active. Looking at it right now and still blinking.

    So does anyone know of a utility that will monitor hard drive activity and report on the application causing such activity?
  4. vassil3427

    vassil3427 TS Rookie Posts: 640

    How much Ram does the PC have? Hard Drive activity can be lowered by adding Ram in most cases....
  5. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Surely the computers are not identical.
    Have you copied any big amounts of data on the computer with the blinking drive? It will take a while before the indexing finishes.

    Your HD working for a fraction of a second may seem like constant activity to you but the second between the drive accesses is eons long for your computer.
  6. Masque

    Masque TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,058

    Does the machine with the hard drive in question seem as responsive as the other? I've seen drives which go bad slow waaaaayyyy down before they actually crap out. And the light is constantly active as they try to retrieve their data. Just a thought.
  7. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    Press Ctl+Alt+Del to bring up the Windows Task Manager. Click the Processes Tab. Click the CPU column to show the most active tasks at the top (click twice, I think). View the program executable causing the activity as your HD LED flashes.
  8. tgm

    tgm TS Rookie

    Here is an answer that could help you solve your problem...

    Go to www.sysinternals.com and download their FileMon utility. It's free and works very well (like everything written by these people). Be prepared for lots of output, but after some filtering you will probably find the answer you are looking for.

    Another utility to take a look at is RegMon (the same thing for the registry). You will probably be startled by the amount of activity going on; particularly if you have a piece of software that has a performance bug in it where it may be repeatedly writing the same information to the same registry key. This sort of performance bug is more common than you think.
  9. toothmkr57

    toothmkr57 TS Rookie Posts: 16

    I am having the same issue, nothing is apparent as to why my hard drive is working quite a bit harder than it used too. I looked up filemon and regmon, and it directed me to process monitor. So I have downloaded it and ran, but I really don't know what I am looking for??? Can someone help?
  10. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,132   +983

    Sometimes you run many programs with multiple windows open.
    This will cause demand for memory and of course start paging activity.

    There's a side effect of letting 'System managed size' choice from
    System->Advanced->Performance preference. Going to the Advanced Tab
    you can click on the Change Virtual Memory button to view how your pagesize
    is defined and managed.

    If you set System managed size then the pagefile can/will be increased
    upon demand -- lots of i/o AND it fragments the pagefile to boot :(

    Set your pagefile size to 2x your RAM size and this will all go away.
    (some day however, a program may produce an error Out Of Memory and log it to the Event Viewer).
  11. Blind Dragon

    Blind Dragon TS Evangelist Posts: 3,908

    You can see from task manager, bottom left corner - commit charge, will show your pagefile usage. look at peak. This will tell you how much pagefile you are using. then follow joes instructions above. Also you want to set your initial size and maximum size of the pagefile the same - 2X's how much ram you have.

    Another thing is the programs that you are running on startup. Things like windows media player will set themselves to run at startup and constantly look for updates. This can degrade your system performance and you should turn them off so that you tell them when to start. That way they aren't using system resources while you arent using them.
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