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Hdd busy led flashes every second

By rickcolee ยท 20 replies
Apr 15, 2008
  1. I just finished a new build using gigabyte mobo, intel duel core cpu, and windows xp sp2. After loading a few programs I noticed that the "hdd busy" led was flashing about every second. Looking on the web I found a program called "Process Monitor" which I installed and ran. I was supprised to see what was happening. It appears that about every second these processes update and cause the hdd led to flash. At least it appears to be causing the led to flash. Has anyone else had this situation and if so can this be modified to stop?
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Probably indexing service or even Windows updates

    You can disable Indexing service by:
    Opening My Computer
    Right click on C drive
    Un-tick "allow indexing service..." (down the bottom)
    Wait for all the files scan (ignore all files in use)

    You can then go to:
    Add/Remove Programs (in Control Panel)
    Select Add/Remove Windows components (on LHS)
    and uninstall indexing service (somewhere there)

    You can then go to:
    Start->Run-> services.msc
    Locate Indexing service
    Double click on it
    Change the startup to disabled

    Actually whilst you're there (in services)
    Double click on Help service (on the list)
    Change startup to manual
    Select recovery tab
    and select "take no action" x 2
    Apply ok

    And then...

    Download Startup Control Panel: http://www.mlin.net/StartupCPL.shtml
    And untick just about everything (except AntiVirus and mouse touchpad drivers on Laptops)

    And then...

    Go back to Task Manager (that'll do)
    And tell me which service is taking up the most CPU usage (not incl. System Idle process)
  3. rickcolee

    rickcolee TS Rookie Topic Starter

    hdd led still flickering

    Hi Kimsland,

    I accomplished what you suggested doing. The task manager list was reduced by probably a third. system idle processes are at 99% and not much of anything else is taking cpu time. just now and then i see 1% by some other task and just lasts for a second. The hdd led is still flickering about every second and seems to coincide with the updating of the page in the program i mentioned, process monitor, which after doing a search on google for "hdd led flashing every second", i thought it might help me determine what was causing the led to flash. the problem is I don't what program is running.

    being new here, is it acceptable to upload a picture of two so you can see what this "process monitor" program is showing me. to try to describe the columns of information would be to long to attempt. i downloaded the program from sysinternals.com

    also, I have a 2004 circa computer, built by a computer shop, running windows xp, sp2 and it does not do this... hdd led flickering.

    I appreciate your assistance in solving my situation.

  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Yes you can attach a zipped up pic (size limit is only 100kb so you may need to crop it a bit)

    Inside a new reply, you will see [​IMG] <-- this small paperclip symbol on the reply toolbar.

    Before doing it, confirm ControlPael -> Tasks--> is empty (ie delete anything in it)
    And your Antivirus is not background scanning or some other program is not running (except Internet Explorer)
  5. rickcolee

    rickcolee TS Rookie Topic Starter

    hdd led flashing

    Hello again,

    I can't get a pic below 100kbs that is readable. I thank you for your help. I guess i will just disconnect the hdd led connection from the mobo. at least I won't see it flashing all the time. I don't know why that bothers me, but it does.

    Thanks again,

  6. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Actually it is a concern, because if your HardDrive is consistantly active, it eventually may fail from over use.

    If you can't crop a picture to a gif (ie not bmp) that's under 100kb, maybe you could just tell me what process is using so much CPU (not ram)
  7. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    You don't need to take a pic of Process Monitor Output
    • Stop event capturing.
    • Click on Filter to add/remove/create filters ato strip down to the number and type of records you want displayed.
    • If you simply want the current range of records you see in your window, you can simply create 2 filters based on the record sequence number shown in the display (i.e. exclude sequence numbers less then xx and greater then yy)
    • Then click File -> Save and select the options
      • Save events displayed using current filter
      • Save format as Comma Seperated Values (this is a simple text file you can then post)

    Should you want to reduce file size of screen captures
    Use a freeware image edit tool like irfanview to do any/all of the following
    • The typical stuff like cropping or Image -> Resize/Resample
    • And with .jpg or gif files you can File -> Save then
      • See that at the bottom of the Save dialogue window Show Options Dialogue is checked
      • In Options Dialogue window just use the slider to adjust quality.
    I;ve always been able to get file size < 100KB without a readabilitiy problem when the image is opened full size
  8. rickcolee

    rickcolee TS Rookie Topic Starter

    hdd led flashing

    Hi Kimsland,

    I attempted to upload a pic of the task manager... it said it completed but I don't know where it went. Again, when I open task manager I see "system idle process" at 99% and not anything else using cpu time. every once in a while "iexplore.exe" will take 1% for a split second.

    Are there any utility programs that I could monitor HDD writes or reads?

    Thanks again,

  9. rickcolee

    rickcolee TS Rookie Topic Starter

    HDD LED Flashing


    I went back to sysinternals and found a program that monitors HDD reads and writes called Diskmon. It shows me that the led flashing is not being caused by reads or writes to the HDD. I would suppose you are familiar with this utility and with this information now I am really perplexed at what is causing the led to flicker.

    Have you had anyone, other than me, post a situation like this?

    Thanks again,

  10. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

  11. rickcolee

    rickcolee TS Rookie Topic Starter

    HDD LED is still flashing

    Hi again,

    OK, I downloaded whatsrunning and ran the program. Like task manager, all that was taking cpu time was "system process @ 98.5%" and "whatsrunning @ 1.5%". occasionally "system.exe" would come in for a second @ 1%. Is there some other variable with this program that can tell you something as I am not familiar with it?

    I wonder if this could be something caused by the BIOS of this gigabyte MOBO. I have looked thru the menus and don't see anything that looked like "go check something every second".

    Thanks again,

  12. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    That process "system process @ 98.5%" is right and very normal

    Can you please download CCleaner and clear out all your temps
    Then go to defrag and fully derfrag your system
    Start-->AllPrograms-->Accessories-->System Tools-->Defrag

    There is this slim possibility (well could be higher!) that your HardDrive is faulty
    There are HardDrive diagnostic tests that you can run on your HardDrive manufacture.

    But you should backup your data first, just in case it fails during the test

    I have seen this before (continuous flickering of HardDrive light) replacing the HardDrive has fixed it.
  13. rickcolee

    rickcolee TS Rookie Topic Starter

    HDD LED flashes every second

    Hello Kimsland,

    I have an interesting update on my blinking HDD LED. I had done another search on the net for "flashing HDD LED" and ran across a post about sata cd/dvd burners. The fellow said when he disabled the Lite On DVD burner in Task Manager, his HDD Busy LED stopped flashing. I disabled both of my Lite On burners and the LED quit flashing. Go figure. He said the system is polling the device(s) to know when a cd/dvd is inserted. Knowing what is causing the flashing led makes it a little less annoying, to me anyway.

    I appreciate all your help.

  14. fullmetalvegan

    fullmetalvegan TS Enthusiast Posts: 123

    My HDD LED blinks every 1-2 seconds all the time as well, all my PC's have done/do that, I thought it was normal.
  15. rickcolee

    rickcolee TS Rookie Topic Starter

    HDD Busy LED falshing every second


    I have had 3 previous computers that I built, or were built for me, that the HDD LED didn't flash every second. All had WXP SP2 but did not have SATA ports. From what I have found out on the net, searching for an answer, it appears the system polls the SATA cd/dvd device every second to see if a cd or dvd has been inserted. I disabled both of my dvd burners, which are connected to the MOBO via SATA, and the LED stopped flashing. I guess, from what I read, that this is normal. After finishing the build on this new computer and noticeing the LED flashing, I was concerned that if something was accessing the HDD every second it would shorten the life of the HDD's.

    So, "I fell much better now", about the LED flashing.

  16. fullmetalvegan

    fullmetalvegan TS Enthusiast Posts: 123

    Ah, so it's SATA causing it to flash, interesting. Mine blinks twice every 1-2 seconds.

    I guess that explains why my mum's PATA/IDE system doesn't flash as often as mine. =P
  17. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524


    Turn off Autorun for your DVD Drive

    To get Autorun off, use Notepad to create a file called autorunOff.reg that contains the following:

    Then run autorunOff.reg
  18. rickcolee

    rickcolee TS Rookie Topic Starter

    HDD LED Flashing every second

    hello Kimsland,

    I just ran "autorunOff.reg" and rebooted and the HDD LED is not flashing anymore. You are the MAN. Now I don't get the little window that popped up asking what you wanted to do with the disc you just inserted, which is fine as I didn't like that window anyway. But.... can this be reversed in the event I find some program that won't run?


  19. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Save as "autorunOn.reg"
  20. rickcolee

    rickcolee TS Rookie Topic Starter

    HDD Busy LED flashing every second

    Thanks again Kimsland.

  21. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    Good work guys! :grinthumb

    Will just pass along info on a tool TweakUI for an easy method to configure autorun by drive (turn it on/off as well as assigning handlers) Look for TweakUI on the PowerToys page.)See pic attached
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