In short, the stock XP setup runs an indexing of the hard disk contents when nothing else is running. Drives many nuts as they look for it.
Another issue is in low memory machines (256M or less), Windows memory consolidation routines can cause disk activity as it works. No program will be found to nail it to since it's "Windows."
In closing, this is not an OS that does not sit idle. There is a polling of the CD/DVD drives about once a second. On some hardware you can see this cause the hard disk activity LED to blink.
Hope this helps you understand this old OS.
Using win xp home, sp2.
Getting constant flashing red light indicating hard drive activity.
First I Stopped all traffic using Kerio personal firewall, that did not stop it, so I turned the power off on dsl modem to see if it was internet activity.
Red light is still flashing indicating hard drive activity.
Ctrl/Alt/Del brings up the Task Mangager and the only thing showing to be running is Word pad which I am using to type this. It is showing varying rates of 40 to 100% CPU usage.
This has been going on for over 20 minutes at this point in time.
Did complete virus check yesterday using AVG, ran Ad Aware, Spy Bot and MS Antispy, all with fresh updates, nothing bad was found in any of the checks.
So what can be causing this constant activity on harddrive?