Windows Legacy OS forum

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unexplained hard drive activity

by bently / June 11, 2005 11:33 PM PDT

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?



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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 11, 2005 11:40 PM PDT

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.


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Device manager only shows CPU usage not disk useage.....
by AussiePete / June 12, 2005 2:21 AM PDT

I fell into this trap once - thought because there was nothing showing of any note in CPU usage, that nothing was running - I got 2 programs called registry monitor (regmon), and file monitor (filemon) from systems internals, and it turned out it was windows messenger going on a rampage of the hard disk looking for that wasn't there - this was due to installing MSN messenger! They also have a program call diskmon now which is more to the point!!
PS they have lots of other free goodies as well.

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(NT) (NT) Thanks Bob & Peter
by bently / June 12, 2005 2:38 AM PDT
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(NT) (NT) Pleasure
by AussiePete / June 12, 2005 6:08 AM PDT
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unexplained hard drive activity
by HoraceR / September 10, 2013 10:05 AM PDT

Didn't originally notice this was written in 2005.... Today (9/10/13) I have a similar symptom on a Windows 7 system. I have an HP Touchsmart 600-1055 and had to replace the HDD. I reloaded Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 and everything was going along fine. I didn't have any recovery media so I went to the HP website to download some of the HP software that was originally on my system. One of the downloads was "HP Quick Launch Buttons" which has features I used a lot before the HDD replacement. The launch sequence I use the most is CTRL + F9 which turns my display off/on (toggle) which I prefer instead of using the sleep option. I began to notice that several minutes (about 5) after I turned my display off the HDD began to thrash, and I wasn't aware of any background processes that would cause this. Even stranger, when I executed the CTRL + F9 to turn the display back on, the thrashing ceased. I tried this sequence several times with the same results. Finally, I decided to let the system go to sleep by doing nothing, (inactivity), and there was no thrashing. Since the last thing I downloaded was this package, I've go to believe that this is the cause of my thrashing. I was concerned thinking it might be a virus, so i ran a full system scan with Norton Internet Security. No problems were detected, so I am fairly sure the downloaded package is the problem. I will probably perform an uninstall, a re-download and a new install to see if this resolves the problem. If not, I guess I'll have to do without the Quick Launch Buttons...


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