System is idle but HDD is making noise...

Hi all, I hope someone here can explain to me why my HDD is making noise all the time (like it's processing data) while my system is idle. Often it's making a sound like it's reading/writing while I don't have any programs running and that annoys me. So I wonder what the hell is it doing at those moments? And can I do something about it?
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  1. Your system really is never idle.

    It could be 1) Virus Scanning 2) indexing files 3) checking for program updates or 4) malware.

    You need to look at the processes running, network activity, and disk accesses to narrow it down. You can start with the task manager.
  2. Are you running Vista? If so, it's most likely indexing the hard drive while you are at idle. Once it indexes everything you'll notice the HDD crunching will subside. You can also turn off indexing altoghether. I know when I first went to Vista, I was surprised with the HDD activity.

    It could also be any of the items firemist pointed out.
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