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Drive constantly being accessed

Last response: in Storage
February 18, 2008 11:26:02 AM

I just rebuilt my machine, with three HDDs on SATA interfaces, and have an odd behaviour. The HDD LED flashes constantly, at a rate of about twice a second, even when the machine is apparently doing nothing. Task Manager doesn't provide me with any clues as to what's going on - other than System Idle Process occupying ~95% of CPU time (out of total typical 2-3%). I've got antivirus and spyware software installed and do regular scans to keep everything clean, and I've tried stopping various stuff that run in the backgound, but nothing stops the HDD light flashing all the time. Any ideas as to how I can find what's accessing the HDDs all the time?
February 18, 2008 12:33:13 PM

Indexing service?
Anti virus?
a b G Storage
February 18, 2008 12:41:33 PM

What OS?
If XP could be the restore feature backing stuff up.
As mentioned, could be the indexing service.
If Vista, defrag runs automatically, also could be the restore feature as well.
Related resources
February 18, 2008 1:00:53 PM

Running XP Pro. Indexing service is disabled, antivirus not scanning, turned off automatic restore, and still the HDD LED flashes twice a second!
February 18, 2008 1:04:46 PM

mmmmm..... off the top of my head...all I can suggest is to switch things off until the flashing goes away....

Try running task manager and add the IO data items to the processes view. That may give you an indication of what is accessing the drives.

February 18, 2008 1:04:48 PM

One thing to try that might help you --

In task manager, click view, select columns. Check I/O Reads and I/O Writes. Then you can tell which process is responsible, if any.

I have a similar problem that I've researched somewhat thoroughly. In my task manager, neither the I/O Reads or Writes are giving me any idea. I tried unhooking my SATA DVD-RW drives and it slows it down a little bit. I've concluded that the HDs aren't actually being accessed as all drives are dead silent even though the blinking never stops.
a c 167 G Storage
February 18, 2008 1:20:55 PM

An OS will wake up regularly to check on things. It might be writing the results to a system log file.
February 18, 2008 10:49:05 PM

Thanks for these suggestions. I've checked I/O Reads and Writes, but that doesn't help much - not a whole lot of activity, certainly not correlated with the HDD LED. I/O Other, whatever that might be, seems to show more activity, especially from explorer, even though it's not running in a window. There's other stuff that also shows activity, but again it doesn't seem to be correlated with the LED. What does I/O Other indicate?
Is there anything else that can monitor HDD activity?
February 19, 2008 2:09:37 PM

Try "filemon", it will show you which files are accessed, in realtime.

2 accesses per second is not normal OS activity.
February 19, 2008 2:57:04 PM

Every MS OS from Win 2K hits the hard drive at least every second.
LSASS.exe is most likely the culprit. It's part of windows security.

Rattus Viola: Sino non they quisnam operor non have scientia futurus vestri rector.
a b G Storage
February 19, 2008 3:18:03 PM

Scan for trojans.
Also check your internet activity.
March 31, 2008 9:27:45 PM

Well, I think that I'm having the same problem...
I have searched the net and found a bug in the nwiz.exe, this is something that loads up while windows is booting, and is used for dual monitor things...

I've disabled it from the boot and I get MUCH MUCH less reads...
It seems that there's a bug in the NVidia nwin.exe thing...

take a look at this:

can you update me? I'm not sure that this is the problem and I don't even know if you have dual-monitors...

Information will help here.

a b G Storage
April 1, 2008 2:48:45 AM

I have dual monitors on an 8800GTX. No problems like you describe. I don't have an nwiz.exe or nwin.exe in Task Manager under processes. I have nTuneService.exe and nvsvc32.exe, that's all the nVidia stuff as far as I can see. Device Manager shows version for nv4_disp.dll and other driver files. I used to get blue screens all the time, but after I got this driver release (in November, I think) I haven't seen any blue screen at all. I hope this helps...

April 11, 2008 4:31:42 PM

I had the same problem and when I checked the I/O Read and I/O Writes found that Microsoft Outlook was constantly reading and writing. I shut Outlook down and the problem stopped; until I booted up again and started Outlook and the problem started again.

But when I shut Outlook down the constant accessing stopped.

January 15, 2013 9:31:54 PM

I had the same query (under XP SP2), so I removed file indexing and checked again with procmon from SysInternals. Finally, I found out that Java Quick Start (jqs.exe) was the cause of periodic disk accesses. I disabled it (BTW it is useless from W7 on). Much better now :sleep: