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Constant disk activity on a new computer

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  • Hard Drives
  • Computer
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
October 28, 2011 11:19:20 PM

Hello,
I just recently purchased a i5-2400, Intel DH67BL and Samsung HD502HJ machine. After installing OS (XP Pro), I noticed regular disk activity (case LED regularly blinks every second and Task Manger shows I/O reads and writes) the culprit appears to be csrss.exe, lsass.exe and svchost.exe. The computer hasn't been networked yet and OS was installed from original media (checksums are verified).

So far I've tried:
- disabling page file
- disabling indexing
- disabling terminal services
- disabling SATA DVD-RW and actually removing cable as well
- both ACHI and IDE mode in BIOS
- to boot in safe mode (exhibits the same issue)
- reinstalling OS with AHCI drivers
- updating BIOS
- scanning HDD with manufacturer's utility, which reported no errors
- run Intel utility to check whether the board is one with the malfunctioning SATA ports, it's not.

Is this behavior normal and I just happened to stumble on a too sensitive specimen? Would running it like this degrade drive's lifespan?

Thanks in advance!

More about : constant disk activity computer

a c 415 G Storage
October 28, 2011 11:48:50 PM

Firstly, it's totally normal for a Windows system to be accessing the disks on an ongoing basis. Windows runs a ton of services to listen for network request, query for the system time, run scheduled tasks, etc. etc. etc. Background activity is completely normal in Windows.

Background activity is pretty light for the most part. If your disk is being accessed heavily and you don't have any programs running, it's usually due to one of two things:

1) Virus scans.

2) Indexing.

The latter is done by the Windows Search service which will index most of the file on all of your drives. When you first install Windows this means it has a lot of work to do, and it can take several hours of uptime to finish it all (that's because it tries not to impact the system too heavily so it doesn't try to complete in the shortest possible time). In addition, certain events such as patch installs can sometimes cause the search service to clear its index so that it has to restart from scratch. However in normal operation the service only becomes active when files are changed and it has to rescan them to update the index.

You can stop the Windows Search service to see if that stops most of your disk activity. Of course, if you don't let it index your disks then you won't be able to find things when you type stuff into the "search" box - so you have to decide for yourself whether it's worth the tradeoff.
October 29, 2011 8:01:46 AM

Thanks for the reply. Last night I continued on googling and found a solution: disabling optical device autorun by changing HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\CdRom\Autorun from 1 to 0.
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October 29, 2011 8:29:09 AM

For some reason I'm unable to edit my post. My last post was a temporary solution. After a couple of reboots the issue is back despite having disabled autorun. :fou:  :fou: 
a c 415 G Storage
October 29, 2011 10:11:22 AM

I can't imagine why disabling autorun would have any effect on your hard drive activity unless you leave a CD/DVD in your optical drive that runs some program that's causing the activity.

Have you looked at Resource Monitor to see what program is consuming the most disk I/Os?
October 29, 2011 10:56:51 AM

It was supposed to be polling by optical device to see whether user has inserted a disk. Anyways it appears to have magically settled down. Thanks for your input
a c 415 G Storage
October 29, 2011 5:53:30 PM

Even if Autorun did poll optical drives (it doesn't, it waits for notification of the drive becoming ready), it wouldn't cause activity on your hard drives. Whoever gave you that advice was misinformed.
July 23, 2012 7:02:19 PM

After a little googling, and some testing, I found that disabling my CD/DVD/BD Drive in Devices stopped the constant flashing also. It is associated with Intel's Rapid Store Technology program that now seems to be standard when using SSD's. This program seems to be polling the CD/DVD/BD drive all the time.

Problem solved - only thing now is that if you want to use the the drive, you have to re-eanble it each time, but I don't really use mine that much.

PS: If you are running a virtual CD Drive program such as Daemon Tools, you will need to disable all drives in this too!

I didn't try seeing what would happen if I just left a CD in the drive all the time. Not sure if the polling would still occur.