Why hard drive is active when it appears nothing is going on

By WJAndy ·
Two issues that are a bit annoying:
1. The computer is idle, there is no traffic indicating on the moden but the computer all of a sudden indicates that the hard driver is doing something. The sound, if magnified, is like a team of horses galloping.

2. There are times when the modem indicates there is down or upload activity when nothing is scheduled to be running.

Is there any kind of utility available that will monitor uninitiated activity and display what is going on?



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Swapping, timer tasks - or something worse

by oldbaritone In reply to Why hard drive is active ...

You didn't mention the system, but most OS's have a virtual memory system, and they swap things to and from the hard drive from time-to-time.

Also, there are system background tasks that run automatically from time to time.

You may have auto-update enabled for some products, like anti-virus or anti-spamware. These often check for updates during "quiet" times to minimize performance impact.

OR - it could be virus/malware/spyware or any of that nasty stuff.

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by WJAndy In reply to Swapping, timer tasks - o ...

System is pretty well protected with Norton and all activity, (scans, carbonite etc..) are scheduled. I lived in Ithaca in 60's, so I guess that makes me an old (something or other) too. :) Enjoy the day.

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Normal Activity

by TheChas In reply to Why hard drive is active ...

As oldbaritone stated, there are any number of tasks that can and do generate hard drive and network traffic on a periodic basis.

For a Windows system, every icon on the right side of your taskbar represents a program that is running.

You can also open up task manager and look at the list of running processes. 30 to 50 processes running with no application programs open is not unusual. Each process is like the old DOS TSR programs that ran in the background.

As far as network traffic, anti-virus update checks are the most common activity. In addition, many of the programs you install on your computer periodically check for updates.

I have a defrag utility that only adds a taskbar icon when it is running.

If you have your anti-virus software set to perform periodic scans, they will run without opening any program windows.

If you have been following safe Internet practices, and keep your software and Anti-Virus up to date, the activity you described should not be a concern.


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by WJAndy In reply to Normal Activity

At times I think I am paranoid about safety and security and as far as I know, everything is up to date. I'll try the task manager and see if that provides any answers. Thanks again.

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If you have indexing turned on that could explain HD activity.

by Ron K. In reply to Why hard drive is active ...

It usually runs or can be setup to run when there is no other activity. <br>
If you have recently added music to WMP's music library in Windows Media Player I believe that the default is for it to retrieve additional media information from the Internet, album covers and whatever else goes with it. If it's a large music collection and it's never been updated it can take a while, large being more than 100GB or so. That could also explain Internet activity.

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by WJAndy In reply to If you have indexing turn ...

I'll look into the indexing. I guess the HD activity when there is no internet traffic is what bugs me. Thanks.

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Anything else that runs on a schedule, or

by seanferd In reply to Thanks

when the system is otherwise idle: AV scans, defragmenters, or anything in the Task scheduler may be creating the HDD activity, as well as general housekeeping things the OS might do.

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by WJAndy In reply to Anything else that runs o ...

I sure hope you find where you are in Ohio. I'd hate to be lost there.:)

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by seanferd In reply to Thanks


<i>I</i> know where I am, most of the time, at least geographically.

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