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  • What is my hard drive doing?

    Occasionally throughout the day, my hard drive will begin to work like crazy. Perhaps Windows is updating itself, or something. Maybe it's depositing all my money into Bill Gates' bank account. I don't know what it's doing!

    I have a Compaq with an Athlon 64 processor. 512 mb ram. Windows XP home.

    I notice this most when I'm playing VMK because it makes the game "choppy" but I don't think VMK is causing this. Rather, it's just making it obvious. This phenomenon happens even when I'm not on VMK.

    So, my question is: What is my hard drive doing, even when nothing much is happening on my computer? Why does it need to clickety-clickety-click for several minutes?
    "Yesterday, a man walked up to me and said, 'Isn't it a shame that Walt Disney couldn't be here to see this?' and I said, "He did see this, that's why it's here."
    -Art Linkletter July 17, 2005-


    When you wish upon a star your dreams come true.


  • #2
    Re: What is my hard drive doing?

    the windows update is a possibility, if you have it set to automatically download and install the updates.

    you know what you should do: next time it's choppy like that, hit Ctrl+Alt+Del to bring up the Windows Task Manager. Click on the Processes tab and you can see if anything's hogging your CPU time. If you pull it up now, for example, you'll probably see (scrolling down to the bottom) that System Idle Process is using something like 97 to 99% of your CPU time (assuming you don't have any number crunching going on in the background). When something else is using the processor, that will show up as a non-zero number next to that process.

    Don't click the "End Process" button unless you know what you're doing! Whatever is running might be important. I'm just saying you might be able to identify what's making your hdd run all of a sudden. My first thought was that it might be your antivirus.

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    • #3
      Re: What is my hard drive doing?

      Every three days, Windows calls the ProcessIdleTasks API (after your computer is idle for about 15 minutes). This API re-arranges Boot files, and does a mini-defrag for boot performance.

      Originally posted by Microsoft Knowlege Base
      The file placement optimization, which is done no more often than once every three days, is an example of a task that is carried out when the system is deemed to be idle. System Restore and other features of Windows XP also attempt to defer some work until the system is deemed to be idle. There are also some done-once-after-setup work items that also operate under the Idle Task Scheduling mechanisms.
      All of these "idle tasks" are controllable by a system API in advapi32.dll, ProcessIdleTasks. The APIs sole purpose is to allow benchmarks a simple way to force any pending idle tasks to be executed immediately, without having to wait a lengthy period of time.
      -Monorail Man

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      • #4
        Re: What is my hard drive doing?

        Thanks for the replies. While I'm typing this, I also happen to have VMK open in IE. It appears my CPU time is about evenly divided between Internet Explorer.EXE and System Idle Process. Now, I have no clue what that means, there it is.

        Also, in the Applications tab, I see the "Compaq Connections Agent" is running. I also have no clue what this is... but almost everytime IE freezes or the computer crashes (which really isn't very often) this program is usually the one that is not responding.

        So, the short answer is: Windows is probably just doing some dusting and cleaning in the background?
        "Yesterday, a man walked up to me and said, 'Isn't it a shame that Walt Disney couldn't be here to see this?' and I said, "He did see this, that's why it's here."
        -Art Linkletter July 17, 2005-


        When you wish upon a star your dreams come true.

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