Re: Hard drive light almost constantly on even when sitting idle

Discussion in 'Windows XP New Users' started by Stan Brown, Dec 24, 2010.

  1. Stan Brown

    Stan Brown Guest

    On Thu, 23 Dec 2010 19:26:00 -0600, Jim wrote:
    >
    > I noticed my hard drive light is now almost constantly on, no matter
    > if nothing is running, with just the desktop showing.
    >
    > Doing CTL ALT DELETE I see all kinds of processes running, and tried
    > to look them up doing google search, but can't find anything that
    > I can recognize that might cause this. My laptop running the same
    > XP Professional doesn't do that, when you stop running programs the
    > hard drive activity light stops.
    >
    > How can I find out what is causing this and remove it from my
    > system? I tried stopping various processes but am afraid to
    > terminate too many for fear of what might happen.
    >
    > Would a list of the processes running in the Task Manager help
    > in diagnosing this problem? I'd hate to have to do a complete
    > re-install again, it takes days.


    Hi. I used to have XP, but now I have Windows 7, so I'm not sure this
    will be helpful. But since no one else has replied ...

    On the Performance tab of Task Manager, look near the bottom for a
    button labeled Resource Monitor. If you have it, click it for a
    utility that shows disk usage by process on one of its tabs. That is
    a bit more focused that simply looking up every process on the
    Processes tab of Task Manager, though the latter is possible too.

    I had a similar issue in Windows 7, which turned out to be
    TrustedInstaller. But I believe that was introduced in Vista, so it
    would not be applicable to you.

    However, you still might be experiencing Windows searching for
    updates. You could try changing that to non-automatic. IIRC, you
    open the Security Center and click "change how Windows search for
    updates" -- I'm sorry I can't be more precise.

    It should go without saying, but I'll say it -- have you done a
    thorough malware scan recently, with definitions up to date?


    --
    Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
    http://OakRoadSystems.com
    Shikata ga nai...
     
    Stan Brown, Dec 24, 2010
    #1
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  2. Stan Brown

    Tim Meddick Guest

    I don't think the button you mentioned exists in the XP Task Manager - you
    may have been using Win7 to long now to remember.

    Under the Performance tab are a Resource Monitor - style "graphical"
    bar-meter to show real-time usage for both CPU strain (& running history)
    and Page File usage (& running history).

    Also, there are four boxes beneath the two "graphical" meters, displaying
    constantly updating numerical values for :

    Totals
    Physical Memory (K)
    Commit Charge (K)
    Kernel Memory (K)

    ....but again, no "buttons".....

    There are no "buttons" under the Resource tab, whatsoever!



    On another related matter, perhaps the [free] utility from sysinternals may
    be of some [diagnostic] help here...

    It's the "Disk Monitor" utility, and once run, can be minimized to the
    system tray and acts just like any "Hard-drive lamp" on any PC. Appearing
    red for current disk i/o "writes", green for current "reads" and yellow for
    "no disk i/o".

    Once copied from it's ZP-file to any place included in your %path%
    variable, you can start it already minimised to the system tray from a
    registry "Run-Key" command :

    diskmon.exe /l

    Download the Disk Monitor utility from the sysinternals website at :
    http://download.sysinternals.com/Files/DiskMon.zip

    ==

    Cheers, Tim Meddick, Peckham, London. :)




    "Stan Brown" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Thu, 23 Dec 2010 19:26:00 -0600, Jim wrote:
    >>
    >> I noticed my hard drive light is now almost constantly on, no matter
    >> if nothing is running, with just the desktop showing.
    >>
    >> Doing CTL ALT DELETE I see all kinds of processes running, and tried
    >> to look them up doing google search, but can't find anything that
    >> I can recognize that might cause this. My laptop running the same
    >> XP Professional doesn't do that, when you stop running programs the
    >> hard drive activity light stops.
    >>
    >> How can I find out what is causing this and remove it from my
    >> system? I tried stopping various processes but am afraid to
    >> terminate too many for fear of what might happen.
    >>
    >> Would a list of the processes running in the Task Manager help
    >> in diagnosing this problem? I'd hate to have to do a complete
    >> re-install again, it takes days.

    >
    > Hi. I used to have XP, but now I have Windows 7, so I'm not sure this
    > will be helpful. But since no one else has replied ...
    >
    > On the Performance tab of Task Manager, look near the bottom for a
    > button labeled Resource Monitor. If you have it, click it for a
    > utility that shows disk usage by process on one of its tabs. That is
    > a bit more focused that simply looking up every process on the
    > Processes tab of Task Manager, though the latter is possible too.
    >
    > I had a similar issue in Windows 7, which turned out to be
    > TrustedInstaller. But I believe that was introduced in Vista, so it
    > would not be applicable to you.
    >
    > However, you still might be experiencing Windows searching for
    > updates. You could try changing that to non-automatic. IIRC, you
    > open the Security Center and click "change how Windows search for
    > updates" -- I'm sorry I can't be more precise.
    >
    > It should go without saying, but I'll say it -- have you done a
    > thorough malware scan recently, with definitions up to date?
    >
    >
    > --
    > Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
    > http://OakRoadSystems.com
    > Shikata ga nai...
     
    Tim Meddick, Dec 25, 2010
    #2
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  3. In message <>, Jim
    <> writes:
    []
    >Merry Christmas. That sounds like a great little utility, it
    >would at least tell me if the CPU is trying to READ or to WRITE
    >the drive. When the drive light is on, there is no change in PAGE
    >FILE


    Does the system run slow(ly)? Does the page file figure approach (or
    exceed) the amount of fitted RAM?

    >or CPU USAGE usually doesn't change much, nor is there any NETWORK
    >activity either, strange. I disabled the Anti Virus and the Spyware
    >programs, no luck. Strange part I have the exact same stuff running
    >on my Thinkpad, and the drive light rarely comes on unless doing some
    >other operation.

    []
    I have come across systems in/on which the disc light _does_ seem to be
    on all the time, even when disc access isn't actually occurring. Can you
    actually hear whether the disc is being accessed?
    --
    J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985 MB++G.5AL-IS-P--Ch++(p)Ar@T0H+Sh0!:`)DNAf

    On the other hand, you have different fingers.
     
    J. P. Gilliver (John), Dec 25, 2010
    #3
  4. Stan Brown

    Tim Meddick Guest

    While it is true that the installed and running Operating System [OS] can
    make your machine give "false" readings for the hard-drive lamp, you should
    at least be able to tell whether or not the circuitry for the indicator is
    intact by observing disk activity shown by it as the system boots-up from a
    "cold-start".

    A "cold-start" being one where the OS has been shut down entirely and not
    put into one of the available "sleep-states" or "suspend-mode".

    As the OS has not started yet, the HD indicator lamp should give true
    readings, initially, as the system boots. Only when the system starts
    regularly accessing the page-file, should you expect to see any bogus
    readings due to your OS.

    Making such observations should at least tell you if there's a greater
    problem with your machine.

    Also, making comparisons with the output of the "Disk Monitor" utility and
    your HD activity lamp should give you further clues as to what is
    happening.

    (The URL for Disk Monitor utility is again; )
    http://download.sysinternals.com/Files/DiskMon.zip

    ==

    Cheers, Tim Meddick, Peckham, London. :)




    "Jim" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Sat, 25 Dec 2010 00:31:42 -0000, "Tim Meddick"
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >>I don't think the button you mentioned exists in the XP Task Manager -
    >>you
    >>may have been using Win7 to long now to remember.
    >>
    >>Under the Performance tab are a Resource Monitor - style "graphical"
    >>bar-meter to show real-time usage for both CPU strain (& running history)
    >>and Page File usage (& running history).
    >>
    >>Also, there are four boxes beneath the two "graphical" meters, displaying
    >>constantly updating numerical values for :
    >>
    >>Totals
    >>Physical Memory (K)
    >>Commit Charge (K)
    >>Kernel Memory (K)
    >>
    >>...but again, no "buttons".....
    >>
    >>There are no "buttons" under the Resource tab, whatsoever!
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >>On another related matter, perhaps the [free] utility from sysinternals
    >>may
    >>be of some [diagnostic] help here...
    >>
    >>It's the "Disk Monitor" utility, and once run, can be minimized to the
    >>system tray and acts just like any "Hard-drive lamp" on any PC.
    >>Appearing
    >>red for current disk i/o "writes", green for current "reads" and yellow
    >>for
    >>"no disk i/o".
    >>
    >>Once copied from it's ZP-file to any place included in your %path%
    >>variable, you can start it already minimised to the system tray from a
    >>registry "Run-Key" command :
    >>
    >>diskmon.exe /l
    >>
    >>Download the Disk Monitor utility from the sysinternals website at :
    >>http://download.sysinternals.com/Files/DiskMon.zip
    >>
    >>==
    >>
    >>Cheers, Tim Meddick, Peckham, London. :)
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >>"Stan Brown" <> wrote in message
    >>news:...
    >>> On Thu, 23 Dec 2010 19:26:00 -0600, Jim wrote:
    >>>>
    >>>> I noticed my hard drive light is now almost constantly on, no matter
    >>>> if nothing is running, with just the desktop showing.
    >>>>
    >>>> Doing CTL ALT DELETE I see all kinds of processes running, and tried
    >>>> to look them up doing google search, but can't find anything that
    >>>> I can recognize that might cause this. My laptop running the same
    >>>> XP Professional doesn't do that, when you stop running programs the
    >>>> hard drive activity light stops.
    >>>>
    >>>> How can I find out what is causing this and remove it from my
    >>>> system? I tried stopping various processes but am afraid to
    >>>> terminate too many for fear of what might happen.
    >>>>
    >>>> Would a list of the processes running in the Task Manager help
    >>>> in diagnosing this problem? I'd hate to have to do a complete
    >>>> re-install again, it takes days.
    >>>
    >>> Hi. I used to have XP, but now I have Windows 7, so I'm not sure this
    >>> will be helpful. But since no one else has replied ...
    >>>
    >>> On the Performance tab of Task Manager, look near the bottom for a
    >>> button labeled Resource Monitor. If you have it, click it for a
    >>> utility that shows disk usage by process on one of its tabs. That is
    >>> a bit more focused that simply looking up every process on the
    >>> Processes tab of Task Manager, though the latter is possible too.
    >>>
    >>> I had a similar issue in Windows 7, which turned out to be
    >>> TrustedInstaller. But I believe that was introduced in Vista, so it
    >>> would not be applicable to you.
    >>>
    >>> However, you still might be experiencing Windows searching for
    >>> updates. You could try changing that to non-automatic. IIRC, you
    >>> open the Security Center and click "change how Windows search for
    >>> updates" -- I'm sorry I can't be more precise.
    >>>
    >>> It should go without saying, but I'll say it -- have you done a
    >>> thorough malware scan recently, with definitions up to date?
    >>>
    >>>
    >>> --
    >>> Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
    >>> http://OakRoadSystems.com
    >>> Shikata ga nai...

    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > Tim;
    >
    > Merry Christmas. That sounds like a great little utility, it
    > would at least tell me if the CPU is trying to READ or to WRITE
    > the drive. When the drive light is on, there is no change in PAGE
    > FILE
    > or CPU USAGE usually doesn't change much, nor is there any NETWORK
    > activity either, strange. I disabled the Anti Virus and the Spyware
    > programs, no luck. Strange part I have the exact same stuff running
    > on my Thinkpad, and the drive light rarely comes on unless doing some
    > other operation.
    >
    > Jim
    >
     
    Tim Meddick, Dec 26, 2010
    #4
  5. Stan Brown

    Tim Meddick Guest

    Not sure why you wrote "not sure which drive it is, there are 4 in the
    machine" ? as in the display panel (double-click on the system-try icon) it
    clearly states under the column-heading "Disk" which drive is responsible
    for that entry (numbered 0 to whatever).

    Obviously, whatever drive you have installed your XP installation to (i.e
    the SYSTEM drive) is going to be "by far and away" the most active,
    normally, any other drives will only put in an appearance once in a very
    rare while.

    Also, there should be an equal [on average] number of read and write i/o
    operations listed in the output [display] window. But if you find that, as
    you seemed to be saying, there is a heavy "bias" toward just "reads" or
    just all "write" operations try waiting a while and allowing the system to
    "move on" and "calm down" than look again at the current output over two or
    three minutes.

    *NB The output [display] window does *not* capture any i/o data all the
    while it is in "minimized" "Disk Tray Light" - mode.

    ==

    Cheers, Tim Meddick, Peckham, London. :)




    "Jim" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Sat, 25 Dec 2010 00:31:42 -0000, "Tim Meddick"
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >>I don't think the button you mentioned exists in the XP Task Manager -
    >>you
    >>may have been using Win7 to long now to remember.
    >>
    >>Under the Performance tab are a Resource Monitor - style "graphical"
    >>bar-meter to show real-time usage for both CPU strain (& running history)
    >>and Page File usage (& running history).
    >>
    >>Also, there are four boxes beneath the two "graphical" meters, displaying
    >>constantly updating numerical values for :
    >>
    >>Totals
    >>Physical Memory (K)
    >>Commit Charge (K)
    >>Kernel Memory (K)
    >>
    >>...but again, no "buttons".....
    >>
    >>There are no "buttons" under the Resource tab, whatsoever!
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >>On another related matter, perhaps the [free] utility from sysinternals
    >>may
    >>be of some [diagnostic] help here...
    >>
    >>It's the "Disk Monitor" utility, and once run, can be minimized to the
    >>system tray and acts just like any "Hard-drive lamp" on any PC.
    >>Appearing
    >>red for current disk i/o "writes", green for current "reads" and yellow
    >>for
    >>"no disk i/o".
    >>
    >>Once copied from it's ZP-file to any place included in your %path%
    >>variable, you can start it already minimised to the system tray from a
    >>registry "Run-Key" command :
    >>
    >>diskmon.exe /l
    >>
    >>Download the Disk Monitor utility from the sysinternals website at :
    >>http://download.sysinternals.com/Files/DiskMon.zip
    >>
    >>==
    >>
    >>Cheers, Tim Meddick, Peckham, London. :)
    >>
    >>
    >>

    >
    > Tim;
    >
    > I installed the Disk Monotor and can see no direct correlation between
    > the light panel light, the DISK MON light, and the log written by the
    > Disk Mon program, and the activity in Task Manager. The program is
    > writing occasionally to 5 of the same sectors on the hard drive (not
    > sure which drive it is, there are 4 in the machine). THe same data is
    > apparently written over and over again, at random intervals, but not
    > in synch with the log written by DIsk Mon, and they are always WRITEs,
    > I see no READs.
    >
    > I'' have to read the HELP files on the program and see if they help.
    >
    > Jim
    >
     
    Tim Meddick, Dec 29, 2010
    #5
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