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


S

Stan Brown

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?
 
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T

Tim Meddick

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. :)
 
J

J. P. Gilliver (John)

In message <[email protected]>, Jim
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?
 
T

Tim Meddick

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 said:
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 said:
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?




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
 
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T

Tim Meddick

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 said:
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
 

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