Hard drive light constantly flashing ,reading hard drive during id

Discussion in 'Windows Vista Hardware' started by Sid, Nov 5, 2007.

  1. Sid

    Sid Guest

    I need some answers to a question, actually an answer or opinion. I have a
    dual boot machine XP/Vista Home Prem. , This is a pretty fast machine with
    plenty of horsepower to run Vista. Gigabyte Mobo, Athlon 64 X2 4400+ chip,
    4gb OCZ 800mhz. RAM, plenty of cooling and I'm not overclocking the processor
    or anything like that. During system IDLE the HD light is constantly flashing
    and I can hear it reading the HD. I have a IDE 160GB primary HD cut in half
    and each partition has plenty of extra space after all software was
    installed. A secondary SATA 300mbs 320 GB drive for DATA. It did not do this
    after I initially installed both systems and got them up and running using
    Vistas boot manager with Vista as the default.
    I just need to know where to start looking. I have had this problem before
    but only when I did not have enough system resources on the HD or RAM when I
    had a dual boot OS/2 / Windows 95 machine long ago. OS/2 was just too much
    for it and it constantly read the HD, I assume reading and writing to the
    sys.pagefile due to lack of enough memory.
    Anyone know where to start looking with this much information? If you need
    to know all of the software installed I can get that together with no problem.
    Thanks In Advance for the help, Sid
    Sid, Nov 5, 2007
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  2. The hard drive is working constantly because Vista is indexing the
    drive. It should stop after a few days, depending on how many files you
    have. It makes searches a lot faster. But, initially, you will notice a
    lot of hard drive activity.
    Dustin Harper, Nov 12, 2007
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  3. Sid

    Sid Saxon Guest

    Thanks for the reply. I have been running Vista on the machine for a few
    months. Would that still be what is happening?
    I thought about turning indexing services off. So I did anhd it cut down
    most of it. Now it is just a short flash about every 1 to 2 sec.
    Sid Saxon, Nov 13, 2007
  4. Sid

    John Tuttle Guest

    You might also try stopping the Superfetch service. Set it to manual
    start instead of automatic.
    John Tuttle, Nov 19, 2007
  5. Sid

    Justin Guest

    I have this same situation on a fresh install of XP Pro - no drivers or any
    new software yet. I've haven't seen this on any of the workstations at work.
    It looks like many people have this problem, by looking at other posts.
    Did you find a way to stop the HDD writes?

    Justin, Nov 25, 2007
  6. Sid

    4evrnyt Guest

    I am having the same issue with Vista 64-bit but I've turned of
    indexing and superfetch and the hard drive is still running all th
    time when I'm not doing anything on the computer.

    What is there to disable to get it to stop doing this
    4evrnyt, May 11, 2008
  7. Sid

    Wandering Guest

    You don't stop it!

    Vista is nearly always doing something. It is much easier to get used to it.
    It is not particularly harmful, and mostly it is beneficial. It may be
    managing a paging file, or it may be tracking program usage so that most
    used programs will be loaded on the fastest part of the disk during defrag,
    it may be defragging, or perhaps Windows Defender is running, or the upgrade
    manager, or the reliability tracking indicator, or it may be making shadow
    copies, or phoning home, or checking for updates, or checking for problem
    solutions, or.... You get the idea! It may not even be Vista running, as
    today nearly every program wants to check for updates.

    Instead of stopping what you are doing to run all these utilities, Vista
    runs them in the background with no intervention on your part and also
    almost no impact on the processor, and you go on about your business with no
    Wandering, May 11, 2008
  8. Sid

    Wandering Guest

    On another point, you generally run a 64 bit version for improved
    performance. Turning off prefetch is a sure way to slow down the system. If
    you are performance oriented, enable it.

    Have fun.
    Wandering, May 11, 2008
  9. How much memory do you have? If you have 2GB or less then I am not
    surprised the hard drive runs constantly and it still will no matter what
    you turn off. It is paging to virtual memory on the hard drive. The
    solution is to add more memory so that the system does not have to keep
    moving things back and forth.
    Colin Barnhorst, May 11, 2008
  10. Sid

    4evrnyt Guest


    it usually starts when the computer is just sitting idle. Internet
    Explorer doesnt' seem to interrupt it but If I start a game it usually
    stops. If I go into sleep mode, the hard drive will continue to run
    almost immediately after waking it up. i also have turned off
    4evrnyt, May 11, 2008
  11. Use the Performance and Reliability Monitor in Adminstrative Tools to get an
    idea of what is going on with the drive activity. This gave me useful info
    and a suggested course to take in a similar situation. I found out that the
    system was spending excessive time writing to the page file and followed the
    suggestion in the report.
    Colin Barnhorst, May 12, 2008
  12. Sid

    IkidUnot Guest

    I've seen McAffee do this on my computer from time to time. Regardless
    though, you can find out by using something to see what's using resources. A
    good example: At Sysinternals.com you can get Process Explorer. It's a
    great little utility to see what's going on. Try it, let us know...
    IkidUnot, May 14, 2008
  13. I upgraded my Acer Aspire from 1Gig to 2 Gig when I purchased it and have
    not had any low memory issues that I can detect. I guess it depends what
    software you run and how memory intensive the software is. But it is amazing
    how much memory you need considering my first 386 computer only had 1MB and
    I thought upgrading to 2MB was cutting edge!

    James Truelove, May 17, 2008
  14. Sid

    rb Guest

    Close all applications. Run Perfmon. Click on Disk. Click on disk
    Write. If your system sits "idle" long enough you should eventually
    see disk write drop off to nothing. If not, look to see what is causing
    disk IO. Turning off Superfetch and indexing on your fixed disk
    drive(s) kills lots of disk IO without effecting system performance.

    The "hard drive light" can indicate more than just fixed disk activity.
    If your case IO light keeps blinking about once a second after disk
    write activity stops then there is no disk activity - the problem may be
    the SATA/IDE chipset IO polling related to your CD/DVD drive. If this
    is the case disconnect the SATA or IDE connection to your CD/DVD drive.
    Does this reduce of eliminate "apparent" IO activity?

    What is your motherboard brand/model and the SATA/IDE chipset(s) on the
    rb, Jun 17, 2008
  15. Sid

    Logoschild Guest

    RB, you seem to have given the best advice here, sir. I am having the
    same issue as described above--the drive light blinks about every second
    when nothing is apparently going on and no apps are visibly running
    (other than whatever background apps are running). This is occurring on
    a brand-new, virus-free Toshiba laptop with a P7350 Duo 2 processor with
    4 GB of DDR3 RAM and Vista 64. Perfmon shows the activity and also
    shows a constant processor util of about 4%-7%. The used resources
    (memory) stat is about 30% (so, apparently, Vista is a major resource
    hog, I guess). The only thing that appears to be accessing the drive is
    the operating system, but I may be missing something because it's hard
    to look at all that in a glance and I haven't searched out every line to
    see exactly what it is. What say you for my situation?

    P.S. I have also noticed that the mouse (touchpad) pointer appears to
    skip a beat every now and then and/or appear to freeze momentarily. I
    just plugged in an external mouse to see if it does the same with the
    mouse (to determine if the problem is with the touchpad or my
    comfortability with it rather than a system performance problem).

    Thanks in advance,
    Logos Child
    Logoschild, Sep 20, 2008
  16. Sid

    Curious Guest

    If it is a brand new Vista system then it will take it about a week to
    complete indexing the driver for rapid retrieval of data by Vista. The
    indexing process only runs when other applications are not running which is
    exactly the symptom you are reporting.
    Curious, Sep 20, 2008
  17. Sid

    Wandering Guest

    Lots of stuff run in the background with Vista. It is not likely you will
    ever get to a point that the disk light does not flash occasionally. It
    indexes the drives, defrags the drives, relocates most used stuff to the
    fastest part of the drive, it builds lists of most used apps, it checks for
    updates, it phones home for validation, ..... The list is much longer. The
    point is that it is NOT XP, and don't expect to make it act like XP.
    Flashing drive lights are what Vista does.

    Good luck.
    Wandering, Sep 20, 2008
  18. Sid

    jimojimo Guest

    It is the CD or DVD ROM.

    Try going to the Safely Remove hardware (even though it may not be
    usb) and do Stop on the CD or DVD listed.

    If you don't see it there and want to verify that this is indeed it
    just disconnect the ribbon cable, reboot. You'll notice the blinking i

    I don't know exactly why--I think on some OS's and some DVD/CD units
    the os constantly checks it--it might be as the DVD unit get
    older--i've had this happen twice--always after about a year from when
    got the dvd unit.
    jimojimo, Mar 27, 2009
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