Hard Disk At High Utilization? Find The Culprit.


If your PC seems to be running slowly, one common culprit is that something is accessing your hard disk. Even if you only have a moderately powerful PC, the CPU will be hundreds of times faster than the disk drive when it comes to accessing information. So if one of your programs is continually accessing the disk, the CPU will simply have to wait. Which means your PC won't run as fast as it should.

The easy way to check whether a program is hogging your disk drive is simply to watch the disk LED indicator. If it comes on for long periods when you're not aware that any disk-intensive activity should be happening (such as indexing large files), then you need to investigate further.

I've featured the Process Monitor program in this column before. It's a superb piece of freeware from Sysinternals, which is a company that Microsoft purchased a few years ago. You may be aware that Process Monitor can capture all the events and activity that Windows performs, and with a typical PC generating hundreds of thousands of events every minute it amounts to a lot of data! But another superb feature of Process Monitor is that it can filter those events and tell you the quantity of events which have been generated by each file on your disk. In other words, if there's one file which is being accessed more than any others, it'll give you a major clue as to why your disk drive is so busy.

Instead of spelling out the details of how to do this, I'll point you to an excellent article on the subject. You'll find it at https://askleo.com/i_have_constant_disk_activity_and_i_dont_know_why_how... while the Process Monitor program itself can be downloaded from https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/Library/bb896645.aspx

Process Monitor is free, and is a 1 MB download.

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While Process Monitor is an excellent tool and that's a very good article on using it, it may be a lot easier to use the Windows Resource Monitor. This can be opened from the bottom of the Performance tab in Task Manager or by typing the first few letters of resource into the start box which is the quickest way to get a look at what's going on.