Sunday, 4 April 2010

Whodunit: Which Program Is Accessing The Disc?

Sometimes my disc activity LED goes berserk while my programs aren't really doing anything. How can I find out which program is accessing the disc?

Perhaps you already had a look at the Processes tab in Windows Task Manager, which you can bring up by pressing the Control, Shift, and Esc keys simultaneously.

Perhaps you noticed that it shows you how much memory each process is using, and how much CPU power it is consuming, and that you can sort the data by any chosen column by clicking the column header.

Perhaps you also noticed that no disc information is to be seen there.

First, in case you didn't know: a process is the unique execution of a particular program at a particular time. If you start the Notepad program twice, one program has been launched but two distinct processes have been created.

Back to your question. Click the View menu, and then 'Select Columns...'. In the window that pops up, check the boxes for 'I/O Reads' and 'I/O Writes' and then click OK to close that window. 'I/O' means 'Input/Output', where Input is when you read from disc (in this case) and 'Output' is when you write to it.

You will now see two new columns in Windows Task Manager - you guessed it: 'I/O Reads' and 'I/O Writes'. Sort on either column by clicking the header, and you'll find out which process is harrassing your disc!

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