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I recently had some problems with my computer (see installed Xubuntu 10.10 and now I can't start WIndows XP) and then after I got my computer back from the shop, It was running fine for a couple of days, and then I got Carbonite and backed up my data.
It took about a week (55 GB of data uploaded over a 256KB/S connection) and then after the backup I noticed that my hard drive runs at seemingly random times, especially when I am not using the computer. (hard disk light turns on, grinding sound emanates from the computer, the usual). The thing is, this happens when I don't have any processes running that access the disk (at least knowingly) so I was wondering if perhaps Carbonite running in the background would do that, or if there is something else that would be causing this.

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You could try disabling Carbonite temporarily and see if the problem goes away. – Craig H Apr 20 '11 at 16:00
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Open task manager, keep it open (processes Tab), tick "show processes from all users", then when hard drive activity starts see if you can spot CPU usage by any of the processes listed, also if you see cisvc.exe running this is the windows file indexing service running and would explain your hard drive activity.

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the thing is, this happens most when I am away from the computer, such as when the screen saver is on – Nate Koppenhaver Apr 20 '11 at 18:10
@nate if it is happening when you are away it is most likely carbonite. Probably what is happening: it is detecting that the computer is idle for X minutes so it starts backing up your data. – Not Kyle stop stalking me Apr 20 '11 at 18:58
yep, it was carbonite. It started happening when the screen saver wasn't on and I pulled up taskman and saw that the Carbonite process was the only one (besides System Idle Process) that was using CPU – Nate Koppenhaver Apr 20 '11 at 21:48
System Idle Process is not a process actually, it indicates unused cpu cycles, 100% means nothing is using the CPU. Glad you found the culprit. – Moab Apr 20 '11 at 22:13

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