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I'm running Drives Meter which is a Windows sidebar gadget that monitors all drives and their activity.

Is that a bad idea? Could it cause more reads which would shorten the drive life span?

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No worse than running Windows 7. – Daniel R Hicks Mar 10 '12 at 20:12
Also, if you have a HDD, that beast will spin for thousand hours without any failure. Even with an SSD... just use your computer. It won't fail. (Always keep a backup!) – Shiki Mar 10 '12 at 20:27
up vote 2 down vote accepted

No, this shouldn't lower the life of your disk.

It should not cause extra reads, most monitors use S.M.A.R.T. data, you can google it if you want, but the bottom line is it doesn't cause problems.

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