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When I leave my PC on for a few minutes and I leave, the monitor shuts down. When I come back, I notice that the Hard Disk light is either 'on' or blinking at a furious pace. As soon as I touch the mouse or the keyboard, the light goes back to normal.

So something is stressing the hard disk while I'm away, and because it is already a one year old laptop, I fear for the safety of the disk. How do I find out what the culprit is and disable it?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Most likely this is the Indexing Service having a blast on your computer. It goes through all of your files and puts them in an index, so that when you use the search function in Windows, it takes 2 seconds to look it up instead of 50 (example). The indexing only runs when the computer is idle, so that would explain why it stops when you give input (move your mouse).

Try disabling the Indexing Service. I wouldn't really recommend it, but it will relieve your hard drive.

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Thank you. I did not want to mess inside services.msc, so I simply removed everything but the start menu from the Index. Hopefully Windows will now stop beating up my HDD :) – Aditya M P Jul 31 '12 at 15:43
This worked, thanks. – Aditya M P Aug 3 '12 at 0:41

I use SysInternals' "Process Monitor" tool for this. It will show every disk access, including the process responsible.

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Thanks... I have it installed, but it shows the offending process as 'svchost.exe' most of the time which is terribly uninformative (that's just Window$, of course, I know). – Aditya M P Jul 31 '12 at 15:29

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