My PC shows 100% disk usage though Task Manager lists down only 0.4Mbps as the total usage and the PC freezes.

At other times, I can see disk I/O going upto 7 Mbps, but PC does not freeze.

I have drilled down into Resource Monitor as well, but I don't find anything that is really using too much disk.

How can I track down the culprit program? I am quite sure it's not a trojan or a virus.

I am not able to upload a screenshot as I don't yet have 10 points on this site :-(

  • Mbps is the network utilization. Disk IO speed is never measured in Mbps. 0.5Mbps is 128KB/s which is even slower than USB 1.1 pendrives
    – phuclv
    May 19, 2019 at 5:31
  • Quite possible on a failing hard drive. I’m observing IO speed of 3-10 mbps on a faulty laptop. Aug 21, 2019 at 6:01

2 Answers 2


It really depends on what you are accessing. This is precisely why copying thousands of files across locations is slow (have a look here).

Thus, if you are actually performing operations where you need to access files spread across the hard drive, you are going to get much more utilization even when the transfer speed is actually very low, and in other situations where you have contiguous data, you will have much lower utilization of I/O even with higher speeds. Thus, it is all about what operations you are performing.

Another reason, as it has already been mentioned is that the disk could be heavily fragmented, and thus to access any file, the disk will have to spin much more for accessing the same data. Thus, my suggestion would be to defragment the drive thoroughly.

If this doesn't work, you can try a reinstall of the OS, since it could also be malware.

The final reason, again as mentioned before, could be a failing drive, in which case you can't really do much. Try checking it for bad sectors and such.

  • 1
    Hello. Due to rejected edit, I write it as comment: I also suggest maybe to replace a failing HDD in addition to backing up any data immediately.
    – neverMind9
    Oct 6, 2018 at 11:09

Regardless of transfer rate, 100% disk usage indicates that the disk is working at maximum capacity and other IO operations will need to wait until the load subsides.

Open resource monitor (resmon in run command) and go to disk tab you can then sort by read/write speed (bytes per second) in both 'Processes with Disk Activity' and 'Disk Activity' sections

Disk Activity section will let you know about a specific file a process is trying to read or write which is choking the IO.

normally this behavior is an indication of your drive being heavily fragmented. Try defragmenting your drive. It may take hours depending on the level of your fragmentation.

Another indication of this behavior is that the HDD might be failing, but that is unlikely since I've noticed in this case the transfer rate is usually stuck at 0.1Mbps and always on specific files.

If defragmenting does not fix your HDD performance problems, you might be looking at a HDD thats about to fail. Backup your data ASAP.

Also note that you need to have atleast 20% free space on your partition as recommended by windows (or was it 15%) for optimal performance

  • Ok. I will take a look at these suggestions and revert. Jan 27, 2017 at 11:26

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