This is more about curiosity rather than practical advice. I have an old dying SATA HDD, has some bad clusters and can't be fixed. I plugged it into my computer to copy some data off it, all went well, this was a week ago. Now I still have it connected, basically I just got busy and haven't made the time to yank it out.

Now the odd thing I'm curious about is that ever since I plugged it in, my computer has been sorta soft freezing every now and then. By freezing I mean that whatever program I'm using becomes nonresponsive for a minute and I can hear the HDD making noise, then the noise stops and things resume as normal. The thing is though - none of what I do has anything to do with that HDD!

The reason why I blame windows for this is because this drive is from a centos server to which I often remote into and this kind of freezing was not there, I certainly would have noticed if that was the case. On the centos server, it would only freeze sometimes when accessing the drive directly, never while doing random unrelated stuff.

So how come windows is triggering this freeze so frequently that it makes me think it must be accessing that drive nonstop?

  • Dying hard disks can prevent system post at startup if they're too far gone so I'd get rid of that soon. However also like they are saying windows is kind of noisy. If a system thread is waiting from feedback from the drive it could be hanging something else. Jun 10 at 17:52

3 Answers 3


Windows checks regularly all the mounted disks for verifying their status, so this explains these accesses.

However, the noises and the freezing is not something that should happen. Normally, one shouldn't notice when the status request is done (except if the disk was put on sleep/offline then this will wake it up).

I would suggest verifying the health of the disk, as perhaps it has still further degraded. It does not mean that this dying disk is in the same health as before, as perhaps it suffered some further damage when transferred from the Linux computer.

Also, Windows handles disks differently than Linux, which also includes dying disks.


Windows has the tendency to very frequently access volumes. This is a capture of activity at the time of Windows mounting a file system: https://youtu.be/mW7eGh8P24M where we see it not only read from the drive but also attempt to write to various logs and the master file table.

Even after this is finished various events will cause Windows to access the volume again and in case of problems, it will continue running into the same issue again and again. Now one could argue this is dumb, but it's the way it is. One could also argue it's not unreasonable for an OS to assume attached hardware is in good working order, including the hard drives.

I assume if you remove the drive letter for the volume you'd have less of these freezes.

And yes, it's true Linux for example is less plagued by this issue, which is why for a lot of DIY data recovery tasks, Linux is the better OS.

With regards to the how and why questions, it's how the OS was designed and how it handles drives. IOW you'd have to ask 'them' (the Windows developers).


If you really wanted to know.... You can get a copy of process monitor, and see what processes are trying to access the drive.

Note: Windows is doing a lot in the background and running this program quickly creates 10's of thousands of records. You will need to setup a filter to only capture accesses to the specific drive letter.

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