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Can anyone recommend a disk access utility, preferably free, that will allow me to see what percentage of my hard drive access bandwidth is being used?

Windows Task Manager shows CPU usage. That was fine, back in the day, when the CPU was the bottleneck, but these days it's typically the hard drive that slows everything down.

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You can use Process Hacker to show you this information. Process Hacker is an extension of the popular Process Explorer program, albeit a lot more powerful. In the default view, there is a column titled I/O Total Rate, and it shows what each processes' disk transfer rate is (if it's performing any I/O reads or writes). This provides the transfer rate in either B/s, kB/s, or MB/s.

To see your total HDD bandwidth, you need to get a hard drive benchmark utility (like HdTach). From that, you can determine what percent of full bandwidth is being used by simply dividing the Process Hacker's I/O rate by your HDD's read or write rate (depending on what the application is doing).

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I've since learned that the Resource Monitor utility included with Windows 7 has a pretty good hard drive usage feature.

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