Sometimes my hard drive usage is near 100%, and I have no idea what is causing it. Are there any utilities that can help diagnose excessive hard drive usage and have as intuitive of an interface as Task Manager's Processes tab, which I can sort by CPU usage?

I am aware of using procmon, of adding columns to Task Manager's Processes tab like I/O Read Bytes and I/O Write Bytes, and using Resource Monitor's Disk tab. Too often, these don't give me useful information or clearly identify a single process that is hogging the disk.

EDIT: Some of you suggested Process Explorer, but it's not very useful here. My hard drive light was almost solidly on the entire time that this graph was being produced by Process Explorer, and you can clearly see it's barely registering any activity. I/O monitor from Process Explorer showing minimal disk activity even though hard drive light has been almost solidly lit

  • I would suggest using Process Explorer not Procmon. I don't know of anything better, but if something does exist I would like to know what it is. – EBGreen Dec 12 '12 at 16:52
  • How Full is your Hard Drive? – David Dec 12 '12 at 17:09
  • One biggie is Windows indexing. Also, I've found that an enormous number of apps set up "scheduled tasks" that are supposed to run every few minutes. Get a couple dozen of those and you've got something kicking off every ten seconds. – Daniel R Hicks Dec 12 '12 at 17:38
  • Just to be clear, when you say hard drive you I/O operations right? Not hard drive storage space. – EBGreen Dec 12 '12 at 17:55
  • @Jikag: It's at least 1/3 empty. – Aren Cambre Dec 12 '12 at 19:41

The tool you are looking for is resmon.

Open Start menu and search for resmon or Resource Monitor to launch it.

  • Already mentioned Resource Monitor in my question. :-) – Aren Cambre Dec 12 '12 at 19:42

Is it your Harddrive usage or Processor Usage that is at 100%? If harddrive, then delete / move some files to another drive. If Processor Usage: when looking in the task manager (CTRL+ALT+DEL), on the Processes tab, click Mem Usage row to see what the least/most active program is. You can right click and END PROCESS there if you want to.

I have also seen a Process Manager program here: http://lifehacker.com/5094914/process-manager-prioritizes-kills-running-apps-via-right+click that might help.

  • CPU usage plummets dramatically during high HDD use, which is expected as the process(es) doing the work is waiting on I/O before it uses CPU time. As mentioned in prior comments, this is NOT memory swapping. I have plenty of free RAM. The computer has 8 GB RAM, and I do monitor it with task manager. – Aren Cambre Dec 12 '12 at 19:44

Process Explorer is a good idea as EBGreen suggested, but I usually start with it, and then dig in with Filemon. That way you can track the process, file, and IO operation involved to determine the cause of the issue.

how are you doing on RAM? do you usually have a good bit free? if you are almost full, windows does a lot of paging. Also check your AV system to see if its being too aggressive.

  • 8 GB RAM. It's rarely past 85%. I understand the swapping that happens as it approaches 100%, and that is a different effect than what is going on here. – Aren Cambre Dec 12 '12 at 19:43

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