Recently my external hard drive sounds like it is being constantly scanned or indexed, and I cannot figure out why. I turned off Windows Search and disabled my antivirus software, but it doesn't make any difference. Nothing is being used in the hard drive. I'm using Windows 7. Is there a way to find out what is accessing my hard drive?

  • There are lots of programs that do this. What tools have you used? – Ramhound Sep 6 '13 at 11:15
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    Sounds like Windows being Windows. But sometimes a drive will play with itself, especially if it's got some bad sectors or some such. – Daniel R Hicks Sep 6 '13 at 11:46
  • How much RAM do you have in the computer? – Peter Mortensen Sep 6 '13 at 15:19
  • I have 6GB of RAM – Aasim Azam Sep 6 '13 at 20:45

You can monitor your disk activity with Resource Monitor. Simply search Resource Monitor in the search bar, or open up your task manager and click the Resource Monitor button under the Performance tab.

enter image description here Screenshot from http://www.csharpcity.com/2012/simple-strategies-to-boost-sql-server-performance/

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    there is literally nothing showing up for the drive in question, its all c drive ... – Aasim Azam Sep 6 '13 at 11:28
  • @Ramhound It does appear to be working with an external drive on my Windows machine, although it's running on Windows 8. – Jamie Schembri Sep 6 '13 at 12:20
  • @JamieSchembri - I suppose I should have been clear, I based my statement, that it wasn't supported based on the user's report it wasn't being listed. I just confirmed that it works on Windows 7. Sounds like it not being listed is part of the problem, the disk itself, is likely about to fail. – Ramhound Sep 6 '13 at 12:31

Process Monitor is a great utility for checking out file access requests. You get an awful lot of information but using filters (highlighted in picture) you can narrow down what's causing the access.

Process Monitor

  • Do all these logged operations actuall touch the physical disk? – Peter Mortensen Sep 6 '13 at 15:18
  • How do you choose a filter/narrowing down? Normally, the output is a very, very long list. How can it be summarised? Is there a statistics function, counting different kinds of accesses from different processes? – Peter Mortensen Sep 6 '13 at 15:31
  • @PeterMortensen No, you need to first limit to something like 'Path' Begins with 'C:\' have a look to see what's happening then further drill down on 'Process' or 'Operation'. If you just want an overview Resource Monitor is better but if you want to know what is actually hitting the disk this is the way to do it. – snowdude Sep 6 '13 at 22:06

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