Sometimes my hdd on desktop PC starts work like crazy, then, in a short time all system starts to freeze, cursor barely moving, and then completely freezes, but hdd keep working non-stop.

I have no issues to install complicated software just to make sure it will catch it somehow.

Thoose freezes are very random and i am not sure if it's attack or some process, but they happening once ~ 1.5 day.

I use linux mint 17.1 with KDE.

I tryed to use prepared CTRL+ALT+F1 (system terminal) and run iostat there, then wait for freeze to happen. But when it happening system dont want to switch to that terminal.

So question is, how i can catch such a hdd killer? maybe such soft could drop io stats to some google drive, i dont know. Is there a way to prevent single process from completely freezing io?

  • 1
    How long does the intense I/O activity last for? Could the system have insufficient RAM and be using the swap disk a lot? Leaving sar running might capture the process(es) causing the high I/O. Have you checked that the HDD is healthy, e.g. by looking at the S.M.A.R.T. data? – Andrew Morton Oct 18 '15 at 17:07

You probably want to use iostat to monitor I/O usage. If the usage is legitimate, as is likely the case, you probably want to consider alternate IO schedulers.

You can pick a different IO scheduler by following the instructions here. For example, to switch to the noop scheduler, you may do the following:

echo noop > /sys/block/sda/queue/scheduler

Redhat recommends the deadline IO scheduler for database environments, for example. Exactly which is best for you will depend on exactly what your computer is being used for.

  • iostat is not possible to use because system freezes before i can even run terminal (and terminal dont want to show if hdd is frozen). Mysql is probably unrelated because i werent using it during freezes, and it's not open port. The question was more about how to catch the process that kills hdd, so, sadly, it doesnt answers the question. However, thanks for the link to shedulers. – Fedcomp Oct 18 '15 at 14:55
  • You said the computer freezes about once every 1.5 days. Start the terminal and run iostat before the freeze occurs. – ChrisInEdmonton Oct 18 '15 at 14:56
  • I would like to do so. Usually i open system terminal (CTRL+ALT+F1) and open iostat there. But when freezing occurs, i cant switch to it. System is too busy and completely irresponsible. – Fedcomp Oct 18 '15 at 14:58

You can view which process is using your disk with iotop which works like top for IO.

As this is happening regularly, it sounds like it could be Desktop Indexing that is causing your issue. You might want to disable it to see if that helps.

  • Sure, updatedb service was doing heavy work indexing files (not freezing completely however), and then i turned it off. But it didnt solve the issue. I would like to see what exact process freezes my hdd but i cant do it because system do not respond when i notice it starts to freeze. – Fedcomp Oct 18 '15 at 15:00

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