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Thread: Hard Drive Constantly On

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Beans
    58

    Hard Drive Constantly On

    Hi,

    I am running Ubuntu 12.10 and have noticed that my hard drive is constantly flicking on without stopping. This seems rather unusual and want to know if there is anything that can be done to make it stop. I have a browser open with several tabs. I have gmail in one tab, St George Bank in another tab, Facebook, Google+ and Telstra in another tab. Does anyone have a similar experience and what can be done about the hard drive constantly flickering.

    Doctor J
    A novice
    ++
    doctorj
    _______________________________________

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    19th Hole
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    Hidden!
    Distro
    Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Re: Hard Drive Constantly On

    Without more info, it is impossible to tell. There are many possibilities, but the likeliest explanation is that you are constantly swapping. Please provide the following:
    Code:
    free -m
    Code:
    sudo lshw -C memory
    It is also useful to run iotop to see what process is actually creating the disk I/O, but you would have to install it first:
    Code:
    sudo apt-get install iotop
    Code:
    sudo iotop -o
    You will have to run iotop with sudo. The -o switch instructs iotop to show only currently I/O-active processes. You will need to run this in a terminal while running all of the apps that you normally do to create the disk activity.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Leeds, UK
    Beans
    1,664
    Distro
    Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander

    Re: Hard Drive Constantly On

    Is the light off more than it is on?

    What would you estimate is the ratio of time off to time on?
    Please create new threads for new questions.
    Please wrap code in code tags using the '#' button or enter it in your post like this: [code]...[/code].

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Beans
    58

    Re: Hard Drive Constantly On

    Quote Originally Posted by DuckHook View Post
    Without more info, it is impossible to tell. There are many possibilities, but the likeliest explanation is that you are constantly swapping. Please provide the following:
    Code:
    free -m
    Code:
    sudo lshw -C memory
    It is also useful to run iotop to see what process is actually creating the disk I/O, but you would have to install it first:
    Code:
    sudo apt-get install iotop
    Code:
    sudo iotop -o
    You will have to run iotop with sudo. The -o switch instructs iotop to show only currently I/O-active processes. You will need to run this in a terminal while running all of the apps that you normally do to create the disk activity.
    free -m
    -----------------------------------------
    total used free shared buffers cached
    Mem: 4023 3695 327 0 112 208
    -/+ buffers/cache: 3374 648
    Swap: 4077 2208 1869

    sudo lshw -C memory
    ----------------------------------------
    *-firmware
    description: BIOS
    vendor: Award Software International, Inc.
    physical id: 0
    version: F1
    date: 02/11/2011
    size: 128KiB
    capacity: 4032KiB
    capabilities: pci pnp upgrade shadowing cdboot bootselect edd int13floppy360 int13floppy1200 int13floppy720 int13floppy2880 int5printscreen int9keyboard int14serial int17printer int10video acpi usb biosbootspecification
    *-cache:0
    description: L1 cache
    physical id: a
    slot: Internal Cache
    size: 64KiB
    capacity: 64KiB
    capabilities: synchronous internal write-back
    *-cache:1
    description: L2 cache
    physical id: b
    slot: External Cache
    size: 6MiB
    capabilities: synchronous internal write-back
    *-memory
    description: System Memory
    physical id: 17
    slot: System board or motherboard
    size: 4GiB
    *-bank:0
    description: DIMMProject-Id-Version: lshwReport-Msgid-Bugs-To: FULL NAME <EMAIL@ADDRESS>POT-Creation-Date: 2009-10-08 14:02+0200PO-Revision-Date: 2012-02-02 13:04+0000Last-Translator: Joel Addison <jaddi27@gmail.com>Language-Team: English (Australia) <en_AU@li.org>MIME-Version: 1.0Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bitX-Launchpad-Export-Date: 2012-10-09 11:44+0000X-Generator: Launchpad (build 16112) 1333 MHz (0.8 ns)
    physical id: 0
    slot: A0
    size: 4GiB
    width: 2244 bits
    clock: 1333MHz (0.8ns)
    *-bank:1
    description: DIMMProject-Id-Version: lshwReport-Msgid-Bugs-To: FULL NAME <EMAIL@ADDRESS>POT-Creation-Date: 2009-10-08 14:02+0200PO-Revision-Date: 2012-02-02 13:04+0000Last-Translator: Joel Addison <jaddi27@gmail.com>Language-Team: English (Australia) <en_AU@li.org>MIME-Version: 1.0Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bitX-Launchpad-Export-Date: 2012-10-09 11:44+0000X-Generator: Launchpad (build 16112) [empty]
    physical id: 1
    slot: A1
    *-bank:2
    description: DIMMProject-Id-Version: lshwReport-Msgid-Bugs-To: FULL NAME <EMAIL@ADDRESS>POT-Creation-Date: 2009-10-08 14:02+0200PO-Revision-Date: 2012-02-02 13:04+0000Last-Translator: Joel Addison <jaddi27@gmail.com>Language-Team: English (Australia) <en_AU@li.org>MIME-Version: 1.0Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bitX-Launchpad-Export-Date: 2012-10-09 11:44+0000X-Generator: Launchpad (build 16112) [empty]
    physical id: 2
    slot: A2
    *-bank:3
    description: DIMMProject-Id-Version: lshwReport-Msgid-Bugs-To: FULL NAME <EMAIL@ADDRESS>POT-Creation-Date: 2009-10-08 14:02+0200PO-Revision-Date: 2012-02-02 13:04+0000Last-Translator: Joel Addison <jaddi27@gmail.com>Language-Team: English (Australia) <en_AU@li.org>MIME-Version: 1.0Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bitX-Launchpad-Export-Date: 2012-10-09 11:44+0000X-Generator: Launchpad (build 16112) [empty]
    physical id: 3
    slot: A3

    sudo iotop -o
    -----------------------------------
    It is impossible to copy the readout as it is changing all the time. What I can tell you is that "chrome" "Firefox" and "Unity-web" feature every few seconds. Readout is constant every second or so a new set of readings is created. How can I freeze readout to copy and report here?

    DoctorJ
    ++
    doctorj
    _______________________________________

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    19th Hole
    Beans
    Hidden!
    Distro
    Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Re: Hard Drive Constantly On

    Quote Originally Posted by doctorj View Post
    free -m
    -----------------------------------------
    Code:
    total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
    Mem:          4023       3695        327          0        112        208
    -/+ buffers/cache:       3374        648
    Swap:         4077       2208       1869
    sudo lshw -C memory
    ----------------------------------------
    Code:
    *-firmware              
           description: BIOS
           vendor: Award Software International, Inc.
           physical id: 0
           version: F1
           date: 02/11/2011
           size: 128KiB
           capacity: 4032KiB
           capabilities: pci pnp upgrade shadowing cdboot bootselect edd int13floppy360 int13floppy1200 int13floppy720 int13floppy2880 int5printscreen int9keyboard int14serial int17printer int10video acpi usb biosbootspecification
      *-cache:0
           description: L1 cache
           physical id: a
           slot: Internal Cache
           size: 64KiB
           capacity: 64KiB
           capabilities: synchronous internal write-back
      *-cache:1
           description: L2 cache
           physical id: b
           slot: External Cache
           size: 6MiB
           capabilities: synchronous internal write-back
      *-memory
           description: System Memory
           physical id: 17
           slot: System board or motherboard
           size: 4GiB
         *-bank:0
              description: DIMMProject-Id-Version: lshwReport-Msgid-Bugs-To: FULL NAME <EMAIL@ADDRESS>POT-Creation-Date: 2009-10-08 14:02+0200PO-Revision-Date: 2012-02-02 13:04+0000Last-Translator: Joel Addison <jaddi27@gmail.com>Language-Team: English (Australia) <en_AU@li.org>MIME-Version: 1.0Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bitX-Launchpad-Export-Date: 2012-10-09 11:44+0000X-Generator: Launchpad (build 16112) 1333 MHz (0.8 ns)
              physical id: 0
              slot: A0
              size: 4GiB
              width: 2244 bits
              clock: 1333MHz (0.8ns)
         *-bank:1
              description: DIMMProject-Id-Version: lshwReport-Msgid-Bugs-To: FULL NAME <EMAIL@ADDRESS>POT-Creation-Date: 2009-10-08 14:02+0200PO-Revision-Date: 2012-02-02 13:04+0000Last-Translator: Joel Addison <jaddi27@gmail.com>Language-Team: English (Australia) <en_AU@li.org>MIME-Version: 1.0Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bitX-Launchpad-Export-Date: 2012-10-09 11:44+0000X-Generator: Launchpad (build 16112) [empty]
              physical id: 1
              slot: A1
         *-bank:2
              description: DIMMProject-Id-Version: lshwReport-Msgid-Bugs-To: FULL NAME <EMAIL@ADDRESS>POT-Creation-Date: 2009-10-08 14:02+0200PO-Revision-Date: 2012-02-02 13:04+0000Last-Translator: Joel Addison <jaddi27@gmail.com>Language-Team: English (Australia) <en_AU@li.org>MIME-Version: 1.0Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bitX-Launchpad-Export-Date: 2012-10-09 11:44+0000X-Generator: Launchpad (build 16112) [empty]
              physical id: 2
              slot: A2
         *-bank:3
              description: DIMMProject-Id-Version: lshwReport-Msgid-Bugs-To: FULL NAME <EMAIL@ADDRESS>POT-Creation-Date: 2009-10-08 14:02+0200PO-Revision-Date: 2012-02-02 13:04+0000Last-Translator: Joel Addison <jaddi27@gmail.com>Language-Team: English (Australia) <en_AU@li.org>MIME-Version: 1.0Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bitX-Launchpad-Export-Date: 2012-10-09 11:44+0000X-Generator: Launchpad (build 16112) [empty]
              physical id: 3
              slot: A3
    sudo iotop -o
    -----------------------------------
    It is impossible to copy the readout as it is changing all the time. What I can tell you is that "chrome" "Firefox" and "Unity-web" feature every few seconds. Readout is constant every second or so a new set of readings is created. How can I freeze readout to copy and report here?

    DoctorJ
    ++
    Tip: Output posted back is much easier to read if you enclose it in CODE marks. As an example, I have taken the liberty of doing so in quoting your reply. Just highlight the text and use the hash (#) button at the top of the reply box.

    You do not need to attach output from the iotop command. You have described it well and it was primarily for your own info.

    You have plenty of system RAM, but are still swapping significantly and this is what is likely causing your disk activity. There are a number of fixes:

    1. Do not have as many sites open at the same time. Especially if you have both Chrome and FF open concurrently, they will eat up your available memory, as both are memory hogs. Also, the fewer tabs open, the lower your memory use. Each tab counts as a current site, so ten tabs equals ten times the memory of one site. You can also try reducing cache size for FF. Don't know if possible in Chrome.

    2. You can add more system RAM.

    3. You can reduce swappiness to a low number. In your case, start out with 10 and reduce even further if system is still swapping like mad. Instructions are here.

    4. If your system is running quite well and not slowing you down, you may wish to simply leave well enough alone. This is usually my philosophy.

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