View Full Version : HDD activity LED blinks regularly...Video is included.

09-12-2012, 09:13 PM
Hello guys,
As i'm quite getting used to Windows 7 and AHCI environment being a veteran XP and Vista guy, i noticed one irritating issue about my HDD activity LED which might make you think of it as a software issue which seems not the case at first sight being unsure.

Short story, I have Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 DISABLED and no active 3rd party programs EXCEPT Windows Services and processes and computer resource usage is almost IDLE. I monitor resource monitor and disk activity along with I/O reads and I/O writes using Task Manager however i only noticed csrss.exe and sidebar.exe (contains gadgets) are causing massive I/O reads and making my HDD LED blink with regular intervals. I disabled all the gadgets and sidebar.exe stopped to generate I/O read just fine. Then watched csrss.exe for a long time and even when it stops generating I/O reads, my HDD LED was still blinking with regular intervals.

Note that I'm using my Seagate ST9500420AS with correct firmware in AHCI mode, Intel AHCI driver version is which is quite old but really stable. I tried the following with no luck:

1- Disabled Superfetch and Windows Search (indexing) services.
2- Disabled and killed possible 3rd party executables like Daemon Tools, Kaspersky Antivirus, Sidebar Gadgets
3- Left computer staying idle with no usage on desktop screen.

What would cause it? I can send the whole process list under that thread if it would be useful but i watched it's really unlikely that is caused by 3rd party processes.

Is there anyone having same or similar HDD led blinking issue like in the VIDEO?


Hope you see and understand the video about the problem. Sorry for writing quite long post.

Cheers and thanks!

09-12-2012, 09:43 PM
What files does ResMon indicate are being written to or read? Sort by "Total "B\Sec" in the "Disk Activity" section.

On my G74SX, C:\$Logfile, the NTFS Volume Log, receives the most writes (way more than any other file) from the System process. http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/showthread.php?57838-Random-writes-to-c-LogFile provides an explanation.

I think you have recognized that even in an absolutely dead idle state, there are a lot of things going on in the Windows filesystem. I also think @FaNIX 's statement in that thread gives a good idea of where you may be headed: "OK, I think I screwed up my Win 7 with all these freaking tweaks."

09-13-2012, 10:14 PM
Hi dstrakele and many thanks for your reply. However i'm not sure that i understood you right. Yep, my system partition is NTFS using in AHCI mode. And i saw many notebooks running with NTFS partitions with no HDD usage when they're perfectly IDLE unlike me. Here is my screenshot captured from Resmon and you seem right $Logfile, $Bitmap NTFS metadata files are being accessed with regular intervals:

http://a1209.hizliresim.com/11/g/d0c1d.png (http://a1209.hizliresim.com/11/g/d0c1d.png)

Did you check the video? Is it like your G74?

I checked many Vista, XP and NTFS machines but most of them has steady-off HDD light when they're IDLE.

Any further comment is greatly appreciated.


09-13-2012, 11:36 PM
Compare your ResMon results with those laptops that do not display as many disk accesses to determine the difference.

Alternatively, make a new small partition out of some of your free space and install a clean Windows 7 instance in dual boot configuration. Boot into it and run ResMon to compare with your current instance.

You are getting more writes to the registry than my system. I believe that accounts for the additional LED flashing you report. It may be possible some of the tweaks you made to your system actually result in more disk accesses.

09-15-2012, 10:02 AM
Yep, i'll do that. You see the screenshot i posted mate. It's really a matter of $Bitmap or $LogFile related to NTFS or both. I'm not able to suppress the write cycle to that by eliminating hundres of processes!

As i assume you watched the video (did you?). my main concern was that my HDD I/O usage is quite frequent and may make my drive wear and trash! What's you thought about that?

Being an old XP and Vista guy, i didn't experience that such of I/O usage on FAT32 and NTFS volumes, and with factory OS or cleanly installed ones.

09-15-2012, 12:02 PM
I did watch your video and your LED flashing does appear elevated, similar to what mine looks like when a virus scan is in progress.

Writes to the registry appear to be the difference on your system, not the metadata files. I suspect that your tweaking may have produced the unintended consequence of Windows having to write more frequently to the registry to do its job - that you would be better off if you had just left it alone.

You can see a couple of Kaspersky files are still getting quite a few writes. Even though you said you disabled it, it looks like a Kaspersky driver may still be running and causing disk I/O. It may also be responsible for the writes to the registry.

I'm uncertain what effect the elevated write frequency has on the life of your HDD, but I suspect it may still long outlast the life of your laptop.

09-15-2012, 01:40 PM
Thanks again mate. I do not have an SSD. Seagate Momentus 500 GB Harddrive. The writes don't seem to be performed on registry, it writes to hidden file system files, $LogFile and $Bitmap and MFT "according to" ResMon. But i'm not sure about the optimum frequency. The led flashes almost every second continously even computer is IDLE but doesn't hang or make system unresponsive though.

Eliminating the cause is something like finding a needle around a massive haystack!

Hope Windows 7 doesn't trash my HDD!

09-15-2012, 02:21 PM
The files being written to on your system in \system32\config are registry files. This is from the ResMon screenshot YOU posted.

It would make a little more sense if you were attempting to reduce writes to an SSD. I think you can safely abandon your attempts to reduce writes to your HDD. They have a much longer service life and your efforts are just making the situation worse anyway...

But that's only my opinion. Hopefully some more knowledgeaable folks will weigh in on this thread and help you.