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aurochs
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Posts: 20
Registered: ‎07-06-2018
Location: DE
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Message 1 of 6

Hard drive permanently spinning and never idle

The internal hard drive on my Thinkpad T520 is spinning virtually all the time and never stops. I have the power settings set to turn it off (go idle) after 1 minute but that makes no difference. There is very little read/writing happening (see below).

It spins completely 100% all the time if I am web surfing (lots of clicking; sites with ads and video etc) or using photo software or watching video. It cycles on and off at random intervals ranging from about 10 to 90 seconds if I have no programs open and am not touching the computer at all; same if I am doing lightweight things like reading one web page that doesn't have ads and not clicking around, or typing in a text-only Word document. There is never a time when it is idle for more than about 90 or 120 seconds.

I always thought hard drives generally stop spinning when they're not obviously in use for saving files and occasional behind-the-scenes activity by the OS (or rather, after a minute/couple of minutes of non-use). Is that correct?

We know the problem is the computer and not the drive itself because the spinning will behave properly (stops when idle; can be manually stopped with HDDScan) if I take it out, put it in a USB-connected external enclosure, and install a different HDD (with Windows on it) internally in the laptop.

If I swap the two drives, whichever one is internal will have the near-constant spin and whichever is external will display proper normal spindown.

I can see the disk activity in Resource Monitor but I don't know what is normal and what's abnormal. Under 'Processes with Disk Activity', System and svchost.exe are always there and writing (about 9,000 B/sec and 9 B/sec respectively) even with no programs open. Is that OK? Programs such as Firefox, MS Word or Windows Explorer come and go from Disk Activity depending on whether I am clicking in Firefox, saving the Word document, etc. I am not seeing any processes listed under "Processes with Disk Activity" other than System, svchost.exe and whatever programs I have open.

CPU use is 0 to 2% in low-load situations (Word, simpler websites), 20-50% with complicated websites, 100% on websites with tons of video and animation. It does not go up and down in relation to the HDD spinning.

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Message 2 of 6

Re: Hard drive permanently spinning and never idle

It is possible that you need more memory.  If the system has a high paging rate, it would cause this behavior


Rich


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aurochs
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Registered: ‎07-06-2018
Location: DE
Views: 139
Message 3 of 6

Re: Hard drive permanently spinning and never idle


@richk wrote:

It is possible that you need more memory.  If the system has a high paging rate, it would cause this behavior


Is this enough memory?

 

Thinkpad T520 from around 2012-13
Win 7 Pro 64 bit
Intel Core i5-2540M 2.60Ghz
6 Gb RAM
HD is 6 months old - 1 Tb Western Digital Black

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Message 4 of 6

Re: Hard drive permanently spinning and never idle

It is probably ok, but it depends on what you are doing with the machine.  You might run task manager to see what is using the disk.  Is the disk the hybrid SSHD?  I used one (WD Black  1TB SSHD) a couple of times and found it was constantly moving things back and forth between the platters and the SSD portion,  It made me crazy.   If you have that disk, I guess it is the problem.  Mine now lives in the drawer.  I only use it for temp storage


Rich


I do not respond to requests for private, one-on-one help. Your questions should be posted in the appropriate forum where they may help others as well.

If a response answers your question, please mark it as the accepted solution.

I am not an employee or agent of Lenovo.
aurochs
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Posts: 20
Registered: ‎07-06-2018
Location: DE
Views: 87
Message 5 of 6

Re: Hard drive permanently spinning and never idle


@richk wrote:

It is probably ok, but it depends on what you are doing with the machine.

 


Well the HDD never stops spinning even after restarting and not using any programs or touching the computer in any way so I don't see how it would make any difference what I use the computer for. At any rate mainly just web browsing, MS Word and Excel and looking at photos.

 

Task Manager - nothing looks like bloatware or malware but I guess I have do a search for every one of the 90 or so processes to see what they are?

 

Process Monitor - when computer is idle it often shows only one or a couple processes as in the screenshots.

 

2.jpg3.jpg

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Message 6 of 6

Re: Hard drive permanently spinning and never idle

Are you running  the same image (cloned or very similar) on both drives you're swapping during your testing?  Same apps and configuration?

 

I ran into this on a T420/Win7 and the explanation was a little embarrassing.  I had a slideshow widget running in the corner of my screen.  Since it regularly accessed images, the drive could never spin down.

 

If one of your test drives is bare-bones windows, I wouldn't expect something like this, but I"m tossing it out here as a (remote) possibility.

 

Z.


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