Apps access your hard drive when they need to open a file, and when you make modifications to a file. For example, when you open Notepad or Microsoft Word, and create a document, both apps are writing to your disk. At the same time, they’re also reading from the disk to access the current version of the document. This is perfectly normal however, if an app is constantly reading or writing to a disk when it shouldn’t your disk will constantly be spinning and it might also point to a problematic app. Here’s how you can find which apps are reading and writing to disk.
SPOILER ALERT: Scroll down and watch the video tutorial at the end of this article.
Reading Or Writing To Disk
You can check which apps are reading or writing to disk from the Task Manager. You don’t need additional apps to do this. Open the Task Manager and go to the Details tab. Right-click any one of the column titles, and from the context menu, click Select Columns.
This will open a new little window with a list of columns that you can enable. From the list, enable both the I/O writes and I/O reads column, and close the little window.
Return to the Task Manager, and you will see the two new columns you’ve enabled. On Task Manager, you can only sort everything by one column so you need to sort it by reading, or writing activity. Click a column’s title to sort the apps in ascending or descending order and watch the columns. They will update in real time to show you which apps are actively reading and writing to disk. If you see an app that’s accessing your disk when it isn’t running, then you might want to investigate it.
Some apps have services that run in the background so they may show up in these columns as well. Check if the app that’s writing to disk has any background services or processes that run. You can Google the name of the service and see if it should be running or not.
If all else fails, and your disk is spinning needlessly, you can always try running your system in Safe Mode. In Safe Mode, check if the process is still running. In Safe Mode you only get essential system services so if the process isn’t there, you know that it’s probably an app that’s dragging the disk down.
If an app is acting up, you might have to uninstall it and find an alternative. Alternatively, check if the app has a known bug and if there are any fixes for it.