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I keep on hearing a lot of hard disk activity after I've logged into Linux for a few minutes. GKrellM isn't displaying much CPU, process, or disk activity, but I call definitely hear the HD grinding away. I've never noticed this in Win, even if I leave the firewall off, so I don't think that's what's causing it. Plus, I've checked to see if any other users are logged onto my computer, nothing unusual.
did you try running : top
in a termianl and see if you can see anything unusual...
and since i can't physically hear it myself, i will just throw out the idea that you may have a "loud" harddrive, and it might be slowy dieing, or simply just some physical problem rather than an app (or whatever else) accessing it ..
Well, that's just it, it isn't acting up in Windoze . In Win, I'm rarely using more than 30% of the physical memory. Right now, I've switched into BlackBox, and it's showing that I've used up all of my physical memory and part of the swap. I would have thought that if I were running BlackBox, I might be using up fewer resource than when I was in Gnome/KDE, but I'm not noticing much difference.
1: if you have just started up your machine, anacron may want to run the scheduled tasks that were not run when the computer was off. If this happens to be updatedb (which updates the locate database) you will hear a lot of disk grinding.
2. as for the memory hogs: weed out the services you don't need. I see sendmail, and a nfs server running, (i am sure there are others) that may not be needed. Turn those off.
3. Read the manpage (or info) for top. I believe there is a key to make Top sort the list based on memory usage.This may show the memory hog, if it is one process causing it. Also have a look at lsof to list the open files on your system.
Does your box have the same behaviour when you boot up in single user mode (issue init 2 as root will do it too)?
Distribution: K/Ubuntu 10.04/12.04, Scientific Linux 6.3, Android-x86, Maemo
Keep in mind that Windoze memory management (if you can call it that) works differently than Linux. Having a lot of free physcial memory isn't as much of a priority as it is in Windoze. Usually, if you are seeing slowdowns on the same hardware, it's because you are running a lot of services in the background.
I'm betting that it's crond or anacron running services that weren't run before that is causing the HD to slow down and make noise. Also,... is the HD a Western Digital??? They are pretty noisy drives.
Is it noisy all the time? or does it sometimes stop?
was that 'top' taken during a noisy period?
I suspect your linux distribution has some background tasks going on.
with 256Mb RAM you should, generally use swap space about, say
once a month. I had 256Mb ( now 512 ;-P ) and never swapped.
You aren't using all your memory. That's what memory is for.
No point having empty memory, now is there?
Linux doesn't throw anything out of memory unless it has too.
It keeps files, and such like in memory to prevent re-reading the same document from disk.
so if you open a document, movie, mp3 or whatever twice, the second time may not need a disk read.
not unlike like cached web pages in your browser.
It deletes cache'd stuff when it is old and unused.
Distribution: K/Ubuntu 10.04/12.04, Scientific Linux 6.3, Android-x86, Maemo
Keep in mind that "users" also refer to the owners of a process that is running. For example, if root is running a process (one that is set up to be running for the benefit of all users) then root will count as a user. Also, the user account running the top report will count as a user. In addition, there may be other processes running at less than root authority that will also count in the report.
If you want to see something else interesting, do a who from a console and you usually get 2 versions of yourself.
Those other users are little red men that keep your computer running by poking it with pitchforks. Other, less sane, people refer to these men as 'daemons'. Everybody else just call them what they are: little red men.
Sometimes they have to login to your computer, for instance to send you an email that you should not download that much pr0n because the filesystem is nearly full.
I you are worried about them, tell us their names and we can tell you if they are harmfull or not. You can tell that from their name indeed. I can tell from your name that you will not be fooled by this story, so therefore it must be true. It is, as a matter of fact.
Ok, the good news is, I did what Drozz suggested (free -m) and it looks like I'm only using about half of my memory.
But on to the bad news. I tried a little experiment which involved unhooking the ethernet cable a few minutes after I had logged in and noticed the excessive disk activity. As soon as I had unplugged the ethernet, the disk activity stopped (from listening to it and watching the HD indicator light) but my computer suddenly became incredibly slow (~ 30 secs to open a terminal).
Then I tried rebooting the computer into Linux, this time without the ethernet connection. No heavy disk activity and the computer was operating at normal speed.
I'm not sure what this all means. I did try "who" and "netstat" before removing my box from the LAN and didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. Plus, the firewall was up and I haven't opened any e-mail attachments.
Can I get any recommendations for anti-virus software and a software firewall that alerts me to inbound/outbound connections?
Here's an update on the situation. I think I may have solved the problem. What I did was play around with the Red Hat GUI firewall app. I set the firewall to up, and unchecked "trusted" for everything, so now nothing is listed as "trusted".
Before, I had the eth0 as "trusted" and I think I may have also done something to the iptables with FireStarter.
Anyways, now the HD is quiet as can be and the activity indicator light on the front panel of the machine isn't constantly blinking anymore. Plus, the machine seems to have speeded up a bit, judging from the time it takes to use find. Wonder if I had somehow misconfigured the iptables ?