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I have configured noflushd to spin down the hard disk after a period of inactivity, but it spins right up again after a minute or two (sometimes less). Something is accessing the disk periodically -- I can see it happening in KDE System Guard. I have disabled almost all logging, so I don't think that's the problem. How do I find out what's doing this?
There are lots of proesses running, but none of them tells me exactly when it's accessing the disk. In KDE I can look at the status of each one (running, sleeping, etc.) but this hasn't seemed to help.
(The list of running processes is too long and boring to reproduce here.)
Thanks for the help. The disk access is only for one or two seconds, so it's not enough time for me to open the console and get top running, but I'll leave a console open with top running and see how that works (it seems to refresh itself every couple of seconds).
Mandrake has a "services" GUI front end that lets you review which daemons are set up to run (in the rc system). If your distro has the equivalent, read through them, and (after researching!) disable the ones that aren't necessary.
Also review your cron folders, and see what is being periodically run, and if you can either reduce the frequency or remove them completely.
One potential disk churner is slocated, which is akin to Microsoft's Find Fast. It is often set up to run daily, but really most people can get by with running it weekly.
If you're running a desktop, you can remove most of the server daemons (there are a few exceptions, however.)
Thanks for the tips. slocated does run on my system, once daily. cron seems OK (just my backup).
I'm running Debian, but I'm sure there's an equivalent "services" type feature. I can see which daemons are running in KDE, and I can kill them, but I'm not sure how to specify which ones are loaded at startup. More research...
Also: I've been watching "top" in the console, and it seems like the KDE services are the ones with the highest priority. And when I get my little two-second disk hit, nothing on the list changes.
Hm, I wonder whether it is KDE itself (perhaps causing a dip into disk based memory?) I had horrendous performance on my PC running KDE. Try running one of the lighter frontends - IceWM or Blackbox - and see if the same thing happens. You can with a little tweaking get either of those window managers to give you all of the niceties of KDE without the heavy resource load. (I recommend plugging Rox Filer into them).
Yes, I think you're right: KDE is always at the top of "top", with these services:
(plus a few others lower down).
I'm not familiar with other window systems, but I'll check them out. Also, I'll try to boot into "Expert mode" (it's one of the options that LILO gives me on my Xandros bootup) which does not load KDE, and will see if the problem persists without KDE running.
Where would I find out about the "tweaking" I'd need to do with the other window systems?