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Old 08-02-2007, 03:13 PM   #1
Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Ottawa
Distribution: Redhat 5.2, 6.0, 6.1, Mandrake 7.2, 8.0, 9.1, 9.2, 10.0, Gentoo, Debian 3.1r0
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Software to find process responsible for disk thrashing

Hi, I've noticed that my hard drive has been thrashing *A LOT* lately (most of the time it's turned on). I'd like to identify the culprit and find out which process is doing this, but I don't know what software to use.

What do I use to find out which process is doing the most disk read/writes?

Old 08-02-2007, 03:18 PM   #2
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Top is your friend. While it will not tell you directly which is accessing the drive it will tell you indirectly. A process that is thrashing the the drive will pop to the top a lot. Check your swap usage. If you are regularly using much swap that is the culprit. If that is the case get more memory, shut some things off, or just live with it.
Old 08-02-2007, 03:47 PM   #3
Registered: Jun 2003
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You might also want to check out lsof.
Old 08-02-2007, 04:15 PM   #4
Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Ottawa
Distribution: Redhat 5.2, 6.0, 6.1, Mandrake 7.2, 8.0, 9.1, 9.2, 10.0, Gentoo, Debian 3.1r0
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Yeah, I'd tried top and lsof, but neither gave me what I wanted. lsof just dumped way to much info (flooded my terminal back buffer so I lost the first half of the output - shoulda piped it). top showed me what was using the most CPU time, but I was really looking for something like top that ranks disk usage instead of CPU usage.

I just figured out it was Google Desktop for Linux that was putting the hammer down on my drive. I have disabled it. Didn't show up in top though. I just started systematically turning things on and off until the disk use subsided. It's quiet now, but man was Google Desktop ever doing a number on that drive! It would literally make horrible thrashing noises and have the drive light on constantly from when I turned the thing on until when I turned it off... yikes.


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