How can I tell what's writing/reading from my hard drive?

Whenever I first boot up my laptop my hard drive indicator is almost working non-stop for 15 minutes even though I’m barely touching the keys. I know I can look at the task manager and look at processes, CPU utilization, and running programs but that doesn’t tell me what program is doing all the reading/writing.

I have a few theories, (it could be Lotus Notes updating full-text indexes of databases, it could be some automated tasks my employer has for cleaning files, it could be virus scans, etc.) but I’d like to know for sure. Are there any utilities that could tell me what program is doing all the reading/writing?

In Task Manager go to the Processes tab, View menu, and click Select Columns. Check the boxes for I/O Read Bytes, I/O Write Bytes, and I/O Other Bytes. This will show you how much each process is reading, writing, and, er, othering.

You may also want to use StartupList to see exactly what programs are set to run at startup. There may be some unnecessary or undesirable items that can be disabled.

When was the last time you defragmented the hard drive?

Good advice here. Plus, you can try running FileMon. It monitors file access at the kernel level and shows each request correlated to the application that made the request. There is also DiskMon, which shows what your hard-drive is doing.

Both of these tools assume that you are pretty computer savy.

Thanks to all, especially Number, I never knew those columns existed as part of task manager. I learned that a process called ntaskldr had written 2.5 gigabytes and read 3.2 gigabytes of information. That process is associates with Lotus Notes. I think I’ll get rid of some of the full-text indexes I have for searching.

Thanks again.