STOP that drive!

I have an external USB drive connected to my PC running Windows 7 (32 bit). Almost every evening, the drive goes into “active read mode”. I’m not really sure what it’s doing, but I can tell by sound that the drive is spinning. I don’t think it’s doing a virus check, because I have those set to run in early morning. It might be Windows trying to index the drive.

The drive contains mostly pictures that I put there and it can’t really be indexed – more importantly I don’t really care if it is indexed, and the activity seems to slow my computer down quite a bit.

I’d like to stop it, but if I try to “eject” the drive, I’m usually told it’s being used by another program and I should stop that program first, but I don’t know what program it is. I could simply unplug the drive, but I’m told to NEVER do that with a drive like this.

Is there any way to tell what program is using a drive? Or any guesses what program it might be?

As a simple first step, with no other applications running, you could try opening Task Manager when it’s doing that, go to the Processes tab and sort the list by CPU and look for whatever shows up on top.

It’s dynamic, so the different active processes bounce around a bit - but with no other applications running hopefully that will be minimal.

If you notice a pattern you can then google the name of that process (if it’s not otherwise obvious) to help determine what is doing it.

(Apologies if what I’ve described is so remedial that you’ve already tried it and are looking for more advanced advice.)

Also, there are additional columns available in Task Manager for things like Reads or Disk I/O, which are not shown by default and which may make the problem program more obvious. Select Choose Columns, I think and select which columns are visible.

Also, click on the ‘‘Show processes from all users’’ at the bottom. Even though I’m the only user on this computer, clicking on that shows a few more processes - at least it does for me.

Right click on the drive and select properties. Under the General tab, **uncheck **“Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed”. That may fix your problem.

If not then,

You might consider setting your virus checker to ignore this drive. Especially if it’s wasting your cpu just scanning image files.

last step, defrag that drive.

Could it be Windows backup?

Personally, I simply keep my external hard drives turned off most of the time, unless I specifically need to use them for something. It does not take very long for it to spin up and become accessible, scarcely longer than it takes to spin up from its resting mode, and I am not wasting power on it.

Defrag won’t do anything.

Windows won’t index USB drives it considers removable. (Which is all of them, unless you’ve gone way out of your way.)

You have some process on your computer that’s reading from the drive at that time. Possibly a virus scanner? A backup utility? It’s hard to say, but the tip on trying to figure out using Task Manager is a good one. (Even better: open Resource Monitor and click to its Disk tab, it will show only disk activity.)

I used to have that problem with the cloud storage app from Cubby. Instead of (correctly) registering with the OS to get notified when disk contents changed, it just periodically re-listed the files and spun-up the disk for no reason. Was very annoying, and I switched products.

Windows often asks me if I want USB drives used to expand the computer’s virtual RAM. If that’s what is happening here, activity on your drive could be the result of paging, due to low overall system RAM rather than any particular process. Paging activity also slows down the computer. If this is the problem, then it might be a good idea to increase the system RAM.

But then it might be something else entirely. :slight_smile:

Am I the only one who misread the OP title as, “STOP that drivel”?