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Can I Setup My HD Activity LED Onto A Keyboard LED?

Posted on 2005-05-05
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-08-05
I'll make it short:

I want to see the HD LED [activity status] on one of my keyboard LEDs.
Software solution preferred, but I will accept a [non-solder] hardware solution.
(I've had no luck googling a software solution after 2 hours...)

OS: Windows Server 2k3 EE

I can provide additional technical specifications if required.
Thank You! =^.^=
Question by:jmtyra
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 13938248
Offhand, I don't think it's possible, or at best, very difficult.   The keyboard lights on your keyboard (num lock, caps lock, and scroll lock) are tied, in hardware, to the state of your keyboard.   So, even if you did find software to do what you want, what wouild actually be happening is the keyboard "state" would constantly be changing, which I don't thnk you want.

HOWEVER:   As an alternative option, check this out:  http://www.sysinternals.com/ntw2k/freeware/diskmon.shtml

It's a FREE disk monitoring tool, that provides TONS of information about drive activity.   As a "bonus", when the tool is minimized, it shows up in your windows tray as a small icon-- THAT ACTS LIKE A DISK MONITOR LIGHT.  

This is the best alternative solution that I can offer.    Enjoy.

Author Comment

ID: 13938493
Thank you for your response Caseybea. I'll check out that application.

I will leave the question open for a few days to see what other feedback is out there.

LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 13938883
The light is controlled by the IDE controller chip (the CPU chipset), and there is no direct access to it from the computer bus, due to buffering and things like deferred writes, the physical activity doesn't correspond to things that software running in the computer can easily and directly monitor.

Further, you can't connect it to the keyboard, the keyboard light is not a "line" it is software controlled, there is a series of bytes that are sent to the keyboard to turn the keyboard lights on and off.  So a direct hardware solution is not possible either.

If you were willing to go to a lot of trouble, you could monitor the status of the hardware light, for example connecting it to one bit of an input port (such as a data bit or status bit (paper out, etc.)  of a parallel printer port).  You could test that bit on each tick of the PC's "clock" (about 18 times per second), and you could then correspondingly send the command to the keyboard to turn a designated light on or off.  This would not be trivial (especially under Windows) but it's physically possible if you want to do some programming.
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Expert Comment

ID: 13946913
Well... the lights on the keyboard can be controlled by the computer by sending sequences of characters to the processor in the keyboard.  Saying that, it would have to be an intelligent program controlling alternate data flow to the keyboard... and not just a wire that you turn on a light with.

The program will have to intercept the HD IRQ and process the information.  The systinternals program kind of does that, but the sysinternals program will have to be configured to display the flashing light every time you run it... it doesn't save it... otherwise you'd be looking at custom software development.

OR... you can take the IDE LED and bring it to a light on your desktop... just run a small cable and have the LED in a small and sexy housing. That'd be cool too.

at yourtechonline.com
LVL 88

Accepted Solution

rindi earned 500 total points
ID: 13950185
The following link may have what you are looking for:


Author Comment

ID: 13954744
Rindi, you *ROCK*! That's it! A perfect -software- solution! Thank you!!! :D

Caseybea, Watzman, and J-A-L, I do appreciate your responses, and thank you for your time as well.

Rindi, I tried that software, and it does work perfectly! I'm *so* excited!
Now when I play my games, I can see the HD activity very clearly. :D

Thanks again everyone, have a good day! =^.^=
LVL 88

Expert Comment

ID: 13957630
No problem, glad to help and thanx, too.

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