Hard drive constantly cycles


I've noticed for the past couple of weeks that my tower seems to be constantly cycling the hard drive even when I'm doing nothing at all.  I can actually hear the drive and what I hear is a very rhythmic sound which seems to cycle at a rate of about once a second.  (If I were looking at an oscilloscope I'd expect to see a perfect sine wave.)   Yesterday I was working in Firefox and had Windows Explorer open on the second monitor and I noticed that my second drive had disappeared.  After a reboot, it came back up and I haven't seen anything since.

The box is one I built with a CoreIIQuad processor, 4GB of RAM, two internal drives and one external.  I run XP Pro and am pretty much up to date on the MS updates.  I run ZoneAlarm and I've read everything I can find about vsmon.exe.  Tried yesterday to modify the DependOnService registry key according to the Microsoft Knowledge Base Article - 321434.  Change could not be saved.

The two screen shots show the Performance and Process tabs of my Task Manager.  These were taken after several minutes of letting the computer sit idle.  Note how the first processor is working relatively harder than the others.  Normal??

I suspect ZoneAlarm is at least partly responsible...
1. Is there a "clear and present danger", (apologies to Tom Clancy  ;-)     ), that I'm about to lose the drive that disappeared yesterday?
2. If this is ZA, can it be fixed somehow?
3. Is there a better tool than ZA?  (I went to ZA from Norton several years ago because Norton was just too intrusive on my system.)
4. If I'm wrong about ZA, any other ideas?

Many thanks...

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That looks like your Carbonite Service taking 25% of your CPU.

If you do a Google search on

carbonite service cpu hog

you'll find plenty of links talking about Carbonite hogging the CPU.
FYI a single process taking 25% of the total CPU on a quad core system means that it is taking an entire core by itself.  Some people don't make that link so I like to point it out.  I would suggest stopping carboinite at least temporarily and seeing if things improve.  As far as you drive goes i would look for the manufacturers website and see if they have a tool to check the drive.  Most do.

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DaveB2Author Commented:
Wow, what a difference.  

I disabled the Carbonite service and now the CPU Usage reads 0% or 1%. Fantastic!

Thanks Guys!
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