lot of hard drive thrashing sound in windows 7

My newly installed Windows 7 professional on an old 8 year old PC, seems to keep resulting in disk thrashing and I dont know what it is doing.  My old XP system never did this, even with indexing in the background.  

I recently left the PC on for several days and its constantly doing something in the background.  Is indexing in windows 7 more data intensive?

There is nothing wrong with the drive.  The spec is 2gb RAM, 160gb HD with about 10 gig of space left on my c drive and 6 gig free on the d drive.  
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<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<style type="text/css">

body {
padding: 20px;

p a {
 display: block;
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<h1> If there is not enough room for all the text in an item below, I want the information from the far right to be displayed.</h1>

<p dir="RTL">
<a class="wf"><em>Hello</em></a>
<a class="wf"><em>Numbers 0123456789</em></a>
<a class="wf"><em>abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz</em></a>
<a class="wf"><em>This&nbsp;is&nbsp;a&nbsp;test&nbsp;and&nbsp;only&nbsp;a&nbsp;test</em></a>

<h2>Should display:</h2>

<a class="wf"><em>Hello</em></a>
<a class="wf"><em>0123456789</em></a>
<a class="wf"><em>nopqrstuvwxyz</em></a>
<a class="wf"><em>and only a test</em></a>


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abdb469Author Commented:
What is this?
Activity it might be doing in the background:

1) Indexing
2) Scheduled defragmentation
3) Windows updates
4) Scans by AntiMal/AntiVirus
5) Possible paging activity to hard drive
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abdb469Author Commented:
Only 1 and 5 is a possibility.  How can I be certain? and how to minimise it?
Whoops, my bad, I posted for the wrong question.
Sure fire way to track it down is to Install Filemon (now included with Process Monitor) and capture data for a few minutes.   You can then look through the capture and pinpoint the activity.



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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Windows 7 automatically defrags your drive whenever there's idle time (i.e. no user activity).

As your drive is quite full (90+ %) the defrag can be very time consuming ... and is almost certainly what's going on in the background.

... in any event, it's normal and nothing to worry about.

You can turn off the automatic defragmentation if you want ... but there's no need to.
abdb469Author Commented:
hmmm...that might also explain why I hear my a:\ (yes, remember those!?) buzz every now and again.  I could not understand why it did that, but if defrag is indeed running that might explain that.  How can I be sure it is dfrag?

When I run the defrag command, the dates it shows of when it last ran does not correspond however to an automatic run of the programme? How can I check that it is doing it whilst idle?
actually N2FC is right .... the OS does all of the 5 things he mentioned... for Indexing, you can check by the speed of the results. For scheduled Defrag.... try defragmentation manually ... and you'll see  only about 3 or 4% would be fragmented maybe less... Windows updates ofcourse .... no doubt about it ... downloading and installing whenever needed... scan by antimalware or antivirus.... ok antivirus scanning will depend on the scheduled u set ... but have you checked there is another Windows Defender running hidden.... it might be doing its stuff too..
and last but not least page file.... DOES happens
Again, pinpoint the activity rather than guessing.   Install process monitor, and look for disk activity.

Defrag - did you schedule it?  if not,check the default schedules and see if they correlate to the time you see the "trashing". Win7 doesn't run defrag all the time but rather pre-scheduled to run periodically - check its schedule.
Windows updates... won't happen "all the time".   easy enough to check for.
AV - If it isn't a scheduled scan, it is due to disk writes and read if enabled.   You need to determine what is causing that.
If it is paging, you sill need to find what activity is causing it.

When running Windows 7 on an 8 year old PC you may well require more than 2gb of RAM.

Also, have you thoroughly checked for Malware activity, using Malwarebytes for example?

Finally, it would be advantageous if you could increase the 10 GB of space left on the C drive, by reducing your program total.
for any windows OS to work well - you need a minimum of free disk space of 15 %
10 GB is not even 10% free space
how big are C: and D: ?
anyhow, use a bigger sized disk for better results
One suggestion to find out the thrashing going on with the hard drive(s) use the performance monitor and add the split I/O if the split I/O is higher than 25 in performance monitor your hard drives are becoming fragmented and I would recommend you run defrag on your hard drive on a more regular basis. A recommended program to try is diskeeper from www.diskeeper.com very nice auto defrag application and inexpensive.
Referring back to defragg again, with only 'about 10 gig of space left' is the PC actually completing a defragg?

Even if it appears to be, an excellent, alternative (free) defragg tool you may like to try is Defraggler:
abdb469Author Commented:
My c drive is 59gb in size with 14gb free and d drive is 90gb in size with 7.7gb free.

defrag does appear to complete the process ok.  The system was recently freshly reformatted but yes I have checked, no malware.
i would install a second drive - to gain more space, as i posted
Have you run procmon yet?
Can you run windows 7 in safe mode and see if the disk still thrashes there. While you are in safe mode try running the computer (what you can because as you know safe mode is well for troubleshooting :) ) If you are plugged into the internet all the time try unplugging the internet for a time. What type of hard drives do you have perhaps you might think about upgrading them if they are 5400 rpm drive go to a 7200 rpm drive. You might just need a hardware upgrade... Can you post the msinfo specs for your system or run the windows 7 performance application and see how you fair you will get recommendations from there on what to do as well...
abdb469Author Commented:
Perhaps I should also add that this seems to occur when I leave my PC on for long periods of time.  I used to shut my PC down each night or hibernate it, but recently I have left it on for 4 or 5 days at a time.  When using the PC after long periods of inactivity, when I switch between windows or tabs, it takes a long while.

After I reboot the PC, its fast and silent, little or no disk thrashing sounds.  I think this may be due to the page file.  I have reduced this to between 200 and 500 megs rather than 2+gb on the c:  I would rather force it to use RAM that the pagefile.  

I did run the process monitor tool, but nothing suspecting came up.  I should also add that I have perhaps 40 odd Firefox tabs open across 3 Firefox sessions.
looks like something is running in the background, as said
what is running in taskmanager?
>> After I reboot the PC, its fast and silent, little or no disk thrashing sounds

Might be a "memory leak". I know Firefox was having issues with grabbing ram and holding on to it in some 'older' versions.

Set the system monitor to keep an eye on the ram.

You just have to be more conscientious of what you are using and perhaps when the disk starts to thrash you might want to check what applications you have open at the time close out those apps with more memory utilization. Firefox with more than 3-5 tabs open does hold on to memory for sure and with that many tabs open its going to use a fair bit of ram.

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abdb469Author Commented:
was on hols. will try again this week.
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