Stop Hard Disk Thrashing
By Stephen Bucaro
Hard Disk Thrashing is when your computer's hard disk activity light stays on, and you hear your
disk spinning most of the time, even when you're not doing anything on your computer. When you do
try to do something on your computer, it responds very slowly. Something is working your hard disk
real hard, and it's not you.
When you perform a search on Windows Vista, you can actually search the "contents"
of files. Searching files is a very slow process, but Windows can produce the
results in seconds. How is this possible? It's possible because Windows keeps
a database, called an "index", of all the files on your computer. It's great to
get results quickly, but there's a price to pay.
The service that creates the index, called the "Indexing Service", has to continuously
monitor the files on your computer for changes and update it's database when changes
or new files are found. This uses processor time and can take up more than a megabyte
of ram. You may notice when just you're sitting in front of your computer, not
executing programs or saving files that the hard drive starts working very hard.
That might be the Indexing Service working to update it's database.
If you commonly search only ceratin folders, you can reduce the amount of work performed
by the Indexing Service by configuring the indexing options. Select Control Panel
| System and Maintenance | Indexing Options and in the "Indexing Options" dialog box
remove any folders that you rarely search from the index.
If you rarely use Windows Search feature, and you find it anoying to hear your hard
drive working very hard when you're not performing any drive intensive tasks, you can
disable the Indexing Service. To disable Indexing Service, Select Control Panel
| System and Maintenance | Administrative Tools | Services.
If the User Account Control dialog box appears, click on the [Continue] button.