Windows Processes CONSTANTLY Writing to Hard Drive

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Windows Processes CONSTANTLY Writing to Hard Drive

Postposted on Sun Aug 19, 2012 10:28 am

Hello:

I'm typing this on Windows 8 RTM Trial using IE10. I have not observed this activity on Win 7 and IE9, but I haven't thought to look and so I would not be surprised if it exists there too.

I am using spinning disks for this test/eval period, but eventually I'd like to use SSDs for OS and possibly some of my read-only music sample libraries.

Minutes ago while I was reading and responding to a few posts in the TR forums, I noticed my hard drive light was flickering away. Knowing that I haven't installed any AV, defrag, or backup utilities on this 90 Day Trial version of Win 8, I wondered what might be using my hard drive while I'm here on the forums.

Internet Explorer appeared at the top of the list in Resource Monitor with A LOT of writes. I closed a couple of IE windows which were just resting on some website landing pages. This caused the Internet Explorer tasks to fall out of my top-writers list.

But just sitting here reading forum threads and making the occasional post, I STILL see a lot of "system" processes doing writes to the C partition. Some of the heavy hitters:

C:\$logFile (NTFS Volume Log)
C:\$MFT (NTFS Space Map)
C:\Bitmap (NTFS Master File Table)
C:\Users\....\NTUSER.DAT
C:\USERS\...\NTUSER.DAT.LOG
C:\Windows\System32\config\software.LOG

Tilecashstartview, Windows Defender, IE recovery processes (by differing names), and other system processes also keep showing up.

This begs the question: Are all these write tasks going to be the death knell for a new SSD? I'm a non-expert on this, but it just seems like a lot of write operations, constantly and never-ending, even continuing to happen when little-to-no user activity is going on.
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Re: Windows Processes CONSTANTLY Writing to Hard Drive

Postposted on Sun Aug 19, 2012 10:38 am

Yeah, that's normal on other versions of Windows as well.

It's usually bytes or kilobytes worth of activity. It's a non-issue. Remember that SSDs are rated in tens of GBs worth of writes per day.
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Re: Windows Processes CONSTANTLY Writing to Hard Drive

Postposted on Sun Aug 19, 2012 10:51 am

I think I partly understand what you're saying.

Followup question: Do SSDs write in 4K blocks, or is this measured differently for SSDs?
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Re: Windows Processes CONSTANTLY Writing to Hard Drive

Postposted on Sun Aug 19, 2012 11:18 am

Blocks, sectors, and clusters don't seem to get used in the industry in a very consistent manner. For example what ext2 calls blocks, FAT calls clusters.

Do this from an Administrative command prompt.

fsutil fsinfo ntfsinfo c:

SSDs do use a 4K sector size, but you'll see that the firmware handily lies and presents a 512 byte sector size.

You'll also see that the cluster size is 4096, which is what we're most interested in as that represents the smallest unit of writes that can occur at the filesystem level. It also happens to match the real sector size of the disk.

That doesn't mean that 4K is written for every transaction, but it does mean that if the transaction is smaller than 4K it will leave behind slack space.
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Re: Windows Processes CONSTANTLY Writing to Hard Drive

Postposted on Sun Aug 19, 2012 12:07 pm

I have not yet installed my SSDs. This is all sort of pending my hardware and OS upgrade decisions, which are detailed in various other threads...

Thank you for taking the time. This actually did clear up a few things for me and gives me some direction for further education on this whole subject.
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