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Railfan Technology > Hard drive running in the background - why?


Date: 10/21/16 20:25
Hard drive running in the background - why?
Author: Mgoldman

So - I'm on the Internet, or... I was, but am no longer, and I am getting really irriated that
my hardrive seems to be in use for no reason at all.  I've noticed this before, for years,
even.

Let's get the simple explanations out of the way...

Sure - it can be an anti-virus program, a defragmenter, an automatic back up...  or, perhaps
it's the National Security Administration or China?

How can I figure it out?

To the best of my knowledge, NOTHING I know is running in the background, nor do I recall
setting something to run sporadically through the week.

Happened with Windows 7, but I"m on 8 now, avoided 10.  I have Kasperski Anti-virus, but it
does not seem to be running.  I called up "Task Manager" and all I see active are:

"Syncserver.exe ( 32 bit)" at 8% or so and "disnoted (32 bit)" also, at about 8%.  A couple of
other programs sporadically at 0.1%, like "catalyst" and some Adobe program processes, like
Adobe CEF Helper (32 bit) and Adobe Creative Cloud (32 bit), again at 0.1% intermittently.

Several running "services", Bonjour Service... MDM (Machine Debug Manager), Apple Mobile
Device Service - Brokerinfrastructure... blah, blah, blah - assume mostly required "services"
of Windows?

Thoughts on how to determine what's running, if it should be, if it can be disabled - or basically,
has my computer simply been added to the World's network?  And, lol - no, I'm not running Napster,
lol - nor nothing like it, that I konw about!

/Mitch


 



Date: 10/23/16 03:41
Re: Hard drive running in the background - why?
Author: exhaustED

It'll be the Russians...



Date: 10/23/16 04:36
Re: Hard drive running in the background - why?
Author: CNStratford

Try the Task Manager - accessible by hitting CTRL-ALT-DEL
Take a look at SERVICES for the whole computer not just your account.
You should be able to see what Service is accessing your disk.
Note from CN Stratford - instead of apprenticing to fix Steam Locos in 1960 I started working with computers - still love both
 



Date: 10/23/16 06:37
Re: Hard drive running in the background - why?
Author: BRAtkinson

Windows has a service called 'background services' that will intermittently run the HD(s).  I'm not sure what it's up to other than perhaps refreshing or copying directory information, etc.  Most 'known' tasks, such as scheduled Anti-virus scans, scheduled de-fragging and/or disk cleanup, and, of course, automatic Windows updates (default setting on all versions) and automatic Kaspersky updates.  These will each keep the HD fairly busy for 10-60 minutes, even more if doing a full AV scan.  The updates are usually in the 10-20 minute range.

And don't forget various 'automatic check for updates' on just about every software product on your computer...Adobe, Apple, Google, even my screen calibration software has tasks that start up automatically and checks for any updates on their respective websites, just to name a few.

For those with Windows 7 and later, Windows is also 'spying' on you and reporting to HQ the various websites you've visited, searches you've run, etc.  What is a standard feature in Windows 10 was foisted off in the past 18 months or so as optional, later, important updates for Windows 7 & 8 unless one judiciously inspected each individual update item to see what it did and then refused it.  I suspect the individual updates were then included in one of the monthly 'rollup' updates that includes everything for the prior month.  They capture various telemetry and tracking information about your computer usage.  I've also found that Firefox (what I use) keeps a telemetry history as well, which I routinely remove manually.  "Big Brother" HAS arrived!

Possibility also exists that your computer has been remotely made into a 'bot', sending out emails in your name or someone elses', or even 'participating' in major denial of service attacks to overwhelm websites and/or servers such as occurred this past Friday.  However, if you keep your Kaspersky up to date, I think you'll be safe from both of these problems. 

And even though Kaspersky is from Russia, don't believe all the political rhetoric that all the hacking that's being reported is from Russia.  I suspect they are an easy scapegoat in the political arena.  There are servers around the world that are designed as 'pass through' points to hide the true identity of a hacker or  email message originator.  Daisy chain a couple of those together and there's no way it can be traced back to the source.  FWIW, it's childs play to create emails with someone elses' sending name which is a very common way to spread virii.  "Message from the company president" and sent in his/her name has infected numerous corporate email servers necessitating they be shut down and restored from backup in the past 15-20 years.  It's even easier to display false caller-ID information to your telephone.  



Date: 10/23/16 08:42
Re: Hard drive running in the background - why?
Author: bioyans

Mitch, do you an external backup hard drive attached to your system?  I generally keep one going to back up important files (such as photos) to two additional locations off my machine, and I've often found that it is the file backup that keeps the computer busy, even when I'm not doing something.



Date: 10/23/16 08:58
Re: Hard drive running in the background - why?
Author: cchan006

BRAtkinson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> And don't forget various 'automatic check for
> updates' on just about every software product on
> your computer...Adobe, Apple, Google, even my
> screen calibration software has tasks that start
> up automatically and checks for any updates on
> their respective websites, just to name a few.
>
> For those with Windows 7 and later, Windows is
> also 'spying' on you and reporting to HQ the
> various websites you've visited, searches you've run, etc.

First, great advice from CNStratford regarding the use of Task Manager for "all accounts" which is an additional step required to monitor activities on a Windows PC. The default is monitoring activity for the logged in user account only, which is insufficient to determine many of the activities on a given PC.

Funny you mention "automatic check for updates" because on second Tuesday of every month (and sometimes the fourth), that is EXACTLY what causes excessive disk activities on Windows PCs, which might alarm some people. With a little sleuthing using Task Manager, you can figure out which background service is the culprit due to the large amount of resources (CPU and memory) it's using. I've disabled the service ("End Task") and few seconds later, Windows would complain that automatic updates are not enabled. :-)

Heavy disk activities NOT occuring on those specific Tuesdays are usually because Internet browsers (REGARDLESS of brand, especially if Adobe Flash is enabled) are notorious for inefficient memory use and force the operating system (Windows or Mac, it doesn't matter) to perform unnecessary memory swapping via virtual memory. That usually means lots of disk activity. Even if you close the browser and disconnect the network, it takes time for the computer to clean up system memory, especially if fancy features like "application caching" is enabled (default in Windows, marketing name: "SuperFetch"), so you might see disk activity occur much much later. 

As for preaching about privacy, our privacy rights ended more than 15 years ago. Users have unwittingly and voluntarily given it up for many reasons, many because they are nosy (so they would never respect the idea), and some got baited by "free new features" or by addictive behavior. It's a hopeless, losing battle. 



Date: 10/23/16 10:38
Re: Hard drive running in the background - why?
Author: norm1153

Yes, privacy is pretty much gone.  You can help a little bit but it'll cost ya few bucks/month.  Subscribe to a VPN service.  That routes you through at least one of their servers, which strips out some info, and passes it on. 
You can get more info at such a provider's website.
I have three Windows 7 machines, including two PC's and one Workstation.  I installed Windows 7 on all three of them, including Service Pac 1.  Then I turned off Automatic Updates, and any variation thereof (asking me first, etc.).  No updates of any kind, now over a period of somewhere around 8 years or so on the oldest PC.  Also no problems.  No crashes, no blue screens of death, no incompatibilities (and I run a lot of video software, plus audio, "professional" rendering, 3D software, etc.).   Nothing.    I also have Avast online security installed, and periodically run Maleware Bytes.  Programs like these two should be on everyone's PC, automatic updates or not, as they take care of things no version of Windows is capable of.  There are quite a few offerings out therel.  So I am doing fine with no Windows updates since installation.
\
 



Date: 10/25/16 18:45
Re: Hard drive running in the background - why?
Author: cchan006

exhaustED Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It'll be the Russians...

Humor aside (since you didn't use a smiley), if people are a bit paranoid due to the Internet outage about 4 days ago, the tech media seems to point at IoT ("Internet of Things") devices being the major culprit... ya know, small devices (like webcams) that have embedded software where it can exchange information semi-autonomously and be controlled via the Internet, usually by WiFi.

And for anyone following recent trends, the same tech media hyped the "wonders" of "IoT" for the past year or two.

It's very possible some of the surveillance equipment (for example, used by management against employees) could have been hacked and became unwitting participant to the DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks that caused the outage. So maybe the humor (and possible irony) is here on this continent, not over there. :-)



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