Why does Windows Task Manager show a 100% disk activity?

Shaurya G October 11, 2013
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I can’t understand why my Windows 8 laptop keeps showing a 100% disk usage when the transfer rate is just around 1MB/s.

Here’s a screenshot of the resource monitor showing total disk transfer.

The specs of my laptop are:

  • Paging file size:3154 MB
  • Operating System: Windows 8 Single Language 64-bit (6.2, Build 9200) (9200.win8_gdr.130531-1504)
  • Language: English (Regional Setting: English)
  • System Manufacturer: LENOVO
  • System Model: IdeaPad Z580
  • Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-3120M CPU @ 2.50GHz (4 CPUs), ~2.5GHz
  • Memory: 4096MB RAM
  • Available OS Memory: 3956MB RAM
  • Page File: 1693MB used, 2967MB available

  1. James B
    October 14, 2013 at 8:26 am

    Uninstall Avast, problem solved!

  2. Bruce E
    October 12, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Where are you seeing 100% disk activity? It isn't showing up anywhere on your screenshot. If you are looking at the graphs, they are auto-scaling. I would assume that you have at least a SATA II drive in that laptop which would put your max transfer rate at approximately 300MB/sec. You would have twice that with a SATA III drive which is more likely what is installed. (I didn't bother looking it up.) With a 1MB/sec top transfer rate indicated on the graphs there, you are seeing about 0.3% of the max (or 0.15%), not 100%. You are also only seeing approximately 1 disk read or write every 2 seconds. You are hardly maxing out anything there.

    • Shaurya G
      October 13, 2013 at 9:44 am

      yes that is what i am saying, the resoufce monitor shows a total of 1 - 5 MB/s while task manager shows 100% disk usage. Most of the times, it is either svchost.exe or system or avast using the max.

    • Bruce E
      October 13, 2013 at 1:30 pm

      So you are seeing high disk activity when a virus scan is in progress. That is normal. The svchost process can be hosting any of a multitude of processes. You would need to see which one of them is using svchost for any kind of disk access to know what is going on. The system process may be the system dealing with temp files, resizing the paging file, actually paging to or from memory among several other "background" tasks. In most cases they are short-term (under 5 seconds for the vast majority) and tend to have a low priority with the exception of some paging operations depending on how memory-starved the system is at the moment. Use the Resource Monitor to watch the number of paging operations per second as well as resizing of the file. I always set up Windows systems with a fixed size page file to avoid a lot of the associated resizing hassles.

  3. Hovsep A
    October 11, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    try this What's my computer doing
    see if something comes up and causing 100%activity

  4. Louise B
    October 11, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    It just basically means that there's a lot of content making it run slower

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