macbook hard drive continuously thrashes

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by foxxlet, Nov 20, 2007.

  1. foxxlet macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Location:
    London, UK
    #1
    Has anyone got any idea why my macbook's (white 2.0Ghz, last gen) hard drive stays on and really thrashes about almost continuously? It sounds like it's doing a lot of work. It's driving me mad with the noise plus it can't be good for the drive.

    It was doing it before my Leopard upgrade and still does. (clean install) I've tried disabling spotlight and that wasn't it.

    I have 2 gigs of ram and it happens even when no programs are running, so it can't be memory.

    Oh and it only started suddenly, it was fine for the first few months I owned the machine.

    Any help appreciated!
     
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #2
    I'd take a look at the processes that are running with Activity Monitor when you hear disk thrashing.
     
  3. Nugget macrumors 65816

    Nugget

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2002
    Location:
    Houston Texas USA
    #3
    Even more useful is to open up a terminal and run the command "sudo fs_usage" which will show you exactly what disk activity is going on and which application or service is responsible for it. If the details seem confusing, just watch the right-hand column for the program name.
     
  4. foxxlet thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Location:
    London, UK
    #4
    strangely there's nothing taking up huge amounts of cpu

    also just remembered that if you close the lid and open it again, it takes about 10 to 15 minutes before it starts to thrash again.
     
  5. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #5
    fs_usage is another good idea but you might want to have it dump the contents to a text file while it's running.
     
  6. tyr2 macrumors 6502a

    tyr2

    Joined:
    May 6, 2006
    Location:
    Leeds, UK
    #6
    Or as an alternative to fs_usage you could try using DTrace. Download bitesize.d from here. It's for Solaris but works fine on Leopard.

    Run it like this 'sudo dtrace -s bitesize.d' from the terminal, enter your password when prompted. Let it run for a while then ctrl+c to quit. You'll get output like this

    Code:
    baldur:~ gordonj$ sudo dtrace -s bitesize.d 
    Sampling... Hit Ctrl-C to end.
    ^C
    
         PID  CMD
         335  vmware-vmx
    
               value  ------------- Distribution ------------- count    
                2048 |                                         0        
                4096 |@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 2        
                8192 |                                         0        
    
           0  kernel_task
    
               value  ------------- Distribution ------------- count    
                2048 |                                         0        
                4096 |@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 5        
                8192 |                                         0        
    
         283  Mail
    
               value  ------------- Distribution ------------- count    
                2048 |                                         0        
                4096 |@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@  58       
                8192 |@                                        1        
               16384 |                                         0        
    
          33  update
    
               value  ------------- Distribution ------------- count    
                2048 |                                         0        
                4096 |@@@@                                     7        
                8192 |@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@     66       
               16384 |                                         0        
               32768 |@                                        1        
               65536 |                                         0        
    
         282  Safari
    
               value  ------------- Distribution ------------- count    
                2048 |                                         0        
                4096 |@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@        168      
                8192 |@@@@                                     21       
               16384 |@@                                       8        
               32768 |@                                        3        
               65536 |                                         1        
              131072 |                                         2        
              262144 |                                         0        
    It's the 'count' column you're really interested it, in the above you can see Safari has made about 200 disk events, mostly of 4096 bytes.
     
  7. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #7
    Safari saves that as a "bitesize.d.sh" file.

    Just a heads up.
     
  8. foxxlet thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Location:
    London, UK
    #8
    thanks heaps for all the replies. I'm going to try them tonight.

    Does anyone think it could it be the hard drive is failing? rather than a software issue I mean.
     
  9. misterredman macrumors 6502a

    misterredman

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #9

    Have you checked the SMART status in disk utility?
     
  10. TuckBodi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2007
    #10
    I'd make sure you don't have one of those Seagate drives people are having problems with. My sister had one in her MacBook and it died.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=382571

    From the Computerworld article:

    The problem is found on the Seagate 2.5-in. SATA drives that are made in China and are loaded with firmware Version 7.01. Model numbers affected include ST96812AS and ST98823AS.
     

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