View Full Version : What the heck is it DOING?

03-21-2008, 03:50 AM
OK, you know how it's possible to hear a slight grinding sound coming from inside a PC when it's "thinking" about something?
Like, let's say it's opening an application, or generally just trying to process a large amount of information. You can HEAR the machine clicking, etc, as it goes through the motions....

I know this is normal. However, sometimes, I'll be sitting near my PC, not even using it, and I'll hear it making that sound almost non-stop for several minutes on end. I'll get up to go and check what it's doing, and usually, it's just performing a virus scan or something of that nature; but on a few occasions, I haven't been able to figure out WHAT it's doing at all. I'll check the task manager, and will see nothing out of the ordinary using up resources. Yet, the machine continues grinding and clicking away, obviously processing SOMETHING.

If it's bugging me enough, I'll restart, and the PC will be quiet again once it's up and running.

What I want to know is, What the the heck is it DOING when this happens? How can I figure out just what the machine is thinking about so hard?

I know what you're going to say...but let's suppose, just for the sake of argument, that it's NOT a virus or anything of that nature. What ELSE could the computer be up to?

03-21-2008, 09:09 PM
The "grinding" you are hearing is the reading writing of the hard drive. All hard drives do this, older ones tend to be very loud.

For what ever reason, windows decided it needs to do allot of read/writing from/to the drive.

03-21-2008, 09:35 PM
Random "grinding" like that is often due to page swapping - ie, the CPU dumping memory to disc so it can run another app. As the machine swaps the RAM on/off HDD, it will grind like that.

How much RAM do you you have? What size is the swapfile? How much free capacity does the HDD have? Is it fragmented?