Use This Nifty Utility to Find Out What is Accessing Your Hard Drive


Have you ever noticed your hard drive churning away and wondered what it was doing? Try the free utility called “What’s My Computer Doing?” and find out.

Every now and then my hard drive takes off and starts whirring. Back when I had Vista, this happened a lot. I used to go look at Task Manager to try to see what was going on but that wasn't always obvious. There are also various other ways to check what is causing the activity (see this list of programs), However, none make it as simple as this utility. It is easy to read and tells you right off what is accessing your drive.

You get more than just an output of what's accessing the hard drives. Various features can be seen on the program interface shown below. The top pane shows what programs or processes are accessing the hard drive. Click an entry and an assortment of  information about it appears below the upper pane. There are also buttons on the right with useful functions, including sending the name of a selected program to Kaspersky or VirusTotal for checking and for terminating the program.

A check of the installation file for this utility at VirusTotal gets an OK from 41 out of 42 antivirus programs. The exception was TrendMicro HouseCall. I believe this to be a false positive. A scan of the installation file with TrendMicro HouseCall on my own local computer gave it  a clean bill of health. Also, a local scan  with Microsoft Security Essentials and Malwarebytes showed no problem.

The developer's site and download link are here. The installation file is 480 KB. It works in Windows XP on up. I have used it on 64-bit Windows 7 with no problems. You can run it on demand or let it sit in the tray on the taskbar. Letting the program run automatically at startup did add a small delay to my PC's boot time.

Try it and the mysterious churnings of the hard drive won't be so mysterious anymore.

Utility to check disk activity

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.

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