Secondary (data) HDD frequent unnecessary activity

  1. fra
    Posts : 8
    Windows 10

    Secondary (data) HDD frequent unnecessary activity

    Hello everyone, I have a laptop with a primary SSD and a secondary HDD. On the HDD there are only programs and personal files, the paging file is enabled only on the primary drive. Despite being a Dell device, I am on AHCI since I've switched from RAID in the BIOS while trying to get the behaviour I want from my machine.

    Though it's not the only issue I've got, right now I have been keeping an eye on my HDD activity since I'd really like to have it spin down rather than keeping it spinning all the time: the problem is that if it spins down, after a while it will spin up again to do something, even without me doing anything related to that drive.

    At first, Through Resource Monitor I was able to see that Defender was scanning each program on the HDD at regular intervals, so I excluded the D: folder in Defender settings (just to see) and that activity now seems gone. Still, the disk is accessed from time to time by the System process doing something in the D: folder, D:\Programs, even a font folder contained in the Solidworks stuff; often some NTFS activity (file master table, volume register, etc) shows up and I'd assume it's just registering the HDD events, though many times it's there all alone doing something and I can't really tell.
    I have also given Sysinternals Process Monitor a try and by filtering the results I have found the activity on D: (the HDD) to be mainly as shown in the attachment; nothing labelled as System.

    Secondary (data) HDD frequent unnecessary activity-process-monitor-filtered-d-2.png

    I can provide a more extensive list of what's going on if necessary, anyway I'd be happy to find a way to stop windows from doing stuff in the background on the non-system drive without asking. I have also tried looking for scheduled tasks with no luck. I haven't tried disabling indexing yet, though it is activated only for a few folders on the HDD, while most of the time the accessed paths are not selected for indexing.

    This is my first post on TenForums, it has helped me a lot of times and I hope this can help other people too in some way :)

    Thanks in advance to anyone that will help me.

    (Windows 10 20H2 19042.928)
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 4,091
    Windows 7 HP 64 - Windows 10 Pro - Lubuntu

    Welcom to the Forum

    Try to disable indexing and de fragmentation on the drive.
      My Computers

  3. fra
    Posts : 8
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Thanks :)

    Alright then, I will try disabling indexing for that drive. I suppose doing it by right clicking on the drive and uncheck "allow indexing for this drive" is fine. For now I'll try keeping defragmentation active

    Just in case, is it possible to enable back indexing on that drive just by checking that option again? I couldn't really find anything on the web


    - - - Updated - - -

    Ok, I have been running with indexing disabled on my secondary drive and Windows Search service disabled too. Still, the HDD does stuff in the background. I'll attach some screenshots from Process Monitor (filtered by D:, so they are not infinitely long logs) hoping to be clear enough. Still some activity involving a fonts folder. The D:\:$I30:$INDEX_ALLOCATION path was also used for some activity

    Thanks for any help

    Secondary (data) HDD frequent unnecessary activity-immagine-2021-05-06-172534.pngSecondary (data) HDD frequent unnecessary activity-immagine-2021-05-06-172714.pngSecondary (data) HDD frequent unnecessary activity-immagine-2021-05-06-191700.png
    Last edited by fra; 06 May 2021 at 12:45.
      My Computer

  4. Posts : 1,169
    win10 home

    Your problem may be connected to RAID.
    A controller is used and can be either software or hardware based,sometimes built-in to the motherboard.In addition,a software controller uses the CPU and memory,so whether it can be disabled is better checked with Dell.
    Even though you are not using RAID,doesn't mean the controller is no longer active.
    I'm not up-to speed with Dell products,they are better placed to advise on disabling drive controllers.
      My Computer

  5. fra
    Posts : 8
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Thank you, I have been in touch with both Dell and Intel for other issues about the drive controller so nothing about what you're saying ever came up. Right now the controller in Device Manager is an Intel AHCI controller which came along with the RAID controller (they're the same version etc), so maybe they're related.

    I'll try to investigate further about this, anyway do you think that switching to the default Microsoft AHCI controller could make a difference?

    Thanks :)
      My Computer

  6. Posts : 1,169
    win10 home

    Providing you have a suitable back-up,then switching to the default controller is worth a try.
    If you don't plan on using RAID again,removing it might work.
      My Computer

  7. fra
    Posts : 8
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Thanks, now I have temporarily switched to AHCI and unfortunately I am getting the same old behaviour. I'll attach two more screenshots just in case

    Secondary (data) HDD frequent unnecessary activity-ahci-2.pngSecondary (data) HDD frequent unnecessary activity-ahci-std.png

    I have not tried uninstalling the intel controller since the standard one gives me other issues that are still to be solved.

    I'd really want to find out why on earth this stuff has to continuoulsy go on its own but I gess we will never know
      My Computer

  8. fra
    Posts : 8
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    I'm sorry for all the consecutive messages. I might have found a possible explanation for the disk activity I am encountering. By throwing at the web some of the names of the operations registered by Process Monitor I came to this article

    Understanding the Windows I/O System | Microsoft Press Store

    and I think the most interesting part is the one about Mapped File I/O and File Caching: maybe, the periodic disk activity is related to Windows updating its cache for things like recently accessed data and programs on the HDD. Also, some activity is related to stuff like desktop.ini (located in the Downloads folder on the secondary drive), something like a recycle bin, etc; finally, after installing quite a bit of programs on the secondary drive, I have learned that quite a bit of stuff is scattered on the primary drive anyway, so maybe that's how Windows knows that it has to access the secondary one.

    I may very well have been quite ingenuous, anyway I have bought a machine with a secondary HDD just to use it when I need it, and I couldn't care less about all the performance and general improvements Windows thinks caching stuff from that drive can bring.

    Since I haven't been able to find anything about this on the web, I would be glad if anyone knew something about disabling "scheduled cache updates" for selected drives in Windows; even revealing me I'm just wrong would already be something.

    Thanks in advance :)
      My Computer


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