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banjo

Heavy Disk Traffic After Bootup

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I did not know where to put this question, so please forgive me if this is the wrong place.

 

Yesterday I booted my computer (Mandy 2008.1) and logged in. The computer was wicked slow and sluggish. Watching gkrellm, it was apparent that there was no network traffic, the CPU's were down at ~5%, and the disk indicator showed idle, but the computer took forever to do anything. It took half a minute to post the Start menu or run a command window.

 

The access light on the front of the case showed the hard disk being hammered by something, but I could not figure out what it was. The disk activity was not indicated in the gkrellm display...???.. The KSysGuard process monitor showed the processes as mostly idle; nothing showed up as hogging any CPU time. There was zero swap in use, and about 700Meg of my 2 Gig in use..... basically lots of resources were available.

 

After a few minutes it went away and was fine. I am baffled. It was almost like running my fnWindows box at work, which spends the first 20 minutes after it boots scanning the whole disk for bad guys. :wall:

 

Today the computer booted OK no problems. It is as fast and crisp as usual.

 

I am running the ext3 file system and thought that maybe it was doing a disk check or something, but it usually does that during the bootup, not after I am using it.

 

Anybody out there have any idea what might have caused such a thing?

 

Thanks

Banjo

(_)=='=~

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I don't know what the security level is, although I would suspect that it is standard since I do not remember doing anything special when I installed it. I installed from the Mandriva One CD and then added the apps from the repository. I don't know how to check what the level is.

 

I had to set the security on the router pretty low (Known Threats, I think) or my Kmail would not work with my ISP.

 

As far as I know, I did not install any indexing tools. While it was hammering the disk I looked at the processes and saw nothing that appeared to be taking any significant resources like RAM or CPU. I am not at my Linux computer right now, but I will take a look when I get home to see if any of those are on there.

 

This is not something that has been happening all along, and the next day it did not appear to be doing it. Very strange.

 

Thanks for the ideas.

Banjo

(_)=='=~

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I don't know what the security level is, although I would suspect that it is standard since I do not remember doing anything special when I installed it. I installed from the Mandriva One CD and then added the apps from the repository. I don't know how to check what the level is

You can check the level in MCC (Configure Your Computer)--> Security--> Configure system security, permissions and audit. Edited by {BBI}Nexus{BBI}

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I do not remember doing anything special when I installed it. I installed from the Mandriva One CD

 

I believe I default in 2008.1 One is High instead of Standard. Do as Nexus says and change to Standard if necessary.

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OK. I checked my security level and it is set to High. I do not understand what all of the stuff on the tabs means in the MCC, so I have not changed it tonight. It is too late to be fooling around with it tonight anyway. How does one find out the value of "Default"?

 

The descriptions of the various levels are rather vague. Where can I find the specifics of what each means? Is there a man page or an info file?

 

Many thanks to all for the info

Maybe I will try changing it tomorrow when I am rested.

 

Banjo

(_)=='=~

P.S. Never mind. I just clicked on the Help button and it downloaded and installed the info. LOL. I really need to get to bed.

Edited by banjo

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Greetings.

 

I have resurrected this old thread because I think that I have found the cause of the mysterious busy disk and I felt a need to report the solution. This was a strange one for sure.

 

To reprise the problem, the disk access light goes on steady or blinking, there is no indication of CPU activity or disk access activity or paging or excessive network activity, and the computer runs very slowly. This problem has not gone away since I first reported it back in 2009, but has been getting worse. (I have been busy building a house and moving everything we own twice, so I have lived with this problem until now. No time to fix it).

 

The problem was intermittent and unpredictable. When the disk went busy, the computer became essentially unusable. Rebooting did not help. Shutting down the apps did not help. I ran rkhunter and it found no root kits on the system.

 

The breakthrough occurred last weekend when I was trying to do a backup that normally takes 10 minutes. I was an hour and a half into it and still not finished, and the disk light was on steady. I tried to push the USB connector into socket to seat it better, and as soon as I touched it, the computer crashed hard. I had to power down using the power button. This is another problem that has appeared just recently, the computer crashing when I touch the case.

 

It seemed really stupid that this computer would crash from a static spark that I could not even feel even though it is totally grounded to our brand new up-to-code electric system in our new house. At that time I realized that the system actually was not connected to ground directly to the electric system but through my UPS. The UPS is old, and I wondered if that fact was causing a flaky AC supply and if that could be causing the problems.

 

I unplugged the system from the UPS and plugged it directly into a surge protector and the problem went away. I have been running now for a week with no problems. I suspect that the UPS was running everything through its ancient battery, and that was somehow wrecking the quality of the AC power, and the system was being starved for voltage or amperage or both. I don't know the details because I do not know the internals of the UPS. I looks like the bad power was showing up at the disk drive.

 

I would never have guessed that the symptoms of a dead UPS would be a busy disk drive, so I did not make the connection. I have never heard of this happening before, and Mr. Google did not help at all in finding a solution. Perhaps someone else has seen this before and can explain it to me.

 

Anyway, it seems to be fixed, and I have my snappy Mandy system back again.

 

Now I need to upgrade to something newer than Mandy 2008.1 and get back on track.

 

Banjo

(_)=='=~

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Yeah. If I read this story online I wouldn't believe it. It seems far fetched. I have seen a Windows system slow down because of a failing disk drive. It was a similar effect, caused by the disk doing retries and swapping sectors as the sectors failed. That disk finally failed, and we swapped it out.

 

I wonder if a low power condition could cause the disk to reread sectors many times, which would be activity internal to the disk controller and would not be reported on the disk access readings.

 

I'm just guessing at this point. I don't know enough about how these modern disks work to be sure.

 

Banjo

(_)=='=~

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I knew nobody would believe me. :unsure:

 

But the ghosts are still gone after exorcising that UPS. That's good enough for me.

 

I have put a Kill A Watt on the computer and monitor to see how much UPS this thing would require should I decide to replace that old one. So far it is peaking out at about 120 Watts... and about 165 KVA. That is way below what all the online calculators are recommending.

 

Banjo

(_)=='=~

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I thought that I would wake up this thread one more time to report my progress on this strange issue. I think I have actually solved the problem this time.

 

In the previous episode, I had fixed the hanging disk problem by applying clean power to the system. That also fixed the occasional crash of the computer when I touched it. Well, the crashing remained fixed, but the hanging disk drive came back big time. Ghosts, indeed. :blush: I could hardly use the computer at all it was so slow. So I figured that the hard disk was dying ( from all those years on bad power? ) and needed to be replaced.

 

I bought a new 500 Gig Seagate from Newegg and put it in the same old box and put Mandy 2010.2 on it. That is what I am running now as I type this. So far I have got most of my stuff working again in a week. The slow disk is now truly gone because I have replace both the hardware and the software. This old computer has never been so fast.

 

I just did a full backup of my files (about 50 Gig) in 2 minutes, and it was taking up to 45 minutes on that old disk. I think the disk was failing, and the slowness was caused by retries. I have seen a disk do that on a fnWindows machine.

 

On the old system I was constantly up against my 2 Gig memory limit, using 1700 - 1800 Meg all the time. I think the disk spooler was eating the RAM waiting for the disk to finish retries. I am now using about 500 Meg most of the time while doing my normal activities. B)

 

So, the bottom line for me is that if the disk is ever behaving like that again, being busy for no reason, and it is clear that there is no virus on it, assume that the disk is going bad and replace it. Life is too short to put up with that stuff.

 

The solution cost me 40 bucks for the disk and some time to install Mandy 2010.2

 

BTW, I like the 2010.2 distro. Other than a dead Kmail it is working well. I understand that the reviews on Mandy 2011 beta are not very good, so I think I am going to stick with Mandy 2010.2 for a while... until I see where Mageia is headed.

 

Thanks to all for your help and patience.

 

Banjo

(_)=='=~

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