Random disk access, every second every day

Bug #35449 reported by Dhonn Lushine on 2006-03-18
This bug affects 1 person
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
hal (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

I hear the disk reading every few seconds and see the disk light access light blink every second every day.

It can be annoying.

I only see and hear this when I'm in gnome and even after I exit gnome to shell. When I boot in safe mode it doesnt happen.

This bug is normal and its been happening since warty. I can confirm this bug on 4 computers that I own.

Could it be a possible memory leak?

I've had the same problem when I used fedora along time ago but I somehow fixed it by turning off all services. Bug can be confirmed on a clean install too.

It won't stop!

Dhonn Lushine (dhonn) wrote :

Ok I have a temporary fix plus we can narrow the problem down to gdm maybe.

This is the first time in 2 years I have ever heard my desktop hard drive sleep!

Here's my temporary solution:

1. Restart the computer.
2. In the boot loader choose "Recovery Mode"
3. When boot is finished execute:
    Xorg & DISPLAY=:0 xterm &
4. When in Xorg/xterm run these commands:
    gnome-settings-daemon &
    gnome-panel &
    nautilus &
    metacity &

That's it. You'll have a perfectly silent hard drive when idle and if idle long enough the hard drive will dose off to sleep.

Now my desktops and laptop are happy. My laptop will definitely have better battery life!

We need a real fix. I'm not satisified about this yet.

Dhonn Lushine (dhonn) wrote :

One more thing: On step 4 you can "su - username" before those commands so it loads the user's enviroment instead of roots.

Dhonn Lushine (dhonn) wrote :

I've narrowed down this bug to dbus/hald.

  sudo chmod -x /etc/init.d/dbus

No more random disk activity at all.

Simon Ruggier (simon80) wrote :

I know this is a very tough thing to track down, but I do agree that if I computer isn't being touched, chances are whatever is accessing the disk can wait, without impacting the user experience. I urge developers to take this issue seriously if they have the time.

random (random-xenon135) wrote :

I've got the exact same issue, it seems.

Started out bad; had the e7xxx module throwing errors into syslog about every second, so I fixed that. Went through the sysv-rc-conf and killed all the services I didn't need. Blacklisted the modules I didn't need. The problem got much better, but there was still that blink.

swapoff - no difference
stop hal - disk stopped accessing every second.

Mike Dahlgren (dahlgren) wrote :

Have you tried running powertop http://www.linuxpowertop.org/ it should tell you what programs are waking up the most and maybe help you track this down?

    ~ Mike

Dhonn Lushine (dhonn) wrote :

it doesn't help. The frequency that it occurs is so small its hard to catch. Regular top would be better because i can set the refresh rate to 0. One thing is for sure laptops and desktop hard drive never sleeps.

Travis Whitaker (pi-boy-travis) wrote :

This bug needs some more info. I used to have this on one of my older Dell desktops, but stoped after an upgrade to 8.04. . . Can anyone confirm this still happens in 8.04/8.10/9.04?

Changed in hal (Ubuntu):
status: New → Incomplete
HavocXphere (havocxphere) wrote :

I've got the 1sec blinking thing too. Kubuntu 8.10 32bit. Can't tell whether its the same issue as being discussed here.

btw Various flavours of that other operating system which must not be mentioned does this exact same thing too...so maybe its something more universal & low-level than just a Ubuntu bug.

Thank you for posting this bug.

Does this occur in Lucid?

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

[Expired for hal (Ubuntu) because there has been no activity for 60 days.]

Changed in hal (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Expired
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