• Disk Activity Indicator

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    #2358121

    If you cannot see the disk activity indicator on your desktop computer case from where you are using your computer, this little utility will solve that for you. It puts an indicator in your system tray on the right side of the taskbar. If you have multiple accounts on your computer, it will have to be installed in each account where you want to use it. It can be set to load at Windows startup. To have it show up in the system tray instead of among the hidden icons: Settings > Personalization > Taskbar > Notification area > Select which icons appear on the taskbar > On. From our friend Igor Tolmachev who gave us the Network Activity Indicator that many of us use. Microsoft has something similar in their Windows Sysinternals utilities (DiskMon), but I like Igor’s version better.

    http://www.itsamples.com/disk-activity-indicator.html

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    • #2358277

      If you cannot see the disk activity indicator on your desktop computer case from where you are using your computer, this little utility will solve that for you.

      It would be even more useful for any of the more “modern” machines that simply do not have one in the first place. It’s out of style now, apparently, and all four of my recent PCs (all laptops), from 2017 on, have omitted them. I have no idea how desktops come now, as I have never bought one, and the motherboard/CPU in the one I last built are at least 8 years old.

      Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
      XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/32GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon
      Acer Swift Go 14, i5-1335U/16GB, KDE Neon (and Win 11)

    • #2358279

      FWIW on my Dell Inspiron 15 3000 series laptop, new in April 2016, one indicator light can be toggled between “power and battery-status” and “hard-drive activity” using Fn + H. (I don’t use the feature because I can hear the hard drive activity.)

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      • #2358345

        My Dell G3 has that feature also, and I have enabled it… but Dell has said that only units that came with hard drives (not SSDs) have this option available. My G3 came with a HDD, but I replaced it with a SSD really quick. The feature still works, though (not sure if it activates for the NVMe M.2 SSD or just the SATA drive in the 2.5″ bay).

        My XPS, though, does nothing when I try the Fn-F hotkey. It comes with only a SSD, and has no HDD bay.

        Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
        XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/32GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon
        Acer Swift Go 14, i5-1335U/16GB, KDE Neon (and Win 11)

    • #2358309

      I would be lost without a disk activity indicator.  To me, it’s the first thing I check to determine if I just managed to ‘lock it up’ in a CPU loop.  Not all software is well behaved.  AMD Ryzen Master is one of the bad boys.

      I’ve also gone so far as to have installed slide-in/out bays for my SSDs and HDDs with activity lights for each device.  There are times that WHAT drive (of 4) is being read/written is important as well.  That’s how I managed to track down a so-called ‘file protection/security’ feature of the internet security product I use and disabled it.  It was needlessly ‘checking’ my long-term ‘bulk’ storage drives (no executables on them) once every second or so.  And that was in addition to Windows regularly doing <whatever> to them as well, which is still does.  Who in their right mind wants more I/O activity to wear out their drives?  Yes, I still worry about drive & channel separation as well as nano- and micro-seconds from my mainframe days 1967 forward.

      As for my laptop, it doesn’t have a disk activity indicator.  Just HOW is one supposed to determine is it a dead battery, dead mobo, or dead drive that is preventing a boot up?  The trend in all businesses these days is to save a penny on every unit they produce, even at the cost of alienating customers!

      • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by bratkinson.
      • #2358346

        I would be lost without a disk activity indicator. To me, it’s the first thing I check to determine if I just managed to ‘lock it up’ in a CPU loop.

        That was one of the first objections I had to the omission of the drive light too. I’ve adapted by having a CPU utilization meter in the system tray instead (bar graph, one bar per core, plus a bar for RAM usage and virtual memory use). I can see at a glance if one core is pegged or if they all are, or if some memory-leaking program has used up the RAM or swap file.

        Because of that, I’ve adapted to the loss of the HDD light, so I don’t miss it anymore. If there was one available, I’d no doubt re-incorporate it into my mental toolset and begin relying on it again.

        I don’t think the loss of the HDD light is all about cost savings. I think they’re simply out of style. If people wanted them, it would be the kind of thing Dell would add to the XPS line to distinguish them from the lower-cost models, but even my XPS lacks one. I’ve seen a number of people commenting that the omission of the HDD light was an “about time” thing.

        Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
        XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/32GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon
        Acer Swift Go 14, i5-1335U/16GB, KDE Neon (and Win 11)

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