How to Monitor Hard Drive Activity in Windows 7

Written by ken white
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How to Monitor Hard Drive Activity in Windows 7
Microsoft's Resource Monitor lets you monitor hard drive access and other system resources. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Processes on your computer access your hard drive every minute that your computer runs. The hard drive has a maximum amount of data per second it can input and output. When this amount reaches 100 per cent, your computer system will begin to slow down as processes have to wait to read or write information. Microsoft Windows 7 has a Resource Monitor that lets you monitor activity on each hard drive in your computer, see which process is using the hard drive and shut down processes that are hogging disk access.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Press and hold the "Windows" key on your keyboard and press the "R" key. Type "resmon.exe" in the resulting run box and press "Enter."

  2. 2

    Click the "Disk" tab in the Resource Monitor. The "Processes With Disk Activity" window identifies disk use by process, process ID and read/write amount in bytes per second. The graphs on the right side of the screen display disk activity by input/output and total active time.

  3. 3

    Right-click on any process, and select "Search Online." This will open a Web browser and perform an online search to identify the process. Select "End Process" to end the process and stop the disk access.

  4. 4

    Click the "Down" arrow on the "Storage" pane. The "Storage" pane displays the logical and physical hard drives in the computer, their percentage of "Active Time" and the "Disk Queue Length," which is how many processes are waiting to use the disk at any time. Click the "File" menu, and click "Exit" to close the Resource Monitor.

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