What is causing my hard drive to max out

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menhir
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What is causing my hard drive to max out

Post by menhir »

Since my recent upgrade to 19.3 there are long periods of time where the disc drive seems to be running hell-bent-for-leather for long periods of time, often to the point where I just can't get anything accomplished until it's settled down Here's the background:

I've been using Mint for years, this has never happened before
The computer, a Compaq 6000, has been running other versions of Mint for years with no problem.
I also upgraded my wife's laptop to 19.3 and her computer isn't affected.
At first, I just figured it would settle down, but it seems to be getting worse.

What I've done:
I seems that starting the Chromium browser would often trigger the problem so I installed and set up Firefox, but the problem seems to persist. It might be a red herring. The disc light has been illuminated steadily now for the best part of an hour, although at this point I can still get some work done.

If someone could let me know how I can find out what's going on, I'd appreciate it. (Although I've been running Mint for quite a few years now, I've only learned what I needed to do to get back to the business of my business. Now that I'm retired, I finally have the time to really learn how to use Linux so I still consider myself a newbie. But I'm taking notes. :)
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Kadaitcha Man
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Re: What is causing my hard drive to max out

Post by Kadaitcha Man »

menhir wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 12:46 am
The computer, a Compaq 6000, has been running other versions of Mint for years with no problem.
Modern operating systems suck far more resources than they did in the dark ages, 6+ years ago. It's possible that your machine isn't up to running a leading-edge desktop like Cinnamon. More will be known when you post the output of inxi -Fxz. Use code tags around the output. You'll see the </> code tag icon when you reply.

You can also install and use htop from the terminal to determine what might be loading up the disk.
Coming to a thread near you: Lots of bragging about my AMD 5950X. Currently delayed due to high demand.
It's pronounced kad-eye-cha, not kada-itcha.
Petermint
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Re: What is causing my hard drive to max out

Post by Petermint »

Problems with 19.3 include a Nemo that runs forever producing thumbnails. There are also problems that can occur with hardware and sometimes happen when you make another change, leading you to think it is the update causing the problems.

Starts Disks and check the disk SMART data to see if there are errors or overheating. SSDs slow right down at 70 or 80 degrees.

If it is a chip problem, you might have to test a different Linux kernel. Read up on selecting different kernels in Update Manager.

It could be something using more memory, leading to paging. You can see memory usage and paging in System Monitor.

Chrome goes crazy preloading pages you might never visit. Firefox can be almost as bad as Chrome with the wrong configuration. It could be any software package that was updated.
menhir
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Re: What is causing my hard drive to max out

Post by menhir »

OK, thanks. I've added all your suggestions to my Linux Notes.

I'm waiting for the behavior to manifest itself again, but even though it's been a constant problem since the install, it hasn't happened at all so far today...

It looks like the Chromium browser may the major culprit. I never opened it this morning, rather I used Firefox exclusively and went through all my usual forums, financial sites, news sites, etc., and programs just like I always do. The bad behavior never repeated itself then and the computer has run fine all day so far.

Fingers crossed.

Yes, it's an older computer which, although it's been running Mint since 17 since I first purchased it, I was prepared to accept that the heavier demands of the latest versions may tax it closer to it's limits. I have a much more capable enterprise laptop still running Windows 7 (with the Wi-Fi turned off) that I plan on converting to Linux in the future. I still need it to run Quickbooks (my accountant demands it) until all my corporate taxes are free and clear, and to run a few Windows programs that I haven't had time to find a Linux substitute for. When that's done, I'll install Mint on it, too.

If my current computer does an acceptable job until then, I'm happy for now.
ZakGordon
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Re: What is causing my hard drive to max out

Post by ZakGordon »

Don't forget your out put from:

Code: Select all

inxi -Fxz
As per the advice from the 'How to get help' thread here:

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=83444

To get that output open the terminal (should be a black box icon thing on the taskbar somewhere) which can be found by opening the Linux Mint menu (that LM icon in the far bottom left) and looking for 'Terminal' in the 'System' section (if not right there in the first menu).

Once you have the terminal open copy/paste that text above for inxi -Fxz into the terminal and hit enter then copy/paste the result back here within code brackets. That way more people will be able to help advise you as they can better see what hardware you have that might be causing the issue.

============

Not related at all but in Windows recently i had an update on one machine that 'thrashed' one of my SSD's until it was running too hot (like +60 degrees). It was just that specific machine (others running the same windows OS did not have a problem) so was likely some hardware/update combination issue.
Laptop overheating? Check link here:itsfoss guide . A move from Cinnamon to XFCE can give a -5 to -10 degrees C change on overheating hardware.

Build a modern dual-boot Ryzen Win7/Linux Mint PC:Tutorial
menhir
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Re: What is causing my hard drive to max out

Post by menhir »

Sorry for the late response: Things got a bit hectic for a while and I also wanted to take some time playing around with the browser options before I posted again.

I'm guessing that a RAM upgrade will solve my problems, It looks like I have only 1.89 GB.
Whether or not I use Chromium or Firefox (I've tried both since my last erroneous post) and the problem persists.

Here is the output form as requested: (Thanks for the terminal command 8) )

Code: Select all

 Topology: Dual Core model: Pentium E6700 bits: 64 type: MCP arch: Penryn 
  rev: A L2 cache: 2048 KiB 
  flags: lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 ssse3 vmx bogomips: 12766 
  Speed: 1660 MHz min/max: N/A Core speeds (MHz): 1: 1660 2: 1620 
Graphics:
  Device-1: Intel 4 Series Integrated Graphics vendor: Hewlett-Packard 
  driver: i915 v: kernel bus ID: 00:02.0 
  Display: x11 server: X.Org 1.20.5 driver: modesetting unloaded: fbdev,vesa 
  resolution: 1920x1080~60Hz 
  OpenGL: renderer: Mesa DRI Intel Q45/Q43 v: 2.1 Mesa 19.2.8 
  direct render: Yes 
Audio:
  Device-1: Intel 82801JD/DO HD Audio vendor: Hewlett-Packard 
  driver: snd_hda_intel v: kernel bus ID: 00:1b.0 
  Sound Server: ALSA v: k5.3.0-28-generic 
Network:
  Device-1: Intel 82567LM-3 Gigabit Network vendor: Hewlett-Packard 
  driver: e1000e v: 3.2.6-k port: 1100 bus ID: 00:19.0 
  IF: enp0s25 state: down mac: <filter> 
  Device-2: Ralink RT5372 Wireless Adapter type: USB driver: rt2800usb 
  bus ID: 1-1:2 
  IF: wlx9cefd5fe4377 state: up mac: <filter> 
Drives:
  Local Storage: total: 89.41 GiB used: 61.81 GiB (69.1%) 
  ID-1: /dev/sda vendor: Western Digital model: WD800JD-75MSA3 
  size: 74.51 GiB 
  ID-2: /dev/sdb type: USB vendor: Lexar model: USB Flash Drive 
  size: 14.91 GiB 
Partition:
  ID-1: / size: 72.83 GiB used: 52.14 GiB (71.6%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda1 
Sensors:
  System Temperatures: cpu: 43.0 C mobo: N/A 
  Fan Speeds (RPM): N/A 
Info:
  Processes: 187 Uptime: 1d 4h 13m Memory: 1.89 GiB used: 1.17 GiB (62.1%) 
  Init: systemd runlevel: 5 Compilers: gcc: 7.4.0 Shell: bash v: 4.4.20 
  inxi: 3.0.32 

The system monitor shows that even when thing are at it's calmest, While running Chrome I'm using about 80%+ RAM and 25% SWAP. When I'm actively browsing, the RAM usage maxes out and things get really bogged down.

So, am I on the right track? It's an easy and inexpensive fix to double the RAM to 4GB.
Last edited by WharfRat on Sun Feb 02, 2020 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Added code tag
gittiest personITW
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Re: What is causing my hard drive to max out

Post by gittiest personITW »

Adding more RAM won't hurt at all.
Petermint
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Re: What is causing my hard drive to max out

Post by Petermint »

You need the RAM for Chrome because Chrome is always loading extra Web pages in the background to increase advertising revenue. Using a less aggressive Web browser, my usage sits at 1.6 GB.

I also have Noscript blocking megabytes of Javascript and the gigabytes of advertising they download. :idea:
menhir
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Re: What is causing my hard drive to max out

Post by menhir »

This is more of a hardware question, but it's related to the subject at hand...

OK, I've ordered up two new identical 2GB memory modules that I'll be putting in channel A for my upgrade to 4GB RAM.
That leaves the original 2GB module from another manufacturer. Is there any reason I couldn't add that to channel B for some extra RAM?



When the upgrade is done, I'll report back to see if it solved my issue.

(PS: I knew Chrome was resource heavy. I transferred everything to Firefox and tried it out for a week or so, but it wasn't much different. What ruined Firefox for me though, was it's mobile version, which I really didn't care for...To fussy for me to use easily. Back to Chrome. )
Petermint
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Re: What is causing my hard drive to max out

Post by Petermint »

Your motherboard documentation will tell you what combination the chipset supports.It is the chipset that detects the ram and decides what is acceptable. If you have 2 rows of 2 slots, you might have to pick the right row and slot for that spare RAM. You might have to buy a fourth ram stick.
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WharfRat
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Re: What is causing my hard drive to max out

Post by WharfRat »

To see disk i/o install iotop and run sudo iotop -o
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menhir
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Re: What is causing my hard drive to max out

Post by menhir »

Another question (with thanks for your patience.) I downloaded the manual for my computer and found this info:

DIMM Socket Locations (There are four sockets)
1. DIMM1, Channel A (populate first)
2. DIMM2, Channel A (populate third)
3. DIMM3, Channel B (populate second)
4. DIMM4. Channel B (populate fourth)

If I'm reading this right, using the two new identical 2GB modules, I should place one in DIMM1, Channel A, and the other in DIMM3, Channel B. The manual states with the same amount of RAM in each channel, the system will operated in a higher-performing Dual Channel Mode. Right?

If I decide to also add the original 2GB module,* I'm not sure where to place it. DIMM2, Channel A? The manual states states if the memory of both channels are unequal, the system will operate in Flex mode (I found no clear description as to what the difference in performance between Dual and Flex would be in that case or if one is inherently better than the other.)
*Or should I just put the old 2GB module in a desk drawer?

On my web searches of tutorials and videos, I've found four very conflicting or incomplete answers, so I'll admit to being confuzzed here.
I trust you guys, though.
Petermint
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Re: What is causing my hard drive to max out

Post by Petermint »

The two matching memory sticks will run in parallel for double the speed. Adding the third stick might give you extra memory that runs at a slower speed or it might slow everything down, depending on the chipset. Start with the two memory sticks in parallel. You might then toss the other stick or buy a matching 4th stick.
menhir
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Re: What is causing my hard drive to max out

Post by menhir »

Petermint wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 5:00 am
The two matching memory sticks will run in parallel for double the speed. Adding the third stick might give you extra memory that runs at a slower speed or it might slow everything down, depending on the chipset. Start with the two memory sticks in parallel. You might then toss the other stick or buy a matching 4th stick.
Thanks. That's what I'm going to do then...Install the two new identical 2GB sticks only and put the original one aside. Keeping it simple. :wink:

By "parallel"...I'm not really sure what you mean by that.
One in DIMM1, Channel A, and One in DIMM3, Channel B?
Petermint
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Re: What is causing my hard drive to max out

Post by Petermint »

Yeah. The chipset can read from bank A and B in parallel. Think about breathing through your nose. Both nostrils, A and B, at the same time. Then block nostril B. It slows down your breathing. :shock:

The original memory stick? You might find a match at a swap meet or at a computer repair place or from someone trashing the same model computer.
menhir
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Re: What is causing my hard drive to max out

Post by menhir »

Petermint wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:49 pm
Yeah. The chipset can read from bank A and B in parallel. Think about breathing through your nose. Both nostrils, A and B, at the same time. Then block nostril B. It slows down your breathing. :shock:
Now, that's an explanation and an answer I can understand. :lol:
The original memory stick? You might find a match at a swap meet or at a computer repair place or from someone trashing the same model computer.
It's now safely put away against possible future use.

For the record, everything went smoothly and the computer recognized the additional RAM. With the system monitor on, I stressed the computer with spreadsheets, the browser open with multiple tabs, signing on to sites with extra security protocols, all while playing music stored on a USB stick. The computer didn't even break a sweat and RAM never overflowed into Swap. Not even close.

I'll keep an eye on it for a while, but I think we can declare a win.

I sincerely appreciate all the help. Thanks 8)

(Maybe I'll get around to loading and playing Quake again. Now that I've retired, I have time to play games.)
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