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Software - [SOLVED] Disk access every 5 seconds in KDE (really ext4)

mz - 28.11.2010, 15:31
Post subject: [SOLVED] Disk access every 5 seconds in KDE (really ext4)
I'm giving KDE a try after many years with fvwm, and I am experiencing an annoyance. There is a disk access about every five seconds even when no applications are running. Is this normal, or is there something that I can turn off somewhere?

It is not necessarily a problem, but is becoming maddening, just like The Tell-tale Heart. (http://www.literature.org/authors/poe-edgar-allan/tell-tale-heart.html)
dibl - 28.11.2010, 17:06
Post subject: RE: Disk access every 5 seconds in KDE
It is not KDE, it is the ext4 default "commit" time for syncing metadata. Read down the "Options" here:

http://www.mjmwired.net/kernel/Document ... s/ext4.txt

You can change it with a "commit=nnn" mount option in /etc/fstab, but of course the longer you make the commit time, the more exposed your fileystem (and data) becomes to a unexpected loss of power or crash.
mz - 28.11.2010, 21:08
Post subject: RE: Disk access every 5 seconds in KDE
Thanks for the informative link. I think that ext4 is not for me and I will reinstall into ext3.
devil - 28.11.2010, 21:27
Post subject: RE: Disk access every 5 seconds in KDE
no need to reinstall, as far as i know, tune2fs can change back to ext3. if not, http://www.fsarchiver.org/Main_Page can do it.

greetz
devil
mz - 28.11.2010, 23:13
Post subject: RE: Disk access every 5 seconds in KDE
The kernel document referenced above discouraged attempts to convert ext4 to ext3 in place, so I booted aptosid-live, copied my root partition to another drive, and rebuilt the filesystem with the -U option to get the old UUID back.

I have always used the following to replicate filesystems, and it worked fine this time as well:
      Code:

mkdir destination-dir
cd source-dir
find . -depth -print | cpio -pdm destination-dir

After restoring the copy of the filesystem, I just had to change ext4 to ext3 in fstab; rebooted and all is well with no heartbeat.
dibl - 28.11.2010, 23:25
Post subject: RE: Disk access every 5 seconds in KDE
You could have simply added a "commit=600" mount option, to change the sync to once every 10 minutes.
mz - 29.11.2010, 03:27
Post subject: RE: Disk access every 5 seconds in KDE
Yes, and I have added this to my ext3 options as well, now that I know that the commit parameter is not specific to ext4. I still hear more disk activity than I would like, but I am reaching the conclusion that this drive is just noisier than the one I was using prior to this recent installation. I suspect I won't be happy until I get an SSD for the boot drive.
ikeinthai - 30.11.2010, 09:37
Post subject: thanks for litlink!
@mz: thanks for poe link. it's always nice to have another good link for the timeless QUALITY free literature available on the interweb.

ike.
browe - 30.11.2010, 14:39
Post subject: RE: thanks for litlink!
I noticed the same disk activity when using ext3 or ext4. What I find odd is that the sync continues even with no user input or programs running. It would be nice to have it set a longer sync if there is no other disk or user activity. One benefit of the short sync is it keeps the disk awake (prevents head parking) so that disk access is fast and less wear on the head parking mechanism. If you change the timings keep an eye on the load cycle:

      Code:

smartctl -a /dev/sda | grep Load_Cycle_Count

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