Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

How should I go about investigating seemingly high disk usage?

From time to time the whole system crashes too - I think the high HDD reads/writes might be to blame.


share|improve this question
up vote 0 down vote accepted

You can monitor what programs are causing how much IO by running iotop.

share|improve this answer
Turns out Tweetdeck, Firefox, Gwibber and Thunderbird are causing the most read/writes. I had apt-get remove'd gwibber though - not sure why that's still showing up. – AFD Apr 29 '11 at 21:04

You might want to too look at the disk utility and take a look at the SMART Data, this gives you a good overall view of how healthy your disk is/isn't. enter image description here

share|improve this answer
Thanks. I had done short scans before and it came back fine. Just did a full test and still everything fine. Think it was just too much multitasking. – AFD Apr 29 '11 at 21:04
+1 My disk was showing similar simptoms last several months. Now it is most probably mechanically failing. Archiving!!... – Vorac Aug 23 '12 at 22:47

Did you skip creating a swap partition when you installed Ubuntu? If you did, add a new swap partition.

In GParted Format a partition as "linux-swap" and then right click swapon.

I had the same problem too, and this helped me.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.