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I can't imagine this is not possible.... but I can't figure out where to enable it.

can't system monitor (gnome-system-monitor) display disk io?

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Please have a look at… – Qasim Feb 27 '14 at 15:04
@Qasim This is not a duplicate, the OP is asking if gnome-system-monitor can display io stats, not what tools can. – Seth Feb 28 '14 at 4:46
@Seth.. I didn't marked it as duplicate, i just paste the link to have a look :) – Qasim Feb 28 '14 at 9:58

Why you don't use iostat :

sudo apt-get install sysstat

iostat is found in sysstat package .

For example :

iostat -d 30 /dev/sda 

will give you I/O result in 30 s interval

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I gave up on gnome-system-monitor for this reason.

On my 12.04 machines I installed indicator-multiload. Once installed you can use the Preferences page to get it so show disk i/o - along with memory, swap, network, etc...

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it's a shame it can't do it... – otmezger Feb 28 '14 at 14:22

You can use system monitor from KDE (ksysguard), open it, go to file and click on "download new tabs" then, you can download disc io.

Anyway, lots of tools let you watch disc IO, for example gnome-shell plugins, Unity indicators, KDE plasmoids or conky.

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