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Using tools like iotop one can monitor the i/o of individual processes which is fine, but you do not find out which directory a process writes into. If the PID would always be the same that would not be a problem, one could strace or something else to find out which files are affected, or possibly

lsof +p <PID>  

But I noticed chromium does some heavy disk writes when I open a video, despite the fact that I already put many directories associated with chromium on a tmpfs. Now I would like to find out which directories it writes to in the instant iotop shows the high i/o usage. Chromium does change the PID all the time, which makes this even more complex.

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What about running strace chromium? Not sure if that will include the sub-processes launched for the tabs but it might help. – terdon Apr 19 '14 at 13:24

We may use pidof to determine the PID(s) of an application for iotop Install iotop

sudo iotop -p $(pidof chromium-browser | sed -r 's/[ ]+/ -p /g')

For any other command needing a different separator of the PID list replace the separator in the sed command, e.g.

top -p $(pidof chromium-browser | sed -r 's/[ ]+/,/g')
sudo lsof -p $(pidof chromium-browser | sed -r 's/[ ]+/,/g')
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pidof chromium-browser is empty :-(, despite chromium-browser running. In iotop chromium command looks like this: chromium-browser --ppapi-flash-path=~82, --enable-pinch – GEO Apr 19 '14 at 16:28
What release version are you? IIRC Chromium processes may now have different names dependent on roles. See ps aux | grep chromium. – Takkat Apr 19 '14 at 17:38

The new utility fatrace can show you this. See:

sudo fatrace

For example:

# sudo fatrace
chrome(6514): W /home/xxxx/.config/google-chrome/Default/Current Session
chrome(6514): R /home/xxxx/.pki/nssdb/cert9.db
chrome(6516): R /home/xxxx/.pki/nssdb/cert9.db
chrome(6514): W /home/xxxx/.cache/google-chrome/Default/Cache/data_1
chrome(6516): RW /home/xxxx/.cache/google-chrome/Default/Cache/data_0
chrome(6514): W /home/xxxx/.cache/google-chrome/Default/Cache/data_1
wicd(29613): RO /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/
ifconfig(29613): R /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/
ifconfig(29613): CO /etc/
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