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I've set up my Ubuntu 11.10 on a SSD with an encrypted LVM. I've attached another ext4 HDD, unencrypted, it's automounted on /media/data and created Videos, Music, Downloads and Backups folders on it, removed the existing ones from my home folder and symlinked the new ones.

My PC is constantly rattling from hard drive usage although I am not accessing any of those folders. Like, create a new tab in Chromium, 2 seconds of HD rattle. ll /etc (which is on the SSD), 1 second of HD rattle. Open new terminal window, 2 seconds of HD rattle and then it's open.

Automatic backup is on, but set to run weekly. What is going on here? Did I mess something up?

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Where is your swap space located? – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Jan 23 '12 at 13:19
SSD. Also, got 8 GB RAM with not much load, so I don't think that's a problem. – sostacked Jan 23 '12 at 13:45
Even with 8 GB of RAM it is still possible for memory to be stored in swap, simply because it leaves more room for sudden memory surges. lsof is your best friend here, find out what files are open – Huckle Jan 23 '12 at 14:56
Try this linked question:… – Tom Brossman Jan 23 '12 at 14:59
I don't know how I can investigate it... iotop lists resource hogs, it don't say which process is accessing /media/data. lsof takes ages to print the open files, so if I open a new window with Ctrl-Shift-N and then issue lsof | grep media I get nothing. – sostacked Jan 23 '12 at 16:01

This was solved by the OP

Turns out I had a swap partition on the 2nd drive from god knows when and my current install helped itself to it. Removed entry from /etc/fstab, killed the partition and I got a quiet rig again

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