My laptop came with Windows preinstalled. I shrank the Windows partition and created a couple of new partitions to install Ubuntu in. I've noticed that reading my Ubuntu partitions is much noisier than reading the NTFS partiion. This applies whether I am running Windows or Ubuntu - reading/writing any data to my Ubuntu partition makes the hard drive fairly noisy, whereas reading/writing any data to my NTFS partitions is much quieter.

What could be the reason behind this? It's all on the same hard drive and can't have anything to do with the operating systems themselves as the results are reproducible in both Windows and Ubuntu.

In short, why is reading/writing to my NTFS partitions quieter than reading/writing to the EXT3 partition?

Thanks very much

  • EXT 4 not 3, and it could be due to various things, install iotop and check what is causing the drive activity. – Uri Herrera Dec 20 '11 at 1:02
  • @UriHerrera He could have set it up as Ext3, if he's using an older release or manually set it up that way. – Christopher Kyle Horton Dec 20 '11 at 2:48

It could be due to some physical hard drive properties. For example, if you hard drive layout is like this:

/dev/sda1 -> NTFS
/dev/sda2 -> ext3/4
/dev/sda3 -> swap

and your ext3/4 partition is fairly empty and the swap partition is being used, then the hard drive head would need to jump between two physical locations on the disk.

Also, the NTFS fragments, which means that when you write files, it'll choose the first empty area and when that's filled, it will go to the next empty area (or hole) on the disk. This means that the hard drive head only moves in one direction; once that empty area is filled, it goes on to the next, but it doesn't go backwards.

ext3/4 partitions don't fragment [very much]. When you write a file to an ext3/4 partition, it'll will try to find an area where the file can fit into a continuous empty area. This means that it will have to scan the disk for empty areas before writing to it.

Please note that I didn't research what I said above, so it could be all wrong :)

Oh yeah, if by louder, you mean that the motor spins faster, and not the clicking sound, then that's probably because your Ubuntu partition is located closer to the center of the platter than the Windows partition is. The disk needs to spin faster to read/write the same amount of data in a given amount of time towards the center than the outside.

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