Is 100% Disk Usage Bad & How To Fix It

If you’ve ever navigated through task manager or any similar software, you’ve probably seen that your main storage device is operating at 100%. It’s mainly due to applications and software utilizing a lot of data across all the physical drives. This can be games, professional software, malware, or even your web browser depending on how many tabs you have open.

In this post, we’re going to go over whether having 100% disk usage is a bad thing, and how you can fix it. Additionally, we’re going to go over the lifespan of SSDs and HDDs as these are the most common permanent storage devices. By the end of this post, you will know what causes 100% disk usage, and how to properly deal with these issues.

Answer: 100% disk usage isn’t always a bad thing, it can be caused by you because you’re moving or copying a lot of files around. Also, it can be caused by video games or software such as video editing as they often deal with massive files. However, 100% disk usage isn’t good either, it can be caused by malware disguised as crucial system tasks, the best way to fix this is to install antivirus software.

Is 100% Disk Usage Bad?

Inherently, 100% disk usage isn’t a bad or a good thing, it just denotes how much data is being moved around across all physical drives. What really matters is what’s causing 100% disk usage, if it’s non harmful software then you have nothing to worry about. If you suspect there is a virus causing this issue, then we recommend MalwareBytes as a means to remove this issue.

100% Disk usage for an extended period of time may be the sign that there is a virus replicating itself on your storage devices. Also, 100% disk usage for a long time can incur physical damage to hard drives as they’re mechanical. devices such as SSDs will not suffer mechanical degradation as they have no moving parts, but that’s not to say that it isn’t an issue on SSDs. Constant reading and writing can be potentially harmful to SSDs too.

You will often find that slower hard drives will be at 100% disk usage more often, this is because they cannot keep up with the CPU all the time. So 100% disk usage can be an effect of having a slow storage device, SSDs are the fastest permanent storage devices, so you may see 100% disk usage less often. Also, if your storage device is dying, this may cause 100% disk usage as it’s beginning to break down.

How To Fix 100% Disk Usage?

Finding applications that are utilizing the storage devices too much via task manager. To access task manager, press CTRL + ALT + DELETE, or right-click the taskbar. From here, you must find out what processes are utilizing your storage devices too much. Once you find out what applications are utilizing too much of your storage device, if you suspect that it isn’t a crucial system operation, you may freely terminate the tasks. This should reduce the hard disk usage instantly which will speed up your computer.

Restating your computer is often the best way to solve many issues you’re experiencing with your computer, this is because it will terminate all tasks running. If the issue is solved with a simple restart, there is no need to worry. Restarting the computer will terminate tasks and will essentially give your computer a fresh start, but there is a simple trick to make this more effective. Before you restart your computer, within tasks manager, go to the start-up tab and disable any applications with a high start-up impact.

Performing an antivirus/antimalware scan can be the solution to your problem, this is because malware will utilize your disks by duplicating themselves everywhere. If you still suspect there is malware even after a scan, then you must factory reset your system. Sometimes, malware will disguise itself and make it hard for antivirus software to detect them, even in task manager, they can appear to be important system tasks. Good antivirus software should be able to detect harmful software like this and remove it. We recommend Malwarebytes.

What Is The Lifespan Of SSDs?

Calculating TBW – TBW = (Capacity * DWPD * 365 * Warranty In Years)
Calculating DWPD – DWPD = (TBW / (365 * Warranty In Years * Capacity))

SSDs are quite durable for a computer component, and their lifespans can reach up to 10 years with decent care taken of it. SSDs are able to last so long because they are mainly chip-based, and do not have any mechanical arms moving about like there are in HDDs. Mechanical failure is prevalent as moving devices wear out over time as they operate, chips, on the other hand, will degrade at an atomic level.

The fact that SSDs do not have mechanical arms means they can operate much faster too which will reduce the chances of it running at 100% usage, also they have extremely short access times because it doesn’t have to go looking for data. The overall failure rate of an SSD is quite low at around 0.11% or one in every 874 drives, and NVME drives are even more durable at around 0.08% failure rate. So you do not need to worry about the SSD you’ve purchased failing statistically.

SSDs have a metric used to tell you how durable your SSD is, and it’s called TBW or Total Bytes Written. Essentially it’s meant to tell you how much data you can write to the SSD before data cells start to exhibit signs of failure, and it’s usually measured in terabytes. A good SSD could have a TBW rating in the hundreds of terabytes whereas a bad one can have only double digits. There is a way to calculate the endurance of an SSD. The endurance of an SSD is described by the Drive Writes Per Day (DWPD) for a certain amount of time, usually the warranty period. So if your SSD has a capacity of 1TB and is rated for 1 DWPD that means the SSD can write 1TB of data to it every day for the warranty period.

What Is The Lifespan Of HDDs?

The average hard drive can last between 3-5 years, and this has been conducted in a study by Backblaze. They’ve stated that 90% of their drives past the 4-year mark, and 65% of them last longer than 6 years. They’ve tested this with 25000 hard drives. The hard drives tested have been found to fail in 3 ways, firstly, drives can fail due to factory defects causing them to fail soon after installation, secondly they fail due to random failures, and they can fail due to wear out. Not relating to the study, but you can get quite lucky and have hard drives that past the 10-year mark, this is pretty common nowadays as they become much more durable.

According to PugetSystems, the overall failure rate for a hard drive is 0.34% or one in every 292 hard disks, they fail more often than SATA SSDs do which are less durable than NVME drives. If you want to increase the lifespan of your hard drive, you must understand that they have moving parts and must be treated with physical care. If you constantly move it you’re only accelerating their failure.

Keep the temperatures low by applying proper airflow control which allows the hard drive to get the cool air flowing to it. Hard drives like most components in a PC case are susceptible to failure induced by heat, so keeping it cool can drastically increase its lifespan. Also, do not move your computer a lot, only move it when necessary as random movements and vibrations can cause stress to the mechanical components inside the hard drive.

Conclusion

The verdict is that 100% disk usage inherently isn’t a bad thing, but it can be an issue when unwanted software is utilizing your storage devices all the time. If you have malware replicating itself hours on end, then it can cause stress to your storage device and slow down your computer. But if you have normal software that is utilizing your disk usage, then it shouldn’t be an issue as it won’t be at 100% for an extremely long time.