What Is Disk Thrashing and How to Prevent It from Occurring [MiniTool Wiki]

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What is Disk Thrashing

Disk thrashing (also called virtual memory thrashing) refers to an issue occurring when the hard drive worked excessively by transferring information between the system memory and virtual memory. When your computer has a constant state of paging and page faults and inhibiting most application-level processing, you may suffer from the thrashing.

what is disk thrashing

What does thrashing mean? What results will the thrashing bring you? To explore the answers, please continue to read this post of MiniTool. As the thrashing meaning indicates, it shows that your hard drive is over-worked when you encounter thrashing issue.

Generally speaking, thrashing will happen in the following cases.

  • System doesn’t have sufficient memory.
  • There is a memory leak issue with your computer.
  • The system swap file is not configured correctly.
  • Some applications have higher priorities than others.
  • There are too many files running simultaneously.
  • The system resource is low.

When the main memory is full, extra pages need to be swapped in and out of virtual memory. And the swapping can give rise to a high hard disk access rate. Therefore, thrashing will last for a long time unless the potential issue is resolved.

What’s worse, you sometimes may also receive the virtual memory low error besides disk thrashing. How to fix it? You can get the details from this post: Is Virtual Memory Low? Here Is How to Increase Virtual Memory!

The Impact of Disk Thrashing

When the disk thrashing occurs, your computer will slow down because the process loads the physically limitations of your drive excessively. In addition, the system performance will reduce. As hard drive has a lot of work to do, thrashing sometimes is intense.

However, too much intense thrashing will lead to hard drive failure. Given to that fact, plenty of users wonder that if there’s any method to eliminate or prevent disk thrashing. Indeed, you can take some measures to avoid it as much as possible.

To know how to prevent disk thrashing, you should have an overall understanding of the working principle of a hard drive. Read this post for the detailed information: How Does a Hard Drive Work? Here Are Answers for You

How to Eliminate or Prevent Disk Thrashing

Since disk thrashing has some negative impacts on hard drive health and system performance, it is necessary to take some actions to avoid it. Here are some tips for you.

  • Add more RAM to your computer: As insufficient memory can cause disk thrashing, one of the solutions to this issue is to add more RAM to the laptop. With more memory, your computer can handle tasks easily and don’t have to work excessively.
  • Shut down some applications running on the computer: If there are too many applications running in the background, your system resource will consume a lot. And the remaining system resource is slow that can result in the thrashing. While closing some applications will release some resource so that you can avoid thrashing to some extent.
  • Modify the size of swap file: If the system swap file is not configured correctly, the disk thrashing can also happen to you.

If you would like to find out the exact process that is thrashing your hard drive, read this post for detailed information. Two methods are provided in the article and they are available for Windows 10/7/Vista.

You may also like this: Packet Loss [The Definition, Possible Causes and Fixes]

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, this post introduces the thrashing meaning, thrashing impacts, as well as the disk thrashing prevention methods for you. Hence, you will have a further understanding of thrashing after reading the post. What’s more, you can protect you hard drive by reducing disk thrashing via the given tips in the post.

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