Re: Hard drive making noise during network activity

Mike A. Harris (
Fri, 15 May 1998 09:09:34 -0400 (EDT)

On Thu, 14 May 1998, Theodore Y. Ts'o wrote:

> For quite some time now my hard disks have being making noise
> during downloading and other network activity. I'm using dialup
> ppp for my connection. Even if I telnet to a remote computer,
> and run PINE for example, every time the screen gets updated, I
> can hear this faint "zzzzz" of the hard drive. I don't
> understand why all network traffic is generating this much noise.
> It has been doing so for months and months with various kernel
> releases (2.0.x). I'm currently using 2.0.34pre13.
> I think it might be possible that I've configured something into
> my kernel that I don't really need that may be causing this. I'm
> attaching my kernel config below, so that someone may be able to
> tell me if it is a configuration problem, or a kernel bug.
> Try looking in /var/log and see if you have some log files which are
> growing. That'll help you identify what's causing the syslogging (which
> is almost certainly what's causing your hard disks to make noise during
> network activity.)

That is what I figured too, however I haven't changed any of the
default log facilities, or added any new things that would cause
such behaviour.

The only large log files are maillog, and messages. The maillog
file makes sense, since I can expect disk activity during
"fetchmail", however ALL network traffic is generating this
noise. messages, has ppp connection messages, but nothing
verbose. I'm watching the logs right now while doing some
pinging, and a couple remote telnet sessions, and every time the
screen updates, the noise appears. I thought it might be my
monitor, so I turned it off, and it is definately coming from
inside the computer. Hard disk access. I can't for the life of
me understand why, since the log files are not growing while this
is happening.

Someone suggested that I might have been hacked, but I know I
have not, since for one, I use a dynamic IP, for two it did this
noise on my first connection to the net, so I know that no-one
has breached me. I'm just a home-pc with dialup PPP in Linux. I
do have a firewall installed, and tcp wrappers to mask off
attacks as well.

It didn't do this before in older kernels, at least not to my
knowledge, so that is why I suspect the newer kernels. I will
download 2.0.29 and 2.0.30 and try them out as well.

Any further help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for your reply.


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