What is a Hard Drive Activity Light? Detailed Explanation

Hard Drive Activity LightDefinition of an HDD LED & How to Figure Out What the Lights Mean

The activity light in a hard drive is a small LED light which illuminates only when a data is written or read from the hard drive or built-in storage.

In some way it’s helpful when you know when your hard drive is being accessed by your computer so that you prevent pulling the battery or unplugging the power of computer at the time when Operation system is accessing the files from the drive, and if you did any mistake of unplugging power or anything that can lead to corruption of important files.The activity light is sometimes called as hard drive light, HDD LED, or a hard drive activity indicator.

Interested in buying a Hard Drive Check out our Best External Hard Drives Buyer Guide.

Where the HDD LED Located ?

You can see the front side of computer case where the activity light is usually positioned.But on the laptop you can see the HDD LED near the power button, or sometimes along with the keyboard or mostly on the edge of computer.While on the tablet and all other small form factor computers,you will encounter the hard drive light at the bottom or on the edge of the drive.

Flash drives, Network attached storage(NAS), External hard drives and all the external outside the computer storage devices also have the LED activity light indicator.But the smartphones do not have this activity or HDD LED’s.

The normal colors of the LED light can be the gold, white or yellow or any other color depending upon the type of hard drive, device or computer you have.But in very less cases,these indicators can have gree, red or blue light.

If we talk about the shape mostly it’s a small circle or an illuminated icon of a hard drive.Mostly you will see it shaped like a cylinder, or a cylindrical platters(stack) that which represents the hard drive that stores data.

Sometimes you may also come up with an activity light labeled as HDD but it’s very rate.Unfortunately, must always differentiate between a power LED and HDD LED, the behavior shows that HDD LED keeps indicating when hard drive comes under use.

Understanding the Status of Hard Drive Activity Light

As already told that the hard drive LED activity light indicated only when the device is being used.But don’t take it as a diagnosing a computer issue.

Hard Drive Light don’t blinks…

If you encounter with the activity light perpetually lit, consider this that the computer or the device is frozen or locked up.

Mostly you have to restart it manually, which will occur by pulling the power cable or detaching battery.

If you in some way have any access to your computer, then must restart by the proper way and have a look that the problem goes away when you start it again.

Hard Drive Light blinks On and off…

The normal behavior of the activity light is to flash on and off repeatedly, all the way you use computer.This behavior show that the drive is being used to read data or write data, which happens only when set of things are occurring like, Scanning the drive by antivirus, disk defragment program running, backup software backing up files, softwares are being updated, files are getting downloaded and many other things.

You will see sometimes the activity light flashing while you are not doing anything this is because when you are dealing with your tasks the windows OS waits and keeps itself idle and after you have finished it starts it’s tasks.You don’t need to worry about it, sometimes it can means the a malicious thing is happening without your knowledge, that’s when you need to scan your computer for malware.

How to See What Hard Drive Activity is Occurring

It you are curious to know that why the hard drive activity light is activated and which programs are services are running that can be done by the Task Manager in easiest way.

To access the task manager press Ctrl+Shift+Ecs shortcut keys of keyboard.Now, from the “Process” tab, you can view the processes and applications and which are using the most disk, network, CPU, memory and system resources.

The “disk” option shows at which rate the programs and the process are accessing the hard drive.Now you can see what the activity light of hard dive is on.If your windows version does not have the Task Manager option, Then in the Administrative tools there is a dedicated section called “Processes with Disk Activity” which lets you see the exact same information.

More on the Hard Drive Activity Light

In very rare and common cases , the computer manufacturers never include the activity light for the hard drive.If that’s the case with you, or you encounter that your HDD LED isn’t’ working properly or remains always off, take a deep breath there are some clever softwares available for you to perform this job.

A free program called Activity Indicator runs in your system tray, which provides you the similar behavior to the hard drive activity light and also some advanced logging in you are interested.Similarly, the HDD LED is another free program or the software version of the real HDD LED you wish.Except some advance requirements, this tool can be a great substitution for the real thing.

 

External Hard Drive Tasks that can be helpful for you are

How to change external hard drive letter
How to partition a Hard Drive
How to Wipe a Hard Drive
How to Clone a Hard Drive
How to format a hard drive

Adam Barton. A Tech geek and hardware engineer.Started 17oxen to provide unbiased reviews in the form of Top 10 Lists.

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