Your PC isn't being used. It's at the desktop, with no applications running. So why, then, has the hard drive been thrashing away for the last 10 minutes? It's time to find out, and Disk Pulse could provide the answers.

Launch the program, click Monitor, choose a drive or folder to watch and Disk Pulse will immediately begin to list matching files that are being created, modified or deleted. Just seeing the file and folder names will probably tell you all you need to know about the program responsible for these drive accesses. Activity under \ProgramData\Microsoft\Search suggests it's the Windows search indexer, for instance. Or something like \ProgramData\Norton will point the finger at your security software,

But if that doesn't help, Disk Pulse will also categorise file activity by extension. We left the program running on our test PC as we worked with all our regular applications, and it revealed that PST files were responsible for a great deal of drive activity. What were they? Double-clicking the extension revealed that this was our very bulky Outlook.pst file.

Disk Pulse has its limitations. There's no way to see which process is responsible for disk activity, for instance, as you can with a more sophisticated tool like Process Monitor. It's easier to use, though, and may help you track down drive-hogging programs, and perhaps malware, so is still worth a look.

Verdict

A simple way to see hard drive changes in real time, Disk Pulse could be useful when optimising your PC or looking for malware