Check tutorial of Monitor Disk Activity in Mac OS X
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You can monitor disk activity in Mac OS X using the Activity Monitor app or various command line tools. Activity Monitor is the easiest and most user-friendly, but the Terminal options allow more information to be retrieved.
Viewing Disk Activity on Mac with Activity Monitor
For most Mac users who want to get a quick idea of the disk activity, they can refer to the Activity Monitor application.
- Launch Activity Monitor, located in / Applications / Utilities /, or you can press Command + Spacebar to bring up up Search spotlight and find it that way
- Click the Disk Activity tab in the Activity Monitor app
- The graph on the right shows disk activity
- Pay special attention to “Read data / sec” and “Data written / sec”
What causes disk usage? Sometimes it correlates with CPU usage, and some apps and processes are heavy on both, like converting video, audio or Spotlights mds and mdworker. To make sure, launch the Terminal from / Applications / Utilities / and read on.
Monitor disk activity from the command line
What is shown in Activity Monitor can be somewhat limited, and if you want specific information about which application or process is causing disk input and output, you can launch the Terminal and use the following commands to get more information.
First up is iotop, which, unsurprisingly given the name, is top for I / O
sudo iotop -C 5 10
iotop will report something like this, showing the overall disk read / write, processes, command (or app) and the byte size actively written by each process:
To more easily compare apps and processes using the disk, pass the -P flag along with the iotop command, then note the% I / O column:
sudo iotop -P -C 5 10
iotop can also be miniaturized by a disk drive by pointing to the path and using the -m flag. In the example below, only the root filesystem is checked for activity:
sudo iotop -Pm /
iotop isn’t the only option though …
The fs_usage app is another choice for seeing what’s going on with disk activity and the file system. By default, fs_usage can be a bit of a fire hose, displaying a ton of data that might be overboard for some basic needs:
sudo fs_usage -f filesys
fs_usage also shows the reading and writing of disks and the application or process causing them.
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