When referring to a computer, thrashing or disk thrashing is a term used to describe when the hard drive is being overworked by moving information between the system memory and virtual memory excessively. Thrashing is often caused when the system does not have enough memory, the system swap file is not properly configured, or too much is running on the computer and it has low system resources.
When thrashing occurs, a user will notice the computer hard drive always working and a decrease in system performance. Thrashing is bad on a hard drive because of the amount of work the hard drive has to do and if is left unfixed will likely cause an early failure of the hard drive.
To resolve hard drive thrashing, a user can do any of the below.
- Increase the amount of RAM in the computer.
- Decrease the amount of programs being run on the computer.
- Adjust the size of the swap file.
Also see: Hard drive terms