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 usually occurs when the system does not have enough memory, the system swap file is not properly configured, or too much is running at the same time and it has low system resources.
When thrashing occurs you will notice the computer hard drive always working and a decrease in system performance. Thrashing is bad on the hard drive because of the amount of work the hard drive has to do and if left unfixed can cause an early hard drive failure.
To resolve hard drive thrashing, a user can do any of the below.
- Increase the amount of RAM in the computer.
- Decrease the number of programs being run on the computer.
- Adjust the size of the swap file.
Also see: Hard drive terms