Updated: 04/26/2017 by Computer Hope

With a computer, thrashing or disk thrashing describes when a hard drive is being overworked by moving information between the system memory and virtual memory excessively. Thrashing occurs when the system does not have enough memory, the system swap file is not properly configured, too much is running at the same time, or has low system resources.

When thrashing occurs, the computer hard drive is always working and system performance decreases. Thrashing is serious because of the amount of work the hard drive has to do, and if left unfixed can cause an early hard drive failure.

How to eliminate thrashing

To resolve hard drive thrashing, you can do any of the suggestions below.

  1. Increase the amount of RAM (random-access memory) in the computer.
  2. Decrease the number of programs being run on the computer.
  3. Adjust the size of the swap file.

Computer slang, Hard drive terms