Investigating unexplained disk activity on Mac OS Lion

Recently I became frustrated with the amount of inexplicable disk access going on on my old iMac – something was thrashing the hard disk relentlessly and blocking other apps.

Using sudo fs_usage I found that the main activity after login was Dropbox (which was fair enough), the Akamai background downloader for Adobe Creative Cloud (which wasn’t) and Spotify’s background web service (which was just bizarre) 

So I found and deleted the akamai downloader for Adobe Creative Cloud:

/Applications/Akamai/admintool uninstall -force

Then told Spotify not to open at startup and not to allow itself to be started from the web:Image

sudo fs_usage then reported a lot of access from the launch services daemon which seemed to be thrashing th disk for no reason, so dumped and rebuilt its database:

sudo /System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Versions/A/Support/lsregister -kill -r -domain local -domain system -domain user

And now, touch wood-coloured plastic, it all seems to be much improved. Launch services and spotify still do a lot after login but it settles down after a minute or two instead of this constant thrashing it was doing. 

So that’s all good then.