Check utility to halt A: drive from clanking while unused


My computer accesses the A: drive for no apparent reason at times. Sometimes when I am working in a program, which could be Excel, Word or whatever, all of a sudden the computer looks to the A: drive as if trying to access data.

Other times when the computer is supposedly dormant (I understand the computer will process by itself to keep it running at optimal condition), I hear some activity, and it's the A: drive clanking away again. Why does this happen?

Several things can cause this annoyance, but the most likely culprit is the Microsoft Fast Find utility. This program runs in the background and will sporadically kick in to check all of your writable drives for files that may be needed soon. CD-ROMs aren't writable, but floppy disks in the A: drive are.

A lot of people like Fast Find because it can speed up daily work flow, but if you aren't one of them, use the msconfig command to shut it down. Here is the drill: Click on Start and pick Run. Type "msconfig" in the command line that appears. In the msconfig window pick the Startup tab and remove the check next to Fast Find.

Another step that often fixes this problem is to clear all documents from the Recent documents folder. You can find that folder by right-clicking on the Start button and selecting Explore. The Recent documents folder holds only icons, so no harm will be done if you delete its entire contents.

Finally, check your computer's desktop to make sure there are no icons on it that refer to files or programs on the A: drive.

James Coates writes for the Chicago Tribune, a Tribune Publishing newspaper. He can be reached at

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