i recently purchased a new 4tb wd external hard drive and was a bit perplexed when the disk access light continued to blink for an extended time after formatting the entire disk to ext4 in
gparted. i could see in
conky that data was being written, but since i hadn’t added added any files i was curious about what was going on. it finally occurred to me to check with
the active process was listed as
ext4lazyinit. after a web search, i came across this page with some helpful info:
When creating an Ext4 file system, the existing regions of the inode tables must be cleaned (overwritten with nulls, or “zeroed”). The “lazyinit” feature should significantly accelerate the creation of a file system, because it does not immediately initialize all inode tables, initializing them gradually instead during the initial mounting process in background (from Kernel version 2.6.37). Regarding this see the extracts from the mkfs.ext4 man pages:
today i finally got around to reformatting my older 2tb wd external drive and enough time had passed that i had forgotten about the lazyinit process. i was trying to run smart tests on the drive, but the short test with an estimated run time of 2 minutes stalled twice at 90% and ran well over that time until i aborted them manually. that’s when i noticed the continuous blinking of the access light and ran
ext4lazyinit was running. when it finished, i was able to run the short test with no issues.
for reference, the 4tb drive with sata 3.1 6.0 Gb/s took about 30 minutes to finish and the 2tb drive with sata 3.0 3.0 Gb/s took a little less than an hour.