Ubuntu – HDD light pulsing every few seconds under Kubuntu 18.04.3 (re-post)

18.04hard driveindicatorkubuntu

(Sorry to re-post this, I have lost access to my original account.)

I've recently installed Kubuntu 18.04.3 on a new AMD Ryzen 3000-series-based system. The system is installed on a SATA SSD, specifically on an Ext4 partition, with a SATA HDD formatted in NTFS mounted for storage. The system has been in use for a few days, with a maximum uptime of two days (so far).

My issue is this: the HDD indicator light on the case flashes every 1-3 seconds, even when the system is idle, and there is no obvious reason to access the disk. The flashes are not regular: sometimes the light is dark for as long as 3 seconds (obviously it is difficult to time such short intervals — I am approximating), sometimes there are a few quick pulses less than a second apart. The flashes seem to vary in duration as well — sometimes very brief, sometimes nearly a second. Unmounting the secondary HDD does not appear to have any effect.

Some searching lead me to try iotop. I ran sudo iotop -Pao, and waited until 10 flashes of the HDD light had occurred. This is the result:

 6887 be/4 root          0.00 B      0.00 B  0.00 %  0.02 % [kworker/u64:1-events_power_efficient]
  433 be/3 root          0.00 B      0.00 B  0.00 %  0.02 % [jbd2/sda2-8]
 6302 be/4 root          0.00 B      0.00 B  0.00 %  0.01 % [kworker/u64:0-events_unbound]

The "kworker" processes seem to switch between various states, such as "events_power_efficient", "events_unbound", and "events_freezable_power_". The jdb2 process does sometimes write to disk, though that was not observed here (even though, as I said, 10 flashes of the HDD light occurred). The computer was otherwise idle during this test.

My searches also lead me to check /var/log. The result of ls -lth | head is as follows:

-rw-r-----  1 syslog adm             951K Aug 27 19:49 kern.log
-rw-r-----  1 syslog adm             594K Aug 27 19:49 syslog
-rw-r-----  1 syslog adm             528K Aug 27 19:49 ufw.log
-rw-r-----  1 syslog adm              53K Aug 27 19:48 auth.log
-rw-r--r--  1 root   root             40K Aug 27 19:15 Xorg.0.log
-rw-rw-r--  1 root   utmp             79K Aug 27 18:29 wtmp
-rw-r--r--  1 root   root              55 Aug 27 16:28 prime-offload.log
-rw-r--r--  1 root   root              30 Aug 27 16:28 prime-supported.log
-rw-r--r--  1 root   root            1.2K Aug 27 16:28 gpu-manager.log

I have no experience interpreting log files, so I don't know if anything here is out of the ordinary.

If the kernel version is relevant, the output of uname -r is 5.0.0-25-generic.

My questions are, 1. Why is my HDD light flashing, even though there is no obvious disk activity, 2. Does this indicate some kind of problem with my system that needs to be fixed, and 3. If so, how do I fix it? The light itself does not bother me — if this is just a sign of a normal, healthy Ubuntu install, then no problem. My concern is that something is wrong, and if so, I would like to fix it.

Thanks in advance for your time.

In response to heynnema (in the original posting of this question), the issue occurs even at the log-in screen, before I log in. So, it is not tied to my user account. However, it does not occur in the BIOS, suggesting that it is specific to Kubuntu (or at least, to the SSD Kubuntu is installed on).

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