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Some computers these days don't have an HDD activity light, but they still have a useless caps-lock, so why not re-purpose that light to show HDD activity?
Requires setleds and dstat and probably needs to run as root.
Check SATA controller type.
6.0 Gbps - SATA III
3.0 Gbps - SATA II
1.5 Gbps - SATA I
To get most of you HDD/SSD driver you need to make sure you partition are aligned, if not the speed penalty can be up to 50% slower!
this simple one liner will check to see if each partition start sector is divided by 512
you need to change sda with your driver
if you find the one of your partitions is not aligned use gparted to move the start sector of the partition to be divided of 512