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How to spin down a hard disk?

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libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04

This is about directly talking to a piece of hardware so I'm posting it in hardware support forum.

My question is, if it is possible, how can I spin down a hard drive using either a command line or a GUI program? My second hard drive is largely unused at this point, but I don't feel like removing it all together from the computer, and it could come in handy at some point, so I'm thinking maybe I could just spin it down and keep it suspended all the time.

I suppose one way to deactivate it without unplugging is to just deselect it from BIOS, but I'd like more control through the actual operating system. It's up alot of the time so I would like to just spin it down and leave it like that until I need it or I reboot.

Thanks

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
hdparm -y /dev/hdb

Oh well, I found it by myself. Smiling Sometimes man pages really invalidate the need to ask questions. Not sure if I'd take that as good or bad for Nuxified. Eye

Anyway, the command is this:

sudo hdparm -y /dev/hdb

where /dev/hdb is the disk and -y is the switch that makes hdparm order the disk to enter in a low power mode.

hdparm-manpage-author wrote:

Force an IDE drive to immediately enter the low power consumption standby mode, usually causing it to spin down. The current power mode status can be checked using the -C flag.

So that's it, the basics. Smiling

Still, to make the thread useful, if you have any tips, tricks and warnings, feel free to post and we could rework it into a nice tips blog entry. Eye

And damn it got quite now, that disk was noisy as hell! Laughing

Thanks

Anonymous
Setting a drive to standby

Setting a drive to standby mode is a good solution in the short term, but the drive is still initially in the active state, adding to wear and tear. My solution, which wouldn't be as practical for most people, is to disconnect the drive, while leaving it mounted in the case. I can plug it in when I want to back up specific data, but I leave it disconnected most of the time. Since the drive remains unplugged, it does not experience any wear and tear from powering up, spinning up, parking, spinning down, and powering down. And, with P&P bios, I don't ever have to reconfigure, enable, or disable the drive, as I used to have to do years back.

I do know that the quality and reliability of drives has vastly improved since the days of Microsciences, as well as many other brands no longer manufactured..but, I have seen the results of surface defects that become exposed when drive heads shift to the park position across the defect one too many times, and, you can still find those defects, albeit more rarely, on modern drives.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
That's a good advice I'd

That's a good advice I'd say. The problem, though, is that it is a bit too cramped up in my box where the hard disks are connected, making it quite daunting to disconnect and then connect them when I may want to use them. I'd rather deactivate it in BIOS. If I do that then it shouldn't be changing states too often, right? It would stay inactive until I again activate it in BIOS.

Well I'd have to check that.

Maybe there is a way to manipulate BIOS setting directly from GNU/Linux command line so that I could deactivate and activate it with permanent rather than temporary effect. Anyone know if that would be possible?

Thanks

a thing's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20
I doubt it

I doubt you can do that. But you should suggest it to the LinuxBIOS project Eye

dylunio's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20
Could you not set the drive

Could you not set the drive not to mount at boot and not to be fscked at boot time? I have no idea if this would be any good - correct me if I'm wrong.

dylunio

Anonymous
edit the /etc/fstab file.

Edit the lines associating with the partitions you don't want to auto mount on system start up. Use "man fstab" for details.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
That would only make it not

That would only make it not mount, but I think the disk would still be active and spinning anyway. Maybe there is an option that can be put in fstab that would keep it spinned down as well?

Oh wait, there's man fstab.