Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

My internal WD20EARS disk does not spin down autoamtically. I tried hdparm -S 1 (5 seconds), but nothing happens. I disabled the IntelliPower headparking with wdidle3 from the Ultimate Boot CD. hdparm -y spins down the disk.

Setup is Archlinux on a i5-4590 CPU with a MSI B85I motherboard (UEFI). The HDD is not the system disk. AHCI is set in UEFI. I followed journalctl -f | grep /dev/sdb, the disk is not used somehow.

Are there any possibilities to enable the automatic spindown?

smartctl -a output:

smartctl 6.2 2013-07-26 r3841 [x86_64-linux-3.15.1-1-ARCH] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-13, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke,

Model Family:     Western Digital Caviar Green (AF)
Device Model:     WDC WD20EARS-00J2GB0
Serial Number:    WD-WCAYY0226656
LU WWN Device Id: 5 0014ee 25a25795a
Firmware Version: 80.00A80
User Capacity:    2.000.398.934.016 bytes [2,00 TB]
Sector Size:      512 bytes logical/physical
Device is:        In smartctl database [for details use: -P show]
ATA Version is:   ATA8-ACS (minor revision not indicated)
SATA Version is:  SATA 2.6, 3.0 Gb/s
Local Time is:    Sat Jun 21 15:04:37 2014 CEST
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED

General SMART Values:
Offline data collection status:  (0x84) Offline data collection activity
                                        was suspended by an interrupting command from host.
                                        Auto Offline Data Collection: Enabled.
Self-test execution status:      (   0) The previous self-test routine completed
                                        without error or no self-test has ever
                                        been run.
Total time to complete Offline
data collection:                (38760) seconds.
Offline data collection
capabilities:                    (0x7b) SMART execute Offline immediate.
                                        Auto Offline data collection on/off support.
                                        Suspend Offline collection upon new
                                        Offline surface scan supported.
                                        Self-test supported.
                                        Conveyance Self-test supported.
                                        Selective Self-test supported.
SMART capabilities:            (0x0003) Saves SMART data before entering
                                        power-saving mode.
                                        Supports SMART auto save timer.
Error logging capability:        (0x01) Error logging supported.
                                        General Purpose Logging supported.
Short self-test routine
recommended polling time:        (   2) minutes.
Extended self-test routine
recommended polling time:        ( 442) minutes.
Conveyance self-test routine
recommended polling time:        (   5) minutes.
SCT capabilities:              (0x3031) SCT Status supported.
                                        SCT Feature Control supported.
                                        SCT Data Table supported.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 16
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x002f   200   200   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0027   196   161   021    Pre-fail  Always       -       7175
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   099   099   000    Old_age   Always       -       1441
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   200   200   140    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x002e   100   253   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   094   094   000    Old_age   Always       -       4723
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
 11 Calibration_Retry_Count 0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       911
192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       245
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   176   176   000    Old_age   Always       -       74456
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   110   094   000    Old_age   Always       -       42
196 Reallocated_Event_Count 0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0030   200   200   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate   0x0008   200   200   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0

SMART Error Log Version: 1
No Errors Logged

SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
Num  Test_Description    Status                  Remaining  LifeTime(hours)  LBA_of_first_error
# 1  Extended offline    Completed without error       00%      4187         -

SMART Selective self-test log data structure revision number 1
    1        0        0  Not_testing
    2        0        0  Not_testing
    3        0        0  Not_testing
    4        0        0  Not_testing
    5        0        0  Not_testing
Selective self-test flags (0x0):
  After scanning selected spans, do NOT read-scan remainder of disk.
If Selective self-test is pending on power-up, resume after 0 minute delay.
share|improve this question

migrated from Jun 22 '14 at 18:34

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

journalctl -f | grep /dev/sdb isn't the proper way to monitor disk activity. Something like sar would be more appropriate. Try running sar -d -p 1 | grep sdb . – Cristian Ciupitu Jun 21 '14 at 14:55
What happens if you re-enable IntelliPower head parking? You might also want to have a look at the sdparm command which can also change some power related parameters. – Cristian Ciupitu Jun 21 '14 at 15:06
Might be better at SuperUser. Or Unix&Linux. We typically don't deal with this technology, as these drives are definitely not enterprise-grade. – HopelessN00b Jun 21 '14 at 15:46

This HDD for some reason interprets hdparm -S setting differently than expected.

Normally if you specify hdparm -S value in 1-240 range, it results in 5s times the value spindown timeout. There is no guarantee though that it will work exactly same way for all HDDs and WD20EARS happens to be one of the exceptions.

I was able to make it spindown in 10min by specifying hdparm -S 3. I found the fix in this post.

share|improve this answer
I found this post too. Did you test it? for me it does not work. – ManuelSchneid3r Jun 21 '14 at 15:59
Yes, it worked fine for me, but I didn't disable head parking as far as I remember. The effect of this setting might also depend on the exact firmware version of the hard drive. – Giedrius Rekasius Jun 21 '14 at 19:28

An alternative solution is to use hdidle. It works fine for me.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.