Laptop's HDD - Kernel

This is a discussion on Laptop's HDD - Kernel ; Hi, Maybe some of you have been hearing lately about a problem with laptop's hard disk drives being killed by *insert Linux distro here* [1] The problem comes from a very high rate of load/unload cycles of the heads that ...

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  1. Laptop's HDD

    Hi,

    Maybe some of you have been hearing lately about a problem with laptop's hard
    disk drives being killed by *insert Linux distro here* [1]

    The problem comes from a very high rate of load/unload cycles of the heads
    that reaches the 300.000-600.000 limit in 2-3 years (with smartmontools it
    can checked it with "smartctl -A /dev/sda") . There are reports of HDD dying
    even earlier for this problem [2]

    For what I've read, it's not that Linux is doing anything special to your hard
    disk, it's the BIOS settings that take care of killing your disk sooner than
    later. However, I'm asking on this list because the problem seems to have
    started with kernel 2.6.10 [3].

    Windows seems to override the BIOS settings, so hardware vendors have never
    cared about this problem.

    So my question is: Is this something the (Linux) kernel should care about or
    should distributions care about it with userspace tools?

    By the way, this settings seem to be there in order to save power. However,
    loading/unloading the heads ~3 times per minute doesn't seem like a very good
    powersaving policy. Couldn't this be one of the reasons why Linux is using
    generally more power than Windows?

    Regards,
    Alberto.

    [1] - http://beranger.org/index.php?page=d...10/24/18/07/21
    - http://ubuntudemon.wordpress.com/200...ve-killer-bug/

    [2] -
    http://ubuntudemon.wordpress.com/200...#comment-31490
    http://paul.luon.net/journal/hacking/BrokenHDDs.html

    [3] - https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedo.../msg00463.html
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  2. Re: Laptop's HDD

    Alberto Gonzalez wrote:
    > Hi,
    >
    > Maybe some of you have been hearing lately about a problem with laptop's hard
    > disk drives being killed by *insert Linux distro here* [1]


    I asked about this on the fedora devel list:
    http://www.redhat.com/archives/fedor.../msg02324.html

    I don't think the kernel should worry about this.
    I don't even think distros should change the default settings of the BIOS/disk.

    Up to and including Fedora 7 on my laptop, the disk did a load cycle
    on average once every 48 seconds. Mounting the filesystems noatime changed this
    to once every 108 seconds, which is a little aggressive still but not too bad.

    Note fedora 8 will have the relatime option on by default for all filesystems.

    Pádraig.
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  3. Re: Laptop's HDD

    On Sun, 4 Nov 2007, Alberto Gonzalez wrote:

    > The problem comes from a very high rate of load/unload cycles of the heads
    > that reaches the 300.000-600.000 limit in 2-3 years (with smartmontools it
    > can checked it with "smartctl -A /dev/sda") . There are reports of HDD dying
    > even earlier for this problem [2]


    I use:

    # hdparm -B 255 /dev/hda

    to get rid of the problem with an ATA disk where I do not care that much
    about power consumption. I do not know what the equivalent for a SATA
    disk would be, but chances are it will be easier to track it down with the
    reference above.

    Maciej
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  4. Re: Laptop's HDD

    Maciej W. Rozycki wrote:
    > On Sun, 4 Nov 2007, Alberto Gonzalez wrote:
    >
    >> The problem comes from a very high rate of load/unload cycles of the heads
    >> that reaches the 300.000-600.000 limit in 2-3 years (with smartmontools it
    >> can checked it with "smartctl -A /dev/sda") . There are reports of HDD dying
    >> even earlier for this problem [2]

    >
    > I use:
    >
    > # hdparm -B 255 /dev/hda
    >
    > to get rid of the problem with an ATA disk where I do not care that much
    > about power consumption. I do not know what the equivalent for a SATA
    > disk would be, but chances are it will be easier to track it down with the
    > reference above.


    Although other power management features exist for SATA, for most hdparm
    stuff PATA and SATA are pretty much the same. Same command set, simply
    a new bus over which to transmit the commands. A great deal of early
    SATA is actually bridged PATA, even.

    Jeff



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  5. Re: Laptop's HDD

    Maciej W. Rozycki wrote:

    >On Sun, 4 Nov 2007, Alberto Gonzalez wrote:
    >
    >
    >
    >>The problem comes from a very high rate of load/unload cycles of the heads
    >>that reaches the 300.000-600.000 limit in 2-3 years (with smartmontools it
    >>can checked it with "smartctl -A /dev/sda") . There are reports of HDD dying
    >>even earlier for this problem [2]
    >>
    >>

    >
    > I use:
    >
    ># hdparm -B 255 /dev/hda
    >
    >to get rid of the problem with an ATA disk where I do not care that much
    >about power consumption. I do not know what the equivalent for a SATA
    >disk would be, but chances are it will be easier to track it down with the
    >reference above.
    >
    > Maciej
    >-
    >To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
    >the body of a message to majordomo@vger.kernel.org
    >More majordomo info at http://vger.kernel.org/majordomo-info.html
    >Please read the FAQ at http://www.tux.org/lkml/
    >
    >
    >

    My laptop harddrive is only a little over a year old and it has a cycle
    count of 193 Load_Cycle_Count 0x0012 021 021 000
    Old_age Always - 795931

    it was going up a few counts everytime I ran the smartctl -A command. It
    quit incrementing after
    I did the hdparm -B 255 command.

    --

    "They that give up essential liberty to obtain temporary safety,
    deserve neither liberty nor safety." (Ben Franklin)

    "The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty
    decreases." (Thomas Jefferson)



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  6. Re: Laptop's HDD

    Maciej W. Rozycki wrote:
    > On Sun, 4 Nov 2007, Alberto Gonzalez wrote:
    >
    >> The problem comes from a very high rate of load/unload cycles of the heads
    >> that reaches the 300.000-600.000 limit in 2-3 years (with smartmontools it
    >> can checked it with "smartctl -A /dev/sda") . There are reports of HDD dying
    >> even earlier for this problem [2]

    >
    > I use:
    >
    > # hdparm -B 255 /dev/hda
    >
    > to get rid of the problem with an ATA disk where I do not care that much
    > about power consumption. I do not know what the equivalent for a SATA
    > disk would be, but chances are it will be easier to track it down with the
    > reference above.

    ...

    The exact same command works with SATA drives.

    -ml
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