Archive for October, 2008

Linux is quietly breaking my harddrive

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

So i wondered if linux could be the reason for my laptop battery draining so fast. During my search through the web i found this intresting Article: German Ubuntu-Wiki on Harddrivebug

Because of a bug in the acpi-settings, harddrives in laptops are told to park their read/write head, allthough there is no need to while beeing on AC. In order to save battery it makes sense to park the head while in batterymode though. Since the parking procedure is limitted bei abraison, its good to help the hardrive survive.

This can be achieved by installing a script which checks if the laptop is running on AC or battery and then uses hdparm to set the harddrive into power saving mode or not. Its described in the above mentioned link here.

I have a rather new harddrive in my laptop (IBM X31) which i leave on AC practically 24/7. I just checked with the following command:

sudo smartctl -A /dev/sdX | grep -E "(Load_Cycle_Count|ID)" && date

and the outcome is a little concerning:

root@x31:/# smartctl -A /dev/sda | grep -E "(Load_Cycle_Count|ID)" && date
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0012   001   001   000    Old_age   Always       -       1593642
225 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0012   001   001   000    Old_age   Always       -       1593642
Wed Oct  8 20:42:53 CEST 2008

RAW_VALUE is the actual count of parkings the head did in his lifetime. Manufacturers claim that harddrives have between 300k and 600k cycles. I already have 1.6M.
VALUE should be 100, the closer it gets to 0 the more cycles the head had and the more likely a harddrive crash is.

After applying the patch and rebooting i havent had a single parking yet, lets see if now the temprature of the harddrive becomes a problem. Im definatly overdue for a big backup!

My advice: do the patch, or at least check your cycles!