A serious warning to Linux Laptop users

I’ve just come across a rather scary, and worryingly old launchpad bug, which talks about real hardware damage. There is more on the problem here. But basically, by default, Linux is far too optimistic with spinning laptop hard drives down, and you can reach number of spin-up/downs that your drive is rated for over it’s entire life-time, in a few months.

My laptop (3 months old), is already at 160000 Load/Unloads: Around half it’s rated life.

The easy solution is

# hdparm -B 180 /dev/sda

Or, the following in /etc/hdparm.conf

/dev/sda {
    apm = 180

Lets hope that this gets resolved soon, or the problem isn’t as bad as it appears.

I see that Matthew Garrett (the Ubuntu Laptop Tzar) is subscribed to this bug, but doesn’t seem to have commented on it. I find that a little odd, considering its seriousness.


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I got this message when I trie

I got this message when I tried the first solution:

setting Advanced Power Management level to 0xb4 (180)
HDIO_DRIVE_CMD failed: Invalid argument

Here is another serious bug...

Here is another serious bug... While not quite as serious as hardware killing code, it is serious as it keeps Ubuntu from functioning as it should. It has no comments yet, but I think it is serious since Dell is shipping Notebooks and Desktops with Ubuntu Gutsy on them, not to mention the other businesses that install Ubuntu Linux on their systems. (System76)

System> Preferences> Sessions is broken!

børge, check with smartctl to

børge, check with smartctl to see if your dive is load/unloading too much.

If the drive doesn't support the command, then you should be safe.

Also, if your drive is /dev/hda, obviously use that instead of /devv/sda

Aha..! Hehe, of course, thank

Aha..! Hehe, of course, thank you. I'm not experienced with Linux, so I just copied whatever you said. Changeing to hda did the trick. But there was no smartctl package..?

børge: It's in smartmontools

børge: It's in smartmontools


[...] sources reporting on this issue: A serious warning to Linux Laptop users Broken [...]

Thanks! But how do I use it to

Thanks! But how do I use it to find out if my drive is (un)loading too much?

You use smartctl: smartctl -d

You use smartctl: smartctl -d ata -a /dev/sda

OK. Thanks again!

OK. Thanks again!


[...] dla swojego dysku…. uff zaledwie 16 665 - w porównaniu do iloÅ›ci 160 000, którÄ… opisuje Stefano Riversa dla swojego 3-miesiÄ™cznego laptopa to [...]

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