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
Or, the following in /etc/hdparm.conf
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.