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Ubuntu :: How To Spin Down Sata Hard Drives

(Ubuntu 10.10) I went to System->Preferences->Power Management and checked spin down hard disks whet possible. I have two internal sata hard drives. One is for the OS and the other is for media. Neither Hard disk is being spun down. Is there something else I need to do?

View 5 Replies (Posted: August 13th, 2011)

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I realize this has been asked many times before, but I'm fairly certain I've read through the majority of those threads and haven't found a working solution yet. I recently built up a Ubuntu Server 10.10 x64 box for backups, serving up files, and development activities. The server is running SATA drives in AHCI mode. Because this is a file server I have quite a few hard drives installed, which are currently a mix of WD 1TB Black and Green drives. I'm attempting to get my non-boot/data only drives to spin down after 10 minutes. I've tried the following:

1. Edit hdparm.conf with the following, replacing 'b' with the identifier for each disk:


/dev/sdb {
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This fails, and based on my research I'm pretty sure udev isn't properly running the hdparm configuration anyway.

2. I've also tried manually setting the spin down time with hdparm as follows (via command line and through rc.local):


hdparm -q -S 120 /dev/sdb

Which states that it successfully set the spin down timer to 10 minutes, but this also fails as the drive never spins down.

3. Finally, I just forced it to spin down immediately with:


hdparm -y /dev/sdb

This worked! Unfortunately, that approach isn't terribly useful. The drive stayed spun down for 20 minutes (thus far), so I haven't bothered to run iostat, etc to try and figure out if something is keeping the drives active. I don't believe there is because one of my drives isn't even mounted currently and it also won't spin down automatically.

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[EDIT]The more I search on this problem, the more lost I am. Does anyone here know (or think they do) whether this is an issue of kernel support, needing a module, needing a driver, or what? Whatever it is, I am still stuck with the issue of having a stock Slackware 12 install DVD with kernel 2.6.21. Though I can set my BIOS for Slack to detect the SATA hard disk, I still get an error during the setup at the point when I actually attempt install (see details below). If I should just use a different kernel available on the DVD, please let me know, because there is no option to list them all (it only gives a couple examples).

Will I be relegated to a network install? I'm trying to figure out what I should install before I even go that route. (That's assuming the install DVD will recognize my on-board Gigabit Ethernet, which Windows did not.) Again, if there is some way I can download some driver and/or module to my laptop, then copy the ISO off my current DVD and somehow combine the whole thing to get a new, special DVD for my desktop, what is it? Details on my problem below. Sorry so long. I'm off to school in a few minutes (will have to do my homework in class). I have a Slackware 12 DVD (iso) with the 2.6.21 kernel and some LiveCDs with, I'm guessing, 2.4.x (Knoppix, another Knoppix put out with an O'Reilly "Knoppix Hacks" book, etc.), plus a Sabayon LiveCD (based off Gentoo).

I am trying to install Slackware 12 on a brand-new computer I built. This is my hardware:

Motherboard: Gigabyte MA74GM-S2H with AM2/AM2+ socket, RTL on-board audio, ATI on-board video, 1 IDE interface, 6 SATA ports, RAID controller
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ 2.7 GHz dual-core


All drives are correctly configured for master/slave and show up correctly in the BIOS. I installed one drive, wrote down the identifying number from the BIOS, then installed the other one, so I know which was which (they are similar models of similar capacities, so the numbers were very similar). Slackware would not detect my SATA drives until I changed "OnChip SATA Type" to "AHCI" and "OnChip SATA Port 4/5 Type" to "As SATA Type". I am not using RAID. (The defaults are "Native IDE" (and "IDE" unchangeable).) Then Slackware correctly detected each drive and its size and I was able to partition both drives with fdisk.

However, while Slackware 12 setup detected my partitions correctly, as soon as I started the actual install, it said it couldn't read off the source disk, and that the files may be corrupt! But I know they are fine. I have installed several times on many computers with them (this laptop I am on included), and I actually have a 2nd DVD also...both get the source file error! I would think that Slackware was getting the SATA and IDE confused, except that it so obviously can read off the DVD when it is booting! So I tried using the WindowsXP CD (I have to install Windows for school, and also for now to access my compressed backups which I haven't seen for months). Maybe Slack will be less confused if it can see a partition and some OSs (long shot, but worth a try). Windows, however, does not recognize the SATA drive unless the settings for the SATA are at their defaults (Native IDE and IDE).

Without a bootable CD or DVD inserted, the AHCI/RAID controller seems to load before hardware detection is complete, or at least loads so fast that it interrupts the list of drives being output to the screen. To even enter BIOS setup I have to keep hitting "<del>" over and over so my keystroke gets detected at the right time, after the AHCI prints stuff to the screen and before BIOS gives me error message...whereas I have more time when AHCI controller is not activated. So for Windows install, I changed them back. Windows recognized only the first 137GB of each drive (have to have SP1+ to see more, my CD is not). Created a 30GB partition, installed, patched, then was able to see the correct capacities and partitioned with windows (left the partitions for Linux unformatted).

Slack DVD still won't see the drives unless I change BIOS settings back again (AHCI and As SATA Type). OK. I look at the partitions in fdisk, which are correct, but get a warning that the partitions do not end on cylinders or something like that. Nevertheless, setup goes fine again until I actually start the install. So neither approach got me any further, but I don't want the partition/cylinder error, so I repeat the process, except I only use Windows to create the Windows partitions, and fdisk in Slackware to create the others. Of course I still get the source file error when I attempt to install Slackware.

As for bootable CDs, they have the same problems seeing hard drives as Slack. Both fdisk and cfdisk have this problem. I also have an MS-DOS (Win 98) floppy disk...DOS can see the disk and detects it as "large", of course. In fact, I was testing with DOS when I still had the original partitions created with Slack, and it had no problem seeing them all. That's not gonna help me install Slackware, though!

So, a couple of problems to sum up:Windows CD only boots if settings are "Native IDE" and "IDE".Slackware DVD only boots if settings are "AHCI" and "As SATA Type".The installed Windows OS only boots if settings are "Native IDE" and "IDE", or else I get an error.
When Slackware DVD is able to boot, the setup program says it can't read the source files during the install and that the media may be corrupt, even though both DVDs are known good and work everywhere else.

Now, I did a search and everyone suggested entirely different approaches, and it may have been kernel-revision- or hardware-dependent. I cannot copy "lspci" since I can't install Slack, and anyway, when I am able to get Slack to see the hard disk, it cannot copy the source files from the DVD for the install. I have kernel 2.6.21 and I think the kernel is up to 2.6.4 or 2.6.5 now. It looks like a new Slack is not yet released with this kernel.

I see a lot of questions and problems posted here, but no flurry of people saying, "I have the 2.6.5 kernel, no problems with SATA drives like earlier kernels!" I am wondering if I should build a new kernel? If so, how do I make an install DVD with old Slackware DVD and new kernel? (I would have to make a DVD on my laptop and then create the DVD to use on my desktop.) Or is there some module I need to install? Something else I need to do? Is the corrupted source file error during Slackware install a related issue? I can boot from it and perform other setup tasks up to that point, including series/package selection.

I don't want to enable RAID, just get my SATA drives working. [EDIT] I only have 1 network connection right now, because my router is downstairs (where the lights don't work right now) and I have Powerline Ethernet upstairs, so I can connect my laptop or the new system, but not both at the same time. If it will be necessary to have network support to fix any of this, however, I can dig out my old router and call the manufacturer to get them to do a factory reset and get rid of a forgotten password on it, and plug that into the Powerline Ethernet upstairs...then I can have my laptop and new desktop connected at the same time.

So if I need to do something like burn a couple CDs or put a different kernel on a CD, or get the kernel off the network, maybe that will work. A note of warning, though: I have Gigabit Ethernet directly on the motherboard, not an Ethernet card. Windows XP wouldn't see a local connection until I installed the drivers off a CD that came with the motherboard. I don't know if networking would even come into play here. But if I need to paste any output in this thread for any reason, I will. That's why I didn't post any lspci info here...if you still need it at all...again, it depends, do newer kernels resolve the SATA issue? (Newer than 2.6.21?)[/EDIT]

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