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This appears to be specific to laptop power-management. – david6 May 25 '12 at 1:58
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I see these stories are about five years old. I see Martin Pitt was involved from Canonical and I trust him. Sorting this sort of thing out is often a matter of trust unless you are an expert. I'm not.

It is said to be hardware specific, in terms of what the hard drive is doing to conserve power and temperature, so if you want to double check your hardware to see if it is doing excessive load cycles, why not?

Checking Hard Drive S.M.A.R.T Statistics

  1. Start a terminal
  2. sudo apt-get install smartmontools
  3. sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda # where /dev/sda should be replaced by the name of your disk.
  4. Look at the statistics for Load_Cycle_Count, write it down, and then check it again after 24 hours.

Your laptop or disk manufacturer may have information about what is reasonable and what is excessive. I believe I saw that people have developed work arounds for use if they are concerned.

Personally, I've had my laptop about 2 1/2 years ago and have Ubuntu running on it 24/365 (I don't have to run Itunes anymore so I don't have to run Windows anymore). I do keep it plugged in most of the time so it's probably not doing really aggressive power saving, but I've never checked. It looks like it has done a load about every 20 minutes for the life of the hard drive (Looking at Power_On_Hours).

Hard drives don't last forever, due to this sort of thing, normal wear, temperature, etc. So it is always best to make regular backups, whether there's been anything to this sort of thing or not.

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"".. This is obviously HDD or HDD-controller specific, and is therefore a hardware vendor problem, not an Ubuntu problem .."

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