I have an external USB 2.0 harddisk (Seagate 9SD2A2-500) that periodically "freezes" when files on the drive are not written to or read within approximately five minutes. The drive is formatted as ext4, and I am running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS 64-bit.
If I am editing a file that is stored on this drive, and I do not save the file every five minutes, an open application (such as gedit) will become unresponsive. I must wait for at least a minute before the external drive becomes responsive again and the file can be saved. I've also noticed this behavior when trying to access a file in Nautilus.
It appears that the drive is "falling asleep" and then "wakes up" after a certain time. What is happening here, and is it possible to change this behavior?
I have another USB 2.0 harddisk attached to the computer. The harddisk is formatted as FAT32, and does not show this behavior.