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I am able to spindown my SATA HDDs by using

sudo hdparm -y /dev/sdc

The state shown by

sudo hdparm -C /dev/sdc

changes from active/idle to standby (and I can hear the HDD spin down).

However, using

sudo hdparm -S5 /dev/sdc

doesn't spin down the drive after 5*5 = 25secs.

Some additional information:

  • AHCI is enabled.
  • I am using Western Digital Green drives.
  • APM_level = not supported
  • Filesystem is ext4

Edit: This question is not a duplicate to How can I control HDD spin down time? because it addresses Western Digital Green drives, which will not work with hdparm.

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marked as duplicate by Eric Carvalho, Jorge Castro, user68186, Richard, Avinash Raj Apr 2 '14 at 6:44

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

You may need to set Advanced Power Management to something lower then 128 first, as high values (128-254) do not allow spin-down. Try sudo hdparm -B 127 /dev/sdc. – mikewhatever Oct 4 '12 at 18:55
hdparm -B doesn't work, because APM_level = not supported on the HDDs. – squarebracket Oct 5 '12 at 2:40
up vote 9 down vote accepted

After more research, it seems that the -B and -S options of hdparm just doesn't work with certain Western Digital (and maybe other) drives.

This includes my WD10EADS, WD10EACS and WD20EARX.

I found a solution: hd-idle

A helpful guide to installing and configuring hd-idle on ubuntu can be found here (it's in german, but the commands are pretty self-explanatory)

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WD30EZRS and WD30EZRX are also affected. – Martin von Wittich Sep 16 '13 at 20:50
Thanks: this might explain why I can only stop my daft WD from constantly going on/off standby - and thus accruing load cycles dangerously quickly towards the mfg threshold of 300000 - by disabling both APM and WDidle. Neither is effective alone. I disabled -Standby for good measure, though I'm not sure it matters once the others are off. The HD claims to support APM, but settings > 128 don't disable standby as claimed, so it exhibits the cycling problem. This is a "Blue" model as follows: "Model Family: Western Digital Scorpio Blue Serial ATA (AF) Device Model: WDC WD3200BPVT-22JJ5T0" – underscore_d Sep 2 '15 at 21:33

The ubuntu way seems to be the laptop mode*

How to:

apt-get install laptop-mode-tools

Afterwards you are able to configure individual power/standby settings through

vim /etc/hdparm.conf

And check your current laptop mode state with:

cat /proc/sys/vm/laptop_mode

If you want to know more:

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This won't work for Western Digital Green drives. – squarebracket Apr 16 '14 at 9:11

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