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I'm interested in manually adjusting my hard drives' spin-down times with hdparm -S to make them quieter at night. The first thing I need to know is what their current spin-down times are, to use as a reference point and so I know what kind of changes I can expect.

Where can I look up this information?


  • I am not asking how to look up the current Advanced Power Management setting (hdparm -B).
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I had an answer to this, but it is not applicable and therefore I deleted it. I can undelete it if your disks actually do not spin down at all currently. (find out via sudo hdparm -C /dev/sdyourdevice, it is spinned down if it says drive state is: standby) – Zsub Mar 5 '13 at 21:37
see also this answer on how to do this from the command line with hdparm – Andre Holzner Dec 2 '15 at 20:52

According to this answer in ServerFault, there is no way to know the current spin down times using hdparam. marc-andre possible was almost there. With udisk --ata-smart-refresh you can get udisks --show-info /dev/sda to return the current spinup time:

udisks --show-info /dev/sdb | grep spin
    can spindown:              1
 Attribute       Current|Worst|Threshold  Status   Value       Type     Updates
 spin-up-time                205|203| 63   good    17.3 secs   Pre-fail Online 
 spin-retry-count            253|252|157   good    0           Pre-fail Online 
 spin-high-current           253|252|  0    n/a    0           Old-age  Online 
 spin-buzz                   253|252|  0    n/a    0           Old-age  Online 

But these are the "average" spin ups time (not the currently set) values for SMART.

Apparently you can only know if a driver is active or not using hdparm -C

sudo hdparm -C /dev/sda
 drive state is:  active/idle
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That is the SMART spin-up time, which is the average time taken for the drive to spin up. It is not something that one "sets" and has nothing to do with this quesiton. – Micheal Johnson Nov 7 '15 at 11:44
@MichealJohnson that's exactly what I'm saying! "But these are the "average" spin ups time (not the currently set) values for SMART." The point is that there is no way to know. – Braiam Nov 7 '15 at 13:37
He's asking about setting/viewing the idle timeout before the hard drive is spun down by Linux, not viewing how long is hard drive takes on average to spin up. And you don't "set" SMART values; they are returned by the hard drive itself. – Micheal Johnson Nov 7 '15 at 14:04
@MichealJohnson "I need to know is what their current spin-down times are", to which I answer "there is no way to know the current spin down times". What's your point? – Braiam Nov 7 '15 at 22:47
Yeah that part was fine, it's when you went on to explain SMART data stuff that it got terribly off-topic (and confusing). – Micheal Johnson Nov 8 '15 at 11:10

I was interested in finding this out myself. I created a quick and dirty script for measuring spindown. It works on intervals of SECONDS from uptime, and you can specify which disk(s) and intervals to use. It logs results to ~/sleepdata.log It only uses hdparm and uptime. It probably has bugs too.

DL @

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That's not the spindown times but the APM values. It has no relevance. – Braiam Jul 11 '14 at 19:16
@Braiam Thanks for your feedback, but I am a litlle confused. My script checks for "standby" using hdparm -C. It calculates the time it takes for this to happen since the system booted. Unless you're looking for the time from spindown is getting started to when it is not spinning, you're not asking a sensible question, e.g. the equivalent of "how fast does a car go?" The OP is asking what his current spindown time is. My script solves his problem. – sigg3 Jul 11 '14 at 23:27

you can use "disk utility" and after selecting your drive on the left pane, click the "view smart data" button on the right.

one of the attributes in the list that appears should be the drive spindown time. (using SSD drives at the moment,so the info is not available for me)

also you can get the info from commandline using "udisks" using "--ata-smart-refresh " . you can get more infos on how to set your spindown times at this manpage for "udisks"

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I don't see what you're referring to in the SMART data for my drives or in Wikipedia's list of known SMART attributes. – ændrük May 1 '13 at 18:51
hum.. odd.. i used to see them on my old maxtor/seagate drives.. hum maybe it was with the seagate software ..hum.. or maybe i've mistakenly thought of spin up times instead.. – marc-andre benoit May 8 '13 at 0:42

Disk Utility -> select HDD drive -> click on the "More actions..." icon on the top right corner -> Drive settings...

Mine is looks like this: screenshot

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