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).
  • 1
    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, 2013 at 21:37
  • 1
    see also this answer on how to do this from the command line with hdparm Dec 2, 2015 at 20:52

3 Answers 3


According to the ATA/ATAPI-7 V1 (the specification that manufacturers should follow to be ATA compliant), there is no way to know the current spin down times, so hdparm wouldn't be able to. marc-andre solution only tries to determine whenever the drive can spin down and the spin up times:

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 

You can only know if a drive is currently active or not using hdparm -C

sudo hdparm -C /dev/sda
 drive state is:  active/idle
  • 1
    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. Nov 7, 2015 at 11:44
  • 2
    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. Nov 7, 2015 at 14:04
  • 3
    Yeah that part was fine, it's when you went on to explain SMART data stuff that it got terribly off-topic (and confusing). Nov 8, 2015 at 11:10
  • 2
    It doesn't matter what you said about spin up times, they're still irrelevant. The question asked about configuring the idle time before the hard drive is spun down; anything with the word "SMART" in it is irrelevant. Nov 8, 2015 at 19:02
  • 3
    If it's relevant, no; when it's completely irrelevant and potentially confusing, yes. Nov 8, 2015 at 19:09

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

Mine is looks like this: screenshot


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" http://manpages.ubuntu.com/manpages/precise/man1/udisks.1.html

  • 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, 2013 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.. May 8, 2013 at 0:42

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