Ubuntu Demon\’s blog

October 26, 2007

Laptop Hardrive Killer Bug

Filed under: english — ubuntudemon @ 8:39 pm

I previously blogged about a problem I had with my harddrive. Turns out the harddrive was dying. I confirmed it with hutil 2.0.3 from the Ultimate Boot CD. Now I am the proud owner of a Western Digital WD2500BEVS.

Turns out that I was right that there was something buggy going on. I discovered this bug report (people are blogging about this bug and it was even mentioned on the Digg) : https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/acpi-support/+bug/59695

I have had laptop-mode enabled for a long time. Apparantly this caused my harddrive to get a Load_Cycle_Count of 241.493 in 1 year time. This is what probably caused my harddrive problems.

laptop-mode is disabled by default. If you have enabled laptop-mode (in /etc/default/acpi-support) you should definitely disable it!

Too aggressive powermanagement settings by laptop-mode will cause the head of your harddrive to park and unpark too often. Your harddrive is designed to last a certain amount of these park/unpark cycles and will eventually fail.

Some people who didn’t enable laptop-mode can also be affected because your harddrive’s firmware or your BIOS might also tell your harddrive to do aggressive power management.

IMHO this bug should get critical status because it’s killing people’s harddrives.

I think we can dissect the bug into the following parts :

  • harddrive firmware should use sane defaults for power management (contact your harddrive manufacturer if you don’t use laptop-mode and suffer from this problem)
  • the BIOS shouldn’t set the amount of power management of your harddrive (contact your BIOS manufacturer if your harddrive manufacturer isn’t the one to blame)
  • harddrives shouldn’t die within one year even if you have enabled aggressive power management settings
  • aggressive power management settings (if set by your harddrive’s firmware or your BIOS) should be detected and handled
  • laptop-mode should be less aggressive about power management in the meantime you shouldn’t enable it
  • if the hdparm service is enabled then hdparm should load the settings from /etc/hdparm.conf after resuming frome suspend-to-ram and hibernate-to-disk
  • the top causes for hard drive wake up/spin up should be found
  • the top causes for hard drive unparking should be found
  • maybe (laptop) harddrives should be mounted with noatime by default
  • smartmontools should be installed on default. smartd should run on default with sane settings hooking into a notifier to notify users
    • if the Load_Cycle_Count is increased with more than 90 cycles within 24 hours
    • if smartctl thinks your harddrive assess your harddrive as not healthy
    • if more than X errors where found during the last self-test

Regarding smartd hooking into a notifier I found the following wiki pages with similar ideas :

To view your Load_Cycle_Count :

$sudo aptitude install smartmontools

$sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda | more

Please read this :

If you think you might be suffering from this problem here’s an ugly fix :

This is what Matthew Garret says about this bug :

Linux-hero wrote about how Ubuntu kills your hard drive. The situation is somewhat less clear than you might think from the article, but the basic takeaway message is that Ubuntu doesn’t touch your hard drive power management settings by default. In almost all cases, it’s more likely to be your BIOS or the firmware on your hard drive.

The script that’s executed when you plug or unplug your laptop is /etc/acpi/power.sh. The relevant sections are:

function laptop_mode_enable {
...
    $HDPARM -S $SPINDOWN_TIME /dev/$drive 2>/dev/null
    $HDPARM -B 1 /dev/$drive 2>/dev/null
}

That is, when the laptop_mode_enable function is called, we set the drive power parameters. Now, by default laptop_mode_enable isn’t called:

if [ x$ENABLE_LAPTOP_MODE = xtrue ]; then
    (sleep 5 && laptop_mode_enable)&
fi

because ENABLE_LAPTOP_MODE is false in the default install (check /etc/default/acpi-support). This means that, by default, we do not alter the hard drive power settings. In other words, the APM settings that your drive is using in Ubuntu are the ones that your BIOS programmed into it when the computer started. This is supported by the fact that people see this issue after resuming from suspend. We don’t touch the hard drive settings at that point, so the only way it can occur is if your BIOS or drive default to this behaviour.

If you enable laptop mode, then we will enable aggressive power management on the drive and that may lead to some reduction in hard drive lifespan. That’s a fairly inevitable consequence of laptop mode, since it only makes sense if the laptop enages in aggressive power management. But, as I said, that’s not the default behaviour of Ubuntu.

There’s certainly an argument that we should work around BIOSes, but in general our assumption has been that your hardware manufacturer has a better idea what your computer is capable of than we do. If a laptop manufacturer configures your drive to save power at the cost of life expectancy, then that’s probably something you should ask your laptop manufacturer about.

59 Comments »

  1. Very interesting but I have no technical knowledge. How would I know if this is enabled and how would I turn it off given my lack of techincal knowledge and skill?

    Comment by Mike — October 26, 2007 @ 10:44 pm

  2. You know what’s sad? I reported this almost six months ago and not a single soul commented on it. And as you can see in my bug report, there are other scripts in the system that make the same agressive power management assumptions. I am glad that finally someone has been able to give this bug more public coverage, as I share your concern over the severity of this bug.

    But this does raise the question ( perhaps unfounded?): Can less notorious bug reporters, as is my case, see their effort and concerns taken serious?

    Comment by nglnx — October 27, 2007 @ 12:46 am

  3. You know what’s sad? I reported this almost six months ago and not a single soul commented on it. And as you can see in my bug report, there are other scripts in the system that make the same agressive power management assumptions. I am glad that finally someone has been able to give this bug more public coverage, as I share your concern over the severity of this bug.

    But this does raise the question ( perhaps unfounded?): Can less notorious bug reporters, as is my case, see their effort and concerns taken serious?

    Comment by nglnx — October 27, 2007 @ 12:47 am

  4. Great article. This issue definitely needs to be addressed – and it will, now that it has hit the spotlight!

    I just heard about this for the first time on Digg the other day, so I checked out my load/unload count on my laptop – 1,700,000! My hard drive should be dead! I used it as a desktop replacement for about 6 months, with almost 24/7 operation; that added an estimated 864,000 cycles at my current rate of 4 loads/unloads per minute.

    The worst thing is,

    sudo hdparm -B 255 /dev/sda

    doesn’t work. Running the command reports that power management has been disabled, but I still get 4 cycles per minute, regardless of the value of B…

    This needs to be addressed, SOON!

    Comment by Pascal — October 27, 2007 @ 12:48 am

  5. You know what’s sad? I reported this almost six months ago and not a single soul commented on it. And as you can see in my bug report, there are other scripts in the system that make the same agressive power management assumptions. I am glad that finally someone has been able to give this bug more public coverage, as I share your concern over the severity of this bug.

    But this does raise the question ( perhaps unfounded?): Can less notorious bug reporters, as is my case, see their effort and concerns taken serious?

    Comment by nglnx — October 27, 2007 @ 12:50 am

  6. This is a very tricky balance of considerations to get right. Unlike many hardware components of your computer, the hard disk includes moving parts. Generally, if you want to save power you turn something off — powertop itself suggests enabling laptop-mode. And there’s good reasons, the spinning drive will likely hurt battery life. Starting and stopping a CPU has no consequences known to me (directly on the CPU at least).

    The main failure that I can see is that Ubuntu doesn’t have a very large group of technical talent dedicated to laptops. We have a large group of informed individuals testing laptop features, but not various performance aspects. Hats off to linux-hero for noting the problem, though perhaps their means were less than maximally productive.

    Comment by jldugger — October 27, 2007 @ 7:14 am

  7. To discover whether you suffer from this problem :

    First install smartmontools to be able to query your harddrive :
    $ sudo aptitude install smartmontools

    To find your Load_Cycle_Count do this (the last number is the number we are interested in) :
    $ sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda | grep Load_Cycle_Count

    If this number is growing rapidly (more than 90 per day) then you might be suffering from this problem.

    The reason I’m saying to look for an average of more than 90 per day is because it will guarantee that your Load_Cycle_Count is less than 100.000 in three years : 90 * 365 * 3 = 98.550. As you can see I chose this number of 90 quite arbitrarily but it should almost guarantee that your harddrive won’t die during the first three years due to a high Load_Cycle_Count. It’s possible that a value below 180 per day is still okay (180 * 365 * 3 = 197.100).

    Comment by ubuntudemon — October 27, 2007 @ 8:30 am

  8. I’m a big fan of Ubuntu. I don’t want to see Ubuntu hurt because it’s not Ubuntu who is setting these aggressive power management defaults.


    First read : Ubuntu is NOT causing aggressive power management

    Regarding the rest of this post you can read the same information here for easier reading :
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=3675784&postcount=25
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=3675960&postcount=26

    Some background of the problem :

    If your harddrive spins down and spins up again your Load_Cycle_Count increases by one. If your harddrive head parks and unparks again your Load_Cycle_Count increases by one.

    You don’t want your Load_Cycle_Count to increase too fast.

    Harddrive manufacturers seem to claim most harddrives can handle at least 600.000 Load_Cycles but this is probably an average under ideal circumstances. My harddrive started to die slowly when at a Load_Cycle_Count of 200.000.

    Ubuntu is NOT causing aggressive power management.

    The following things might instead cause aggressive power management settings :

    * your (laptop) harddrive firmware might have aggressive power management defaults (operating system independent)
    * your (laptop) BIOS might set your harddrive to use aggressive power management (operating system independent)
    * you might have enabled laptop-mode in /etc/default/acpi-support (disabled by default) which will set your harddrive to use aggressive power management

    These aggressive power management settings are set by your BIOS or harddrive firmware. Windows and/or Mac OS X might be overriding these settings which might make Ubuntu look bad if Ubuntu doesn’t override these settings.

    Read here what Matthew Garret an experienced and well known Ubuntu Developer has said about this problem :
    http://www.advogato.org/person/mjg59/diary/82.html

    for more information see :
    https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/acpi-support/+bug/59695
    https://ubuntudemon.wordpress.com/2007/10/30/ubuntu-is-not-causing-aggressive-power-management
    https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/acpi-support/+bug/17216

    Now to determine whether you actually suffer from this problem :

    To query S.M.A.R.T. data you need to install smartmontools :
    $ sudo aptitude install smartmontools

    If smartctl says your drive isn’t healthy anymore (for any reason) your harddrive might start dying soon.
    $sudo smartctl -H /dev/sda

    Now check how fast your Load_Cycle_Count is increasing (the last number is your Load_Cycle_Count) :
    $ sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda | grep Load_Cycle_Count

    So you should roughly calculate what your Load_Cycle_Count will be in three years of harddrive use to determine whether you need to apply the ugly fix.

    The smartctl values aren’t always easy to interpret. If the Load_Cycle_Counter value behaves as a counter and is below impossible to reach values it’s probably the right number.

    You can also look at “WORST” and “THRESHOLD” (|more instead of |grep to easily see which value is “WORST” and which value is “THRESHOLD”) :
    $ sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda | more

    If WORST is lowering (too fast) than you might be suffering from this problem. You can roughly calculate how long it will take for WORST to reach THRESHOLD if you keep watching those values daily/weekly. The closer WORST (starts at 100 or 200 from what I have seen) is to THRESHOLD the likelier it is for your drive to die from a high Load_Cycle_Count.

    From https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/acpi-support/+bug/17216/comments/40 :
    [quote=Brian Visel]

    Something to bear in mind as well:

    smartmon does not always report SMART values as you might think. Different values are stored in different ways by different manufacturers.

    Namely, if you do the smartctl check, wait for the click, and do it again immediately after, you may find that the amount has increased by more than one. In this case, it’s a pretty safe bet that the number you’re seeing isn’t accurate.

    Also, it’s a pretty safe bet (though not guaranteed) that you can get the real value by dividing by the amount it increments by. So, if the value you see first is 477,296, and then it clicks once, and the value is 477,312 (difference of 16), it’s a pretty safe bet that the number you’re really dealing with is more along the lines of 29,831 to 29,832, in which case you have no worries.

    [/quote]

    If you think you might be suffering from this problem you might want to apply the ugly fix.

    If you think your harddrive might start dying soon you should make backups of all your data and run the diagnostic tool of your harddrive manufacturer.

    The ugly fix :

    You should only apply this fix if you feel your Load_Cycle_Count is increasing too fast. You should only apply this fix if you understand what you are doing so that you can reverse it. Apply this fix on your own risk. Also don’t forget that having your harddisk head park protects your harddrive if you experience any bumps (which is especially nice if you are on the road and therefor probably working on battery).


    If you have enabled laptop-mode (which is disabled by default). Disable laptop-mode in /etc/default/acpi-support. And $sudo laptop_mode stop
    Shut down your laptop. Remove your powercord and battery for a second. Start your laptop again and determine whether Load_Cycle_Count is still increasing too fast.

    If you haven’t enabled laptop-mode or if your Load_Cycle_Count is still increasing too fast do the following :
    $ sudo hdparm -B 254 /dev/sda
    $ sudo hdparm -S 0 /dev/sda

    This will turn off Advanced Power Management on the drive and it will disable the standby (spindown) timeout, so the drive will never be spun down and up again. Determine whether Load_Cycle_Count is still increasing too fast. You can experiment with values between 128 (low power usage) and 254 (best performance) although values below 254 still can do much head parks (depending on the harddrive) so you should keep watching your Load_Cycle_Count.

    If hdparm solved your problem let’s make these settings permanent.

    Edit /etc/hdparm.conf ($gksudo gedit /etc/hdparm.conf) and add this :

    /dev/sda {
    apm = 254
    spindown_time = 0
    }


    To make these changes consistent over reboots install the hdparm init script by doing :
    $sudo update-rc.d hdparm defaults

    Now to make sure your Load_Cycle_Count won’t start increasing after suspend,hibernate or attaching your powercord.

    1) make a file named “99-hdd-spin-fix.sh”. The important thing is starting with “99”.
    $sudo gedit 99-hdd-spin-fix.sh
    2) make sure the file contains the following 2 lines (fix it if you have PATA HDD):
    #!/bin/sh
    hdparm -B 254 /dev/sda
    hdparm -S 0 /dev/sda

    3) copy this file to 5 locations:
    $sudo install 99-hdd-spin-fix.sh /etc/acpi/suspend.d/
    $sudo install 99-hdd-spin-fix.sh /etc/acpi/resume.d/
    $sudo install 99-hdd-spin-fix.sh /etc/acpi/start.d/
    $sudo install 99-hdd-spin-fix.sh /etc/acpi/ac.d/
    $sudo install 99-hdd-spin-fix.sh /etc/acpi/battery.d/

    By using install the file 99-hdd-spin-fix.sh should have the x-bit set.

    If you want your harddisk to park/unpark in order to safe power and protect your harddisk from bumps while on battery then you can edit /etc/acpi/battery.d/99-hdd-spin-fix.sh and change 254 to a value between 128 and 254. Choose 128 for the most aggressive power management, the most protection and the highest increase of Load_Cycles. Watch your Load_Cycle_Count and experiment to find the right value. Now your Load_Cycle_Count will increase while on battery.
    $sudo gedit /etc/acpi/battery.d/99-hdd-spin-fix.sh

    I didn’t came up with this fix. Contributions to this fix :
    https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/acpi-support/+bug/59695/comments/14
    https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/acpi-support/+bug/59695/comments/25
    https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/acpi-support/+bug/59695/comments/99
    http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/showthread.php?p=2939397#post2939397

    Comment by ubuntudemon — October 27, 2007 @ 9:50 am

  9. Voiding the warranty by installing Linux on laptop does not sound that crazy anymore, does it?

    Comment by buk — October 27, 2007 @ 7:37 pm

  10. I Want to use ubuntu on my laptop,but inside the vmware platform,does it also affect my hard drive?

    Comment by helai — October 28, 2007 @ 1:03 am

  11. to buk :

    IMHO it does sound crazy to void the warranty by installing Linux on the laptop. If the user didn’t enable laptop-mode (disabled by default) and the user suffers from this problem the aggressive power management settings are set by the BIOS of the harddrive and not by Ubuntu.

    Comment by ubuntudemon — October 28, 2007 @ 11:25 am

  12. to helai :

    IMHO in your case the following things might set (aggressive) power management settings on your harddrive :

    -BIOS
    -Harddisk firmware
    -Windows

    I don’t know how fast Load_Cycle_Count increases in Windows under aggressive power management settings. Some people say that windows might set the harddrive to less aggressive powermanagement settings (set by BIOS or harddisk firmware).

    IMHO it probably doesn’t matter whether your run Windows or run Ubuntu in VMWare under Windows because it’s not Ubuntu who sets these aggressive settings unless you enable laptop-mode which is disabled by default (which probably won’t have much affect in VMWare but don’t enable it to be sure).

    Comment by ubuntudemon — October 28, 2007 @ 11:33 am

  13. To Pascal: try -B254 instead of -B255. This helps me.

    Comment by Pavel Śefránek — October 28, 2007 @ 12:43 pm

  14. How about external hard drives, are they affected?

    Comment by forteller — October 28, 2007 @ 2:14 pm

  15. 1. I tried both Windows XP and Ubuntu, I can hear disk clicks (several per minute) only under Ubuntu (*default install of Gutsy*), load cycle count is already 12k on a three week old HD. I can disable “clicking” by doing -B 255, thanx for the tip btw.

    2. Technically speaking, you are right, BIOS default setting is wrong. I am afraid, it will come to “Did you install Windows from our supplied CD?” in practice.

    Comment by buk — October 28, 2007 @ 8:19 pm

  16. to forteller :

    You should check. If there’s an 2.5″ drive in the casing it might be a laptop harddrive which might have aggressive powermanagement defaults in the harddrive’s firmware.

    also see :
    https://ubuntudemon.wordpress.com/2007/10/28/laptop-hardrive-killer-bug-how-to-discover-whether-you-are-affected/

    Comment by ubuntudemon — October 29, 2007 @ 1:28 pm

  17. My laptop is roughley 6 months old with 13430 cycles.

    I take it this is good?

    Comment by pete — October 29, 2007 @ 2:51 pm

  18. to pete :
    That’s absolutely fine. You have nothing to worry about. (unless you have just started running Ubuntu and your Load_Cycle_Count increased to this number in a very short time)

    Comment by ubuntudemon — October 29, 2007 @ 4:21 pm

  19. hi

    here is the result of the command:

    julien@ubuntu-laptop:~$ sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda | grep Load_Cycle
    193 Load_Cycle_Count 0x0032 099 099 000 Old_age Always – 24772

    My laptop is 2 years old (1 of ubuntu)

    Is it OK?

    Comment by Peck — October 29, 2007 @ 10:21 pm

  20. to Peck :

    You have nothing to worry about. Your laptop harddrive looks totally fine. You are not running with aggressive power management settings judging from your Load_Cycle_Count of 24.772.

    Remember that you will probably be able to get at least 200.000 Load_Cycles.

    If your laptop’s harddrive lifetime would be only determined by Load_Cycle count you would have at least 6 years of harddrive life left.

    Comment by ubuntudemon — October 30, 2007 @ 10:04 am

  21. Ubuntu is NOT causing aggressive power management.

    The following things might instead cause aggressive power management settings :

    * your (laptop) harddrive firmware might have aggressive power management defaults (operating system independent)
    * your (laptop) BIOS might set your harddrive to use aggressive power management (operating system independent)
    * you might have enabled laptop-mode in /etc/default/acpi-support (disabled by default) which will set your harddrive to use aggressive power management

    These aggressive power management settings are set by your BIOS or harddrive firmware. Windows and/or Mac OS X might be overriding these settings which might make Ubuntu look bad if Ubuntu doesn’t override these settings.

    Read here what Matthew Garret an experienced and well known Ubuntu Developer has said about this problem :
    http://www.advogato.org/person/mjg59/diary/82.html

    for more information see :
    https://ubuntudemon.wordpress.com/2007/10/30/ubuntu-is-not-causing-aggressive-power-management/

    Comment by ubuntudemon — October 30, 2007 @ 7:50 pm

  22. […] seeing this article on the problem with BIOS/hard drive power management, I decided to check out how my Thinkpad T23 was […]

    Pingback by irrelevancy » Blog Archive » Aggro Power Saving — October 30, 2007 @ 8:56 pm

  23. I’m a big fan of Ubuntu. I don’t want to see Ubuntu hurt because it’s not Ubuntu who is setting these aggressive power management defaults.

    Some background of the problem :

    If your harddrive spins down and spins up again your Load_Cycle_Count increases by one. If your harddrive head parks and unparks again your Load_Cycle_Count increases by one.

    You don’t want your Load_Cycle_Count to increase too fast.

    Harddrive manufacturers seem to claim most harddrives can handle at least 600.000 Load_Cycles but this is probably an average under ideal circumstances. My harddrive started to die slowly when at a Load_Cycle_Count of 200.000.

    Ubuntu is NOT causing aggressive power management.

    The following things might instead cause aggressive power management settings :

    * your (laptop) harddrive firmware might have aggressive power management defaults (operating system independent)
    * your (laptop) BIOS might set your harddrive to use aggressive power management (operating system independent)
    * you might have enabled laptop-mode in /etc/default/acpi-support (disabled by default) which will set your harddrive to use aggressive power management

    These aggressive power management settings are set by your BIOS or harddrive firmware. Windows and/or Mac OS X might be overriding these settings which might make Ubuntu look bad if Ubuntu doesn’t override these settings.

    Read here what Matthew Garret an experienced and well known Ubuntu Developer has said about this problem :
    http://www.advogato.org/person/mjg59/diary/82.html

    for more information see :
    https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/acpi-support/+bug/59695
    https://ubuntudemon.wordpress.com/2007/10/30/ubuntu-is-not-causing-aggressive-power-management


    If you think you might be suffering from this problem here’s an ugly fix :
    the ugly fix

    Comment by ubuntudemon — October 31, 2007 @ 10:21 am

  24. I’m very sorry! I don’t want to spam planet.ubuntu.com

    I just discovered this : if I edit an old post the timestamp in the rss feed gets updated and bumps my post to the top of planet.ubuntu.com. I use wordpress.com so I can’t edit the source code. I thought this just happened with my latest post but apparently it happens with al my posts. Does anyone have any idea how to fix this ? In the meantime I won’t be editting posts.

    The last post I made regarding the harddrive problem is : Ubuntu is NOT causing aggressive power management
    https://ubuntudemon.wordpress.com/2007/10/30/ubuntu-is-not-causing-aggressive-power-management/

    I’m a big fan of Ubuntu. I don’t want to see Ubuntu hurt because it’s not Ubuntu who is setting these aggressive power management defaults. I won’t blog again about this problem until new information arises.

    Comment by ubuntudemon — October 31, 2007 @ 11:55 am

  25. The smartctl values aren’t always easy to interpret. If the Load_Cycle_Counter value behaves as a counter and is below impossible to reach values it’s probably the right number.

    You can also look at “WORST” and “TRESHOLD” (|more instead of |grep to easily see which value is “WORST” and which value is “TRESHOLD”) :
    $ sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda | more

    If WORST is lowering (too fast) than you might be suffering from this problem. You can roughly calculate how long it will take for WORST to reach TRESHOLD if you keep watching those values daily/weekly. The closer WORST (starts at 100 or 200 from what I have seen) is to THRESHOLD the likelier it is for your drive to die from a high Load_Cycle_Count.

    From https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/acpi-support/+bug/17216/comments/40 :
    [quote=Brian Visel]

    Something to bear in mind as well:

    smartmon does not always report SMART values as you might think. Different values are stored in different ways by different manufacturers.

    Namely, if you do the smartctl check, wait for the click, and do it again immediately after, you may find that the amount has increased by more than one. In this case, it’s a pretty safe bet that the number you’re seeing isn’t accurate.

    Also, it’s a pretty safe bet (though not guaranteed) that you can get the real value by dividing by the amount it increments by. So, if the value you see first is 477,296, and then it clicks once, and the value is 477,312 (difference of 16), it’s a pretty safe bet that the number you’re really dealing with is more along the lines of 29,831 to 29,832, in which case you have no worries.

    [/quote]

    If you think you might be suffering from this problem you might want to apply the ugly fix :
    https://ubuntudemon.wordpress.com/2007/10/26/laptop-hardrive-killer-bug/#comment-31234

    If you think your harddrive might start dying soon you should make backups of all your data and run the diagnostic tool of your harddrive manufacturer.

    Comment by ubuntudemon — October 31, 2007 @ 2:49 pm

  26. My load cycle is 405,670. I this laptop is about 1 year old. I have been running ubuntu for about 9 months or so (first feisty, now gutsy). From what I have read, this is not good. Is that right? or are my values way off?

    My threshold is 0 and worst is 60.
    When i run the drive health test, it reports back that everything is ok.

    What’s going on? Do i have to worry?

    Comment by seraph741 — October 31, 2007 @ 6:27 pm

  27. I too have a Load_Cycle_Count of 332184.

    I looked up the specs for my drive (Hitachi HTS726060M9AT00).

    Apparent it has three idle modes:
    1. Performance Idle. The drive is actively reading and writing.
    2. Active Idle. The head is moved to the “middle”. Saves 45-55% power (compared to #1).
    3. Low power Idle. The head is parked (and that increases the Load_Cycle_Count). Saves 55-65% power (again compared to #1).

    The spec also states that the APM Levels (what you set with hdparm -B) are as follows:
    o 1-127 standby is lowest possible mode
    o 128-191 low power idle is lowest possible mode
    o 129 – 254 active idle is lowest possible mode

    I set mine to 192 and now the Load_Cycle_Count does not change anymore (during normal operation).

    Hopes this helps.

    Comment by Lars — October 31, 2007 @ 9:27 pm

  28. to seraph741 :

    You should keep an eye on your smartctl output.

    If your worst started at 100 you might have roughly 60% of your Load_Cycles left. If your worst started at 200 you might have roughly 30% of your Load_Cycles left. These are just very rough estimates.

    You should either wait a few days and hope an official fix will be released or you should try apply to “ugly fixes” :
    https://ubuntudemon.wordpress.com/2007/10/26/laptop-hardrive-killer-bug/#comment-31234

    If you feel your “worst” is going to approach the “threshold” too close you need to backup all your data and run the diagnostic tool from your harddrive manufacturer.

    Comment by ubuntudemon — October 31, 2007 @ 9:50 pm

  29. I have combined all active threads about the “laptop harddrive Load_Cycle_Count issue” on the ubuntuforums.

    People who have support questions can ask them here :
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=591503

    Comment by ubuntudemon — November 1, 2007 @ 1:16 pm

  30. i applied the ugly fix for now and my load_count isn’t changing anymore. it’s kind of annoying that after only 1 year, my HD is already so worn out. i hope there is an official fix soon!

    Comment by seraph741 — November 1, 2007 @ 5:35 pm

  31. […] Fonte: Ubuntu Demon. […]

    Pingback by Guia do PC » Ubuntu e a redução de vida útil dos HD’s — November 3, 2007 @ 2:34 pm

  32. […] [1] – beranger.org/index.php?page=diary&2007/10/24/18/07/21 – ubuntudemon.wordpress.com/2007/10/26/laptop-hardrive-killer-bug/ […]

    Pingback by Linux-kernel-digest Digest, Vol 38, Issue 63 | Bla.es — November 4, 2007 @ 5:08 am

  33. Hai,

    The output I am getting while trying the command $sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda |grep Load_Cycle_Count on My Compaq Presario V3228AU Laptop is,

    193 Load_Cycle_Count 0x0012 100 100 000 Old_age Always 9987

    and i am using Gutsy for about last 15 days and before that i have also used feisty for few months.

    Is my Lappy is under any critical position ? Please tell me what is the Fix and how can i fix it easily.

    Please help me. I don’t want to lose my lappy…….😦

    Comment by Logesh — November 6, 2007 @ 7:17 pm

  34. So, I’m borderline in trouble with this issue. My count is averaging about 150 a day, which could be worse, from what I’m reading, but still is no good.

    I’m a situation where even with laptop mode disabled and the a/c plugged in I’m still racking up big numbers (over 3000 on a drive that’s only a few days shy of being just one month old). My count only goes up if I leave me computer idle for a few minutes. If I’m actively using it, and check it regularly it doesn’t increase. If I leave it idle for ten minutes or so the count ups anywhere from 20 to 60 (I spent a couple evenings logging my count every a regular intervals and after different kinds of behavior.

    Anyhow, I decided to try to ugly fix. Solved my problem. However, I went to play around with apm number for when I’m on battery power.
    I got not results. It continued to just never spin down. For the moment at least, I’d rather take my chances with all the parking than with potentially jostling my drive to death or overheating it so I’ve removed the fix, and I’m back to my starting point.

    I’m wondering though, is the fact that idleness was required to my count to start rocketing unusual?
    Also, any ideas on why adjusting my number for the battery mode was non-responsive (it seems I got all or nothing). I even went down to 128 and could not get another park out of the thing unless I rebooted it.

    If I could only adjust battery mode I’d be doing pretty well I think.
    Anyone have any ideas?

    Comment by Broderick — November 14, 2007 @ 6:34 am

  35. To Broderick :

    When you actively use your harddrive your harddrive won’t park so your Load_Cycle_Count won’t increase.

    When laptop-mode is disabled and you set apm to 128 and you are idling then your Load_Cycle_Count should go up. Try not touching your laptop (“idling”) for twenty minutes and query for the Load_Cycle_Count before and after. (querying for the Load_Cycle_Count might affect your Load_Cycle_Count if you do it too often so better don’t don’t do it too often)

    Look up how many Load_Cycle_Counts your harddrive can handle (most harddrives can handle 600.000 Load_Cycles but be sure to look it up). Calculate the average difference in Load_Cycle_Count per day. Now calculate what your Load_Cycle_Count will be in three years of harddrive use to determine whether you need to apply the ugly fix.

    Read this :
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=591503

    Please use this support thread :
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=591503

    Comment by ubuntudemon — November 14, 2007 @ 2:14 pm

  36. […] způsobené častým spouštěným laptop-mode. Ale laptop-mode defaultně nainstalovaný není (link), proto chyba není v ubuntu. Pokud by mělo ubuntu nechat hlavičky parkovat často, musel by si […]

    Pingback by » Radek Hulán: "Linux fyzicky ničí notebookové disky" disposed.xf.cz: blog Vojtěcha Havla — November 28, 2007 @ 9:12 pm

  37. hi. i would like to know, how is normal?????? my out put is
    193 Load_Cycle_Count 0x0012 096 096 000 Old_age Always – 48918

    it didnt change in hours. and change when reboot or when i turn on the laptop.

    Comment by d11 — November 28, 2007 @ 10:05 pm

  38. to d11 :

    It’s not possible to say anything unless you tell how old your harddrive is. Please look up the specification for your maximum Load_Cycle_Count at the website of your harddisk manufacturer. Test whether your Load_Cycle_Count behaves as a regular counter (increments by one) and calculate whether your harddrive will remain within it’s maximum Load_Cycle_Count after three years of usage. Or make a rough calculation whether your WORST (currently 96) will be around 0 after three years of usage.

    Please read this and the stuff the links point to :
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=3733762&postcount=1

    Please go here for support :
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=591503

    Comment by ubuntudemon — November 29, 2007 @ 10:27 am

  39. […] způsobené častým spouštěným laptop-mode. Ale laptop-mode defaultně nainstalovaný není (link), proto chyba není v ubuntu. Pokud by mělo ubuntu nechat hlavičky parkovat často, musel by si […]

    Pingback by Radek Hulán: "Linux fyzicky ničí notebookové disky" | disposed — December 1, 2007 @ 11:34 am

  40. I’m about to install Gutsy in a brand new Toshiba U300 laptop. My questions are:
    1) What does the -B value mean (apart from extremes 1 or 254-255)??? is it a flag array? Is there documentation?
    2) Do the -S and -B hdparm switches conclude all potential properties of the APM on the drive? Is there anything else in hdparm or the kernel, or other related programs to see?
    I consider disabling the APM not a solution, so I want to experiment on this thing (knowing potential causes), so to come up with optimal values and submit them. But I want to know what is going on with the things I play with….

    Comment by dlymper — December 7, 2007 @ 10:24 am

  41. Oh! At last! I’ve solvwed it with your ugly fix. It works very well. I’m very pleased that you found that solution!

    You’re my hero!!

    I’ve got a blog: http://linuxparatodos.wordpress.com/
    in spanish for linux begginers. I’ve put that fix there saing that you’ve solved it.
    Thack’s you very much!!

    Sorry for my english, I’m spanish…

    Comment by excalibur1491 — December 7, 2007 @ 3:54 pm

  42. …It’s incredible….
    I have been reading at all Your 500000000000000000 posts and I didn’t understand how to fix the problem with the harddrive killer….
    I have been using Linux since 3 years, with other distro’s and I have never heard about this problem…
    Could You be a little more synthetic and direct in Your future posts, please?
    Just to help poor human beings that have some problems…………
    Thanks and regards
    Herger

    Comment by herger — December 28, 2007 @ 12:56 pm

  43. I’ve already fixed this in ubuntu, but when I started using it my cicle count was already high (664629451503, and my laptop is nearly two years!). Recently I had a problem with my hard drive before installing ubuntu (a bad sector) and had to format it. I was running Windows XP. My question is: Maybe it’s Windows fault? I’m running ubuntu since yesterday (yeah, I’m a newbie on this), so I don’t think that ubuntu could be the cause at all. I normally left the computer on for downloading movies by torrent. Maybe that’s why the cicle count is this high?

    Another question: Should I replace my drive. Now it looks like this:

    lun dic 31 14:15:48 PET 2007
    193 Load_Cycle_Count 0x0032 094 094 000 Old_age Always – 664629451503

    lun dic 31 14:30:23 PET 2007
    193 Load_Cycle_Count 0x0032 094 094 000 Old_age Always – 664663005937

    Comment by MG — December 31, 2007 @ 7:33 pm

  44. Hey, guys

    I have just started to run Debian on my laptop after about two or three years of Windows. I have heard of laptop-mode problem before, so I wanted to check it myself. When I ran smartctl, I coud not have believed my eyes. After those few years of Windows (mostly on AC power, only about 1/4 or 1/8 of this time on battery), it showed me over 500 000 load cycles. So i think, you have absolutely nothing to worry about, destroying HDD this way is IMHO just a FUD.

    Comment by Erbureth — February 4, 2008 @ 6:01 pm

  45. tutorial: repair hard disk

    http://tips-debian.blogspot.com/2008/04/repair-hard-disk.html

    Comment by daniel — April 5, 2008 @ 12:04 am

  46. Hi,

    ————————————–

    druss@druss-laptop:~$ sudo smartctl -H /dev/sda
    smartctl version 5.37 [i686-pc-linux-gnu] Copyright (C) 2002-6 Bruce Allen
    Home page is http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net/

    === START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
    SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED

    ————————————–
    druss@druss-laptop:~$ sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda | grep Load_Cycle_Count
    193 Load_Cycle_Count 0x0032 001 001 000 Old_age Always – 332814

    ————————————–

    … conclusion, please ?

    Comment by Druss — April 22, 2008 @ 10:45 am

  47. thank very post, good interesting information about laptop hardrive

    Comment by kent — May 13, 2008 @ 6:34 am

  48. Is this bugs still unfixed on 8.04. Is it safe now using 8.04 on laptop and not killing your new HDD?

    Comment by buntunian — May 13, 2008 @ 2:25 pm

  49. Just to let everyone know, I can verify this happens in many other distros too. Maybe we should start looking at hdparm for possible problems?

    Comment by Brian — May 17, 2008 @ 10:41 pm

  50. The parking and unparking is a real problem. Thanks for the info. I’ll disable laptop mode on my 5 year old Toshiba Portege 2210 running Hardy.

    Comment by Brisbane web designer — July 4, 2008 @ 6:00 am

  51. Thanks for the warning. I’ll investigate my installation.

    Comment by Australian Web Directory — August 13, 2008 @ 12:52 am

  52. How long should a hard drive last in hours? I’ve got a Toshiba notebook that has been running non-stop for about 3 years without fault.

    Comment by RSA online — September 20, 2008 @ 8:58 am

  53. Hi all,

    I have the same problem as Broderick. I did the ugly fix and now my cycling is not raising. But I want to protect my lap while on battery, so I adjusted (sudo gedit /etc/acpi/battery.d/99-hdd-spin-fix.sh)to 128. But the cycle is still not moving while on battery. Doing the ugly fix I have an issue, when I typed $sudo update-rc.d hdparm defaults it said file dont exist. So I copied hdparm from /sbin to /etc/init.d. Then everything else worked on the ugly fix but the battery cycling.
    Please Demon, what could it be?

    Comment by curinga — October 16, 2008 @ 8:46 pm


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