Your harddisk shouldn’t spin-down/spin-up and/or park/unpark too much causing the mechanics of the harddrive to slowly detiorate. If this is happening you should see your Load_Cycle_Count increasing too fast.
The following things might cause aggressive power management :
- 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
There’s another part of this problem (one of the following might be true) :
- something wakes up the harddrive right after spinning down.
- something unparks the head right after your harddisk head is parked.
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 (on average more than 90 per day) then you might suffer 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).
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 slowly die when at a Load_Cycle_Count of 200.000 after 10 months of use (Feisty and a little bit of Gutsy).
IMHO this bug should get critical status because it’s killing people’s harddrives.
More information about this bug :