Fixing strange hard disk noises with power management

Tux
My recently acquired Laptop made some strange noises several times a minute. With some help I was able to identify the hard disk power management as the source of the problem. This was easy to fix with some power management system scripts.

My recently bought new Laptophad had one problem: a strange noise bugged me. It came up several times a minute, even in idle mode. With some very helpful comments of some friendly readers (thanks Chris, Rui and Michael!) I was able to identify the hard disk as the main problem: the Load Cycle Count went up much too often per minute.

# smartctl -a /dev/sda | grep Load_Cycle_Count
/dev/sda: ST9160821AS: 37°C
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   099   099   000    Old_age   Always       -       2330
# smartctl -a /dev/sda | grep Load_Cycle_Count
/dev/sda: ST9160821AS: 37°C
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   099   099   000    Old_age   Always       -       2333
[...]

I went through the comments and through several bug reports and howtos to determine the best way to fix the issue: the fix should be easy, should work with suspend/resume and should be as native as possible, so should use the tools which are thought to be used for such cases.

The (for me) optimal solution was explained in the OpenSuse Wiki in the article “Disk Power Management”: a script is dropped at /etc/pm/config.d/disk which defines the parameters for the disk disk for the powersave mode and the normal mode. The explanation is easy to understand and does not use distribution-specific tools, so it should work on every distribution out there – it dead certainly work here at my Fedora machine.

The only question left now is if I should report my specific hard disk model anywhere to make sure that this problem is fixed automatically in the future.

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4 thoughts on “Fixing strange hard disk noises with power management

  1. Same problem on Ubuntu : I solved starting hdparm at boot with this hdparm.conf :


    /dev/sda {
    apm = 255
    spindown_time = 0 }

    So Disk Power Management is completely disabled , ’cause I can’t buy a new laptop HD every two years ;-)

    Basically SuSE script does the same ;-)

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