Whichever OS you are running, be it MS Windows or Linux, your Hard Drive could be working itself to death by performing anywhere between 4 – 150 cycles every 15 minutes. Here is some information of how to test your machine for this hard drive life-shortening issue in Ubuntu Linux (Gutsy and Hardy), as well as MS Windows (Towards end of post):
(DISCLAIMER: Please note that you apply any of the following at your own risk! The poster is not in any way to be held responsible for the outcome!)
– TEST your machine:
INSTALL SMART MONITOR TOOLS – Disk management software…
you can either open Synaptic Package Manager (System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager) and search for or install the program (smartmontools) from there, or you can open a Terminal and copy/paste the following line:
sudo aptitude install smartmontools
ONCE INSTALLED RUN THIS COMMAND IN A TERMINAL – COPY THE WHOLE LINE AND PASTE IN A TERMINAL AND RUN IT AND IT WILL OUTPUT BOTH A LOADCYCLE COUNT AND TEMPERATURE FOR YOUR DISK
If your laptop disk is addressed as /dev/hda then change the above command to reflect that (to see if yours is hda or sda perform the command “sudo fdisk -l” and then look at output)
date; sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda | egrep '(Load_Cycle_Count|Temperature)'
MY OUTPUT AS AN EXAMPLE
193 Load_Cycle_Count 0x0012 083 083 000 Old_age Always - 171239
194 Temperature_Celsius 0x0002 137 137 000 Old_age Always - 40 (Lifetime Min/Max 11/54)
Notice the first line shows my load cycle count ( Look at last number )
And the second shows my temperature for my hard disk (40 degrees Cel.). Just write these both down on a piece of paper so we can refer back to them in a minute.
NOW — WAIT 15 MINUTES AND RUN THE COMMAND AGAIN
If in 15 minutes the load cycle count number listed in this commands output changes by more than 2-4 then it is probably too much for comfort. Move to applying the following fix…
(PLEASE NOTE: Setting the hdparm -B to the value of 255 will completely disable the hard drive head-parking feature which is desired if you use your laptop a lot on-the-go in potentially rough conditions. Hard Drive head-parking is a feature that allows the hard disk to park the head of the drive in a safe position when bumps or jolts are detected.)
1) make a file named “99-hdd-spin-fix.sh”. The important thing is starting with “99”.
2) make sure the file contains the following 2 lines (fix it if you have PATA HDD):
hdparm -B 255 /dev/sda
3) copy this file to 3 locations:
After reboot you can again test your machine using the above testing method and you will notice a major difference!
If you have any questions you can write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
For MS Windows Users:
Sourceforge (open source) has a Windows port of the utility that reports SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology System) data. LOAD_CYCLE_COUNT is Attribute 193.
The smartmontools don’t have a “pretty” GUI, but it is still point and click with results displayed in a CMD window. You want to look at the RAW count, which is the last column.
Download the Windows setup binary from the download page here: