Does Mint wear out hard drives prematurely?

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Does Mint wear out hard drives prematurely?

Postby runbei on Fri Nov 13, 2009 5:26 pm

This is an old issue in the Linux community, and I'm wondering if it has ever been resolved. I first heard a few years back that people were experiencing premature hard drive failures because of excessive hard-drive powering-on by Linux distros. I don't remember the details, but I believe it applied mainly or perhaps only to laptop drives.

I'm on a ThinkPad T43 and I'm concerned, because I do hear the hard drive spinning at times when I wouldn't expect to - e.g., when I'm simply browsing the Web, etc.

Does anyone know if this has been resolved, or is it still a concern? Please - no opinions. I'd really like a technically informed answer. Thanks.
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Re: Does Mint wear out hard drives prematurely?

Postby grimdestripador on Fri Nov 13, 2009 6:57 pm

simply browsing the Web
entails writing cookies, storing images, DNS resolutions being cached.

Also you can override this using hdparm:
Enable energy saving spindown after inactivity

hdparm -S 5 /dev/hda
hdparm -K 1 /dev/hda
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Re: Does Mint wear out hard drives prematurely?

Postby runbei on Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:15 pm

Thanks - that's great information. If I'm reading a Web page in Firefox and just scrolling slowly, with Thunderbird open in the background, should that cause HD activity? Just interested.
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Re: Does Mint wear out hard drives prematurely?

Postby grimdestripador on Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:34 pm

its hard to say, there are programs that can monitory what theads are using the harddisk. you can monitor them and see who's the culprit. Anyone remember the name?
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Re: Does Mint wear out hard drives prematurely?

Postby nebcanuck on Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:41 pm

I'm not sure about which program you're referring to, but I'd like to point out that under power management preferences, you can also enable "spin down hard disks when possible" under Gnome 2.28, which is the default DE of Mint 8, coming out shortly (the first RC was released here: http://www.linuxmint.com/blog/?p=1106). This would probably help with, and may be a direct response to the issue you're raising, although I can't say that for certain!
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Re: Does Mint wear out hard drives prematurely?

Postby DrHu on Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:49 pm

runbei wrote:This is an old issue in the Linux community, and I'm wondering if it has ever been resolved. I first heard a few years back that people were experiencing premature hard drive failures because of excessive hard-drive powering-on by Linux distros.

Power control on hard drive or noatime for mounts, which will not read data twice when updating files (don't get last time file was accessed..)

Probably from something like this discussion..
http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl ... 30/1742258
http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=44781

Disk operations are more of an issue with ssd (solid state drives) or flash drive types
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid-state_drive
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Re: Does Mint wear out hard drives prematurely?

Postby Verix on Sat Nov 14, 2009 11:07 pm

I hope the following links help:
http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=3675960&postcount=26
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/DanielHahler/Bug59695
I had this problem on my Inspiron 1501 (which I'm discovering is not Linux friendly) and it seems the workaround discussed fixed the issue, at least till now. Your laptop model is not listed in the 'Affected Hardware' section, the Thinkpad T42 is, but I'm not sure how exhaustive the list actually is. It's very obvious when the spin down frequency skyrockets, you would hear a weird whistle from your hard drive at times as much as every 3 minutes. They have a method to diagnose whether you have this problem in the wiki link.
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