Laptop hard drive starts-stops all time

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Laptop hard drive starts-stops all time

Postby MoroccanMint on Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:12 pm

I have installed Mint 13 on a DELL Vostro 2520 laptop. Everything works fine (great I should say), except one problem. I have noticed that the hard drive stops and starts again quite often. I do something, like opening one program, then the hard disk seems to stop, until I do another thing, say, minimize a window, does it then stops again. This start-stop thing makes me worry about its life expectancy.

I also noticed this only happens when running the laptop on battery. When the power cord is plugged it works all fine.

I don't know what other information I could add about it.

Thank you.
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Re: Laptop hard drive starts-stops all time

Postby heavy metal on Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:55 pm

You should check if the option to spin down the hard disk when on battery is checked, maybe thats the reason of the delay, if you want to know the condition of your hard disk install these two programs "GSmartControl" and "Gnome-Disk-Utility (Palimpsest)".

P.S. Also check the condition of your battery, maybe it is going kaput and doesn't have the amount of power the hard disk needs!
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Re: Laptop hard drive starts-stops all time

Postby AlbertP on Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:04 pm

Many older laptops frequently power down the harddisk to save power (this has nothing to do with a bad battery). You can often change the settings using hdparm: http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/How_to_ma ... t_features
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Re: Laptop hard drive starts-stops all time

Postby MoroccanMint on Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:45 pm

Thank you both for your quick replies.

The laptop and its battery are not old at all. I bought it new one month ago. Also this is my first week in Linux, so excuse my inexperience. It seems the problem is what you mentioned, but I don't know how to fix it. I installed both, laptop-mode-tools and hdparm packages but I find no clue on how to use them.

I can see hdparm options from the Terminal, then I don't know which settings should I tweak, some of them read "DANGEROUS", which scares me a bit :lol:
Tried obtaining hard drive information -i and -I parameters, but it seems nothing happens.

Meanwhile, I'll use the laptop with power cord only, because the spin cycle is really aggressive.

Thank you again guys.
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Re: Laptop hard drive starts-stops all time

Postby DrHu on Sat Nov 24, 2012 3:18 pm

OK, but there is usually a power control application available which can be set to the taskbar or it is under the control panel for Linux : power
--if you can find that service (right-click taskbar and select item..), then you can set its properties to not spin down the hard drive or run in full power mode (don't shut down screen or save to RAM or hard drive: going asleep)
    Not using power saving modes is running the notebook as a desktop, which assumes always connected to a local (mains power plug..)
    --the purpose of the laptop mode controls is to save battery charge..

laptop mode controls/app..
http://www.ubuntugeek.com/laptop-mode-t ... stems.html
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Re: Laptop hard drive starts-stops all time

Postby MoroccanMint on Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:19 pm

Thank you, but the power app only shows what to do when the lid is closed or screen blackout time.

I have installed powertop package, which shows battery consumption. Under "Tunables" tab everything says good except "VM writeback timeout", which says "Bad".

i just changed in /etc/latptop-mode/laptop-mode.conf
Code: Select all
LM_BATT_HD_IDLE_TIMEOUT_SECONDS=20
to 300. I hope it works. Will report back.
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Re: Laptop hard drive starts-stops all time

Postby AlbertP on Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:13 pm

For hdparm not doing anything, you likely need to add "sudo" before the command to gain root permission.
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Re: Laptop hard drive starts-stops all time

Postby MoroccanMint on Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:41 am

I tried modifying the laptop-mode.conf but didn't work.

Now I used the terminal for "sudo hdparm -S 252". Going to report back the progress later.

Again, thank you very much.
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Re: Laptop hard drive starts-stops all time

Postby AlbertP on Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:00 am

In case you want a command to be run every time the computer boots, you can try putting it in /etc/rc.local:
Code: Select all
gksudo gedit /etc/rc.local

Please put the commands here without sudo, before the exit 0 line.
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Re: Laptop hard drive starts-stops all time

Postby MoroccanMint on Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:02 pm

Well, I see no difference after I do "sudo hdparm -S 252" or 255. Not even sure the parameters were changed, no confirmation or error messages, only a replay of the parameters.

As for laptop-mode-tools I don't think it is enabled at all. I modified laptop-mode.conf but nothing happens.

It is a pitty everything works so well in this laptop except this thing. Every single time the disc starts it makes a little noise, so I can't ignore it! I must fix it. :?

Thanks.

==
Edit: I plugged the cord, and the problem is gone; could it be that laptop-mode-tools is not configured properly? I must be doing something wrong... I'll look at it again later.
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