[Gutsy] [Feisty] [Edgy] Ubuntu may eat Hard Drives due to overly-aggressive APM

Bug #92288 reported by Brian Visel on 2007-03-14
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
hdparm (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

This is present in Feisty and Edgy, and may be present in Dapper.

I have three different systems (one without a hard drive now). I've gone through three different hard drives in three years. All of them have excessive parking in Ubuntu, and not in windows, but primarily run Ubuntu.

All of the hard drive failures had a regular clicking (sometimes as often as every five-six seconds, sometimes longer, f.e. if the system is in use.

I've discovered that this clicking sound is the hard drive parking. Often. I've also heard that this is bad for the hard drives, as they are rated for a certain number of parks in their lifetime.

If I use hdparm to set APM to a higher value, the clicking stops or lessens.

I've edited every document in /etc that has "hdparm" in it, and changed the values from, f.e., 1, to higher settings. However, upon reboot, the problem persists unless I set it manually. For now, I'm going to set up a cron job to change it every once in a while.

Is there a place I can change this more permanently?

also: is it possible to have default apm settings be a bit less aggressive?

If the reason it's parking and re-parking so often is due to small writes, perhaps an increased write buffer would help.. ..although maybe that wouldn't be a good idea, in the case of a system freeze..

Some help on this would be appreciated.

I see a large load_cycle_count on my machines too, not sure if it's related to this.

This should really be checked - breaking hardware isn't nice.

Mauro De Lucca (pcniatic) wrote :

I have the same problem with the clicking thing, as many others do too as you can see on the ubuntu forum: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=331418

marcelo (marcelo-espinoza) wrote :

I confirm the same problem in my Asus 8jc. I currently work around it by using "sudo hdparm -B 255 /dev/sda" but I am sure this should be addressed more properly. The danger of physical damage to a hard drive is real.

Martin Wilson (martinmwilson) wrote :

I can confirm this bug also. Worst of all, I'm using the Gutsy RC. I think one of the reasons this isn't reported very often is that its hard to tell its going on unless you're in a quiet room. For me, adding "sudo hdparm -B254 /dev/sda" to my rc.local made this excessive parking stop. Seriously, Ubuntu killing hard drives is not cool and will get bad press.

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