hdparm: excessive Load_Cycle_Count with some WD "Intelli-Park" HDDs

Bug #969165 reported by Colin Ian King on 2012-03-30
This bug affects 12 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
hdparm (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

On a Dell E5420 I noticed the HDD is constantly spinning up/down. The drive is a WDC2500BEVT-7 which is apparently a "green" WD HDD which has firmware magic called "Intelli-Park" to park the HDD to save power.. Apparently the default settings it parks the heads after 8 seconds of inactivity and with a lifetime of ~1,000,000 Load_Cycle_Counts we may see these drives fail sooner than expected.

I was easily able to get the HDD to bump the Load_Cycle_Count by at least ~4 in 60 seconds, which equates to ~700,000 in a year assuming we use the HDD for 8 hours a day. The lifetime is ~1,000,000 Load_Cycle_Counts, so this is a bit alarming to say the least. This happens even with hdparm -B 128 /dev/sda; I was under the impression that values > 127 *should* not permit spin down, but looks like this drive needs -B 255 for stop this. So I think we have a green drive that tries too hard and will end up shortening its life.

There is some discussion of this here:


And some explanation from WD about the issue here:


This may affect the following models:


Can we quirk on these drives to select a more appropriate default hdparm setting?

Changed in hdparm (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → Steve Langasek (vorlon)
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in hdparm (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Changed in hdparm (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → High
Steve Langasek (vorlon) on 2012-05-02
Changed in hdparm (Ubuntu):
assignee: Steve Langasek (vorlon) → Dmitrijs Ledkovs (dmitrij.ledkov)
Lukáš Chmela (lukaschmela) wrote :

I have a WD7500BPVT-22HXZT1 and the Load/unload cycle count in disk utility increased from 12,000 to 13,000 within about an hour on battery!

hdparm -B doesn't have any effect on the frequency of parking of disk heads up until 254 which completely prevents the heads from parking, nor hdparm -S has any effect on the delay between individual parkings (if it should have any).

The drive is a Western Digital Scorpio Blue.

Jasmine Hassan (jasmine-aura) wrote :

Confirmed on WD Scorpio Blue 1TB (WD10JPVT) drive that came with my newly-purchased Dell Inspiron 15R 5520 laptop, with:

# smartctl -A /dev/sda | grep ^193

I probably should've compared Load Cycle Count increase compared to Windows 7 (Dual booting with Linux Mint Debian Edition + UP5), but seeing how I accumulated about 3200 Load Cycles in a few tens of hours use which was predominately on AC power, I decided to disable it completely on the drive for now, by:

# apt-get install idle3-tools

# idle3ctl -d /dev/sda

# poweroff
(restart won't do. must power cycle drive for firmware change to take effect)

# idle3ctl -g /dev/sda
Idle3 timer is disabled


# smartctl -i /dev/sda
smartctl 5.41 2011-06-09 r3365 [x86_64-linux-3.2.0-3-amd64] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-11 by Bruce Allen, http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net

Device Model: WDC WD10JPVT-75A1YT0
Serial Number: xxxxxxxxxxxx
LU WWN Device Id: 5 0014ee 602770494
Firmware Version: 01.01A01
User Capacity: 1,000,204,886,016 bytes [1.00 TB]
Sector Sizes: 512 bytes logical, 4096 bytes physical
Device is: Not in smartctl database [for details use: -P showall]
ATA Version is: 8
ATA Standard is: Exact ATA specification draft version not indicated
Local Time is: Mon Sep 17 21:49:17 2012 EET
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

Jasmine Hassan (jasmine-aura) wrote :

Apparently there are many other affected Scorpio Blue drives out there, besides mine and Lukáš Chmela (lukaschmela) above, so it's definitely not only Scorpio Greens StupiPark'in.


Scorpio Blue WDC WD5000BEVT-22A0RT0 (FW 01.01A01),
Dell laptop (Ubuntu 10.04) vs. Acer Netbook (Ubuntu 11.04)
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2048880 (2012-09)

INSPIRON 15R & Toshiba (Ubuntu 11.10/12.04) vs. Acer Netbook
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1956333 (2012-04)

Scorpio Blue WD10JPVT , Ubuntu12.04 & Win7 err/probs prior to wdidle3 fix
Compaq Presario F739WM w/ NV MCP51,
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1971291 (2012-05)

Scorpio Blue WD5000BEVT-24A0RT0 , Ubuntu 11.04
Lenovo Ideapad B560
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1849893 (2011-09)

Jasmine Hassan (jasmine-aura) wrote :

Very Important Note: Do NOT confuse spin-down with head-parking (aka IntelliPark/SmartPark on Western Digital drives -- and not only greens)

Start_Stop_Count = disk spin-ups count
Load_Cycle_Count = r/w head unpark

Example: On my WD Scorpio Blue WD10JPVT (rated for 600,000 Load Cycles), which had idle3 in its firmware modified from default 8sec to 150sec (2.5min) using `idle3ctl` (apt-get install idle3-tools, or use WD's wdidle3 tool in DOS!), I'm parking at an acceptable rate with the default PM level of 128, when on battery, without spin-downs, just as I wanted.

# hdparm -I /dev/sda | grep Advanced
 Advanced power management level: 128
    * Advanced Power Management feature set

# hdparm -I /dev/sda | grep -i standby
 Standby timer values: spec'd by Standard, with device specific minimum

Therefore, it is my conclusion that there are only 2 options to stop the affected drives from parking themselves silly:

1. (Confirmed) On Western Digital Drives, increase idle3 timer in the drive's firmware from the default 8-sec to at least 120sec (2minutes), or 180sec (3minutes) to be safe.
2. (Untested) Disable the drive's APM altoghther, with -B 254. Per hdparm's manpage:
"The highest degree of power management is attained with a setting of 1, and the highest I/O performance with a setting of 254. A value of 255 tells hdparm to disable Advanced Power Management altogether on the drive (not all drives support disabling it, but most do)."

For more details on acceptable Load_Cycle_Count rates (which *should* be much higher than Start_Stop_Count rate), see:

On a relevant note, if you want spin-downs as well (-B 127 or lower), make sure to specify a sensible spin-down timeout (-S 36 at minimum -- 3 min), per this:

Obviously, if you don't want spin-downs and are content with -B 128 (or higher), there's no need to specify -S timeout. It has nothing to do with head-parking rate, AFAIK.

Kenan Gutić (kenan-gutic) wrote :

I'm having the same problem with my Seagate ATA Disk (ST750LM022 HN-M7) 750GB also with head parking.

Changed in hdparm (Ubuntu):
assignee: Dimitri John Ledkov (xnox) → nobody
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