safe way to standby sata hdd?

Eric Sandeen sandeen at
Thu Dec 17 15:28:09 UTC 2009

Michał Piotrowski wrote:
> 2009/12/16 Eric Sandeen <sandeen at>:
>> Michał Piotrowski wrote:
>>> Hi,
>>> I've got a home database/symfony env/etc../file server. It's based on
>>> Intel D945GCLF2D Atom board. I've got a two hard drives WD Green Power
>>> connected through Sata. First drive has / and /home filesystem, second
>>> has /home/samba4. On the first drive there are two directories
>>> /home/samba2 and /home/samba3 where I'm mounting ecryptfs.
>>> /home/samba4 is also crypted by default.
>>> I'm wondering if there is a safe way for such configuration to put
>>> second harddrive into sleep (or both drives) after some idle time?
>>> After some googling I've found some resolutions (haven't tested any of
>>> these yet):
>>> - hdparm -S
>> I use this for the data drive on my mythbox.  I just put this in my
>> /etc/rc.local -
>> # Spin down in 1 hours idle time
>> hdparm -S 240 /dev/sda
> Have you used this for a disk with your rootfs?

In the past I have, but lately getting the root to actually get idle
is just about impossible it seems.  I now have an ssd root and
don't bother.

>> (yeah, oddly, sda is not my boot drive) :)
>>> - sdparm --set=STANDBY
>>> - and laptop_tools
>>> I'm really not convinced that these methods are safe for my
>>> configuration. Anyone have tried this before?
>> Yep.  What kind of safety are you worried about?
> I know that ecryptfs is just fs stack on top of my ext3 partition, but
> still I care about data integrity.

Ok but what does that have to do with spinning down a disk? :)

>>  It should just work,
>> although you want a long enough idle time that you're not constantly
>> spinning the disk up and down.
> Actually /home/samba4 is not mounted all the time - I'm umountig this
> fs when I'm not using it. I'm wondering if there will be any problems
> with data integrity when I forgot to umount ecryptfs and disk will be
> stopped.

I don't think so.  Any access should just spin up the disk and carry on.


>> Is there any nice user-friendly frontend to set this?  It'd be nice
>> to expose more power management choices to the users (for anything
>> that can't be easily defaulted, that is).
>> -Eric
> Regards,
> Michal

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