Fix Western Digital Load Cycle Count Issue in Ubuntu Linux

hard-disk-platter

Many newer Western Digital hard drives have a new power saving feature called idle3. Unfortunately on Linux this does not work well and can cause excessive head parking depending on the default factory setting. Since this is a proprietary feature it cannot be modified with conventional tools like hdparm. There is a “wdidle3” tool but since it only runs on DOS it is not very convenient. Luckily there is a Linux application created just for this!

 

Install Tools

Update the package list.

apt-get update

 

Install smartmontools package.

apt-get install smartmontools

 

Install idle3-tools.

apt-get install idle3-tools

 

Modify idle3 values

Enable SMART on each hard drive with smartctl.

smartctl -s on /dev/sdb

 

Show all SMART information.

smartctl -a /dev/sdb

If Load_Cycle_Count value is over two thousand or so it is likely that the hard disk drive is affected by the Load Cycle Count issue.

 

Get the raw idle3 timer value.

idle3ctl -g /dev/sdb

Replace -g parameter with -g100 or -g103 to get the value in seconds as wdidle3 v1.00 or wdidle3 v1.03/v1.05 would display it respectively.

 

Set the raw idle3 timer.

idle3ctl -s 255 /dev/sdb

Valid -s values range from 1 to 255.

 

Disable idle3 timer completely.

idle3ctl -d /dev/sdb

 

Power off the system for the changes to take effect. A reboot will not work.

poweroff

 

Quick Reference

apt-get update
apt-get install smartmontools
apt-get install idle3-tools
sudo smartctl -s on /dev/sdb
idle3ctl -g /dev/sdb
idle3ctl -s 255 /dev/sdb
idle3ctl -d /dev/sdb
poweroff