Force Hard Drives to Sleep on Ubuntu 14.04

Activate Num-Lock at Boot on Ubuntu 14.04

One of the more important traits of a good home server is low power consumption. Hard drives can account for a big chunk if not the majority of power usage of a home server depending on the number of drives. Most hard drives can be put into sleep or stand-by mode to reduce power usage dramatically. Western Digital drives require a more forceful method which is where hd-idle tool comes into play. Hd-idle is a simple tool that can force both SATA and USB hard disk devices into stand-by mode.


Install hd-idle

Download latest hd-idle and unpack the archive.

tar xvzf hd-idle-1.05.tgz


Change current directory to that of the newly created hd-idle directory.

cd hd-idle


Compile the package.



Install the package.

sudo make install


Remove the downloaded archive and installation files.

sudo cd .. && rm hd-idle-1.05.tgz && rm -Rd hd-idle-1.05


Use hd-idle

Force the drives to sleep after 10 minutes.

hd-idle -t sda -i 600

Drives are specified with -t option followed by the device name or all devices with -a. Standby timer is set for the specified drives with -i option in seconds.


Open rc.local configuration file.

sudo nano /etc/rc.local


Add the hd-idle command to the file just before exit 0 line.

hd-idle -i 300

This will execute hd-idle command at boot time which will put drive to sleep after the specified period of time.