Western Digital GreenPower Disks

By | 20 Aug 2012

Advanced Format

Advanced Format disks are optimized for 4kB sectors. To format them under Linux, use parted with -a minimal and unit type s (sectors). (see here)


WD GreenPower disks have some problems under Linux with their “head parking” feature parking the head every 8 seconds. This destroys the disk over a short time span.

More info:

Temporary fix

To fix this, you have to disable it or set it to a more reasonable timeout:

$ sudo hdparm -S 242 /dev/sdX

You have to repeat this after each boot, so you may want to add the line to your /etc/rc.local.

Permanent fix

To fix this permanently, you can compile the tool wdidle3. There’s a bootable ISO available for download at ngohq.com. For Linux, there’s idle3ctl from the idle3-tools.

You can display the current value with the following command:

$ sudo ./idle3ctl -g /dev/sdX
Idle3 timer set to 80 (0x50)

The value 80 means 8 seconds (default). From 1-128, the values mean 1/10th of a second, e.g. 128 would be 12.8 seconds. 129-254 are in 30 seconds steps. 129 is 30 seconds, 130 is 60 seconds, etc.

Set the desired value as follows:

$ sudo ./idle3ctl -s 158 /dev/sdX
Idle3 timer set to 158 (0x9e)
Please power cycle your drive off and on for the new setting to be taken into account. A reboot will not be enough!

Do as it says to enable the new setting.

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