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Is Ubuntu damaging my laptop hard drive?

I have been using ubuntu since 6.06 and loving it. I recently bought a new laptop and have discovered a problem it and ubuntu. It has a Western digital 320GB hard drive model: WB3200BEVT-22ZCT0 and ubuntu causes the drive temperature to increase to dangerously high levels while plugged in and while in battery the load_cycle_count seems to increase drastically. This is an old problem and have reported to been fixed but it’s not at least with this WD hard drives. I have used Ubuntu 9.04 , 9.10 and 10.04 in this laptop and all seems to have the problem.

While the laptop is plugged in the temperature of  drive seems to steadily rise to 54 °C  even while the system is at idle and the load_cycle_count increase is fairly normal and while working on battery the temperature of drive steadily returns to normal around 44 °C and there is a high increase of load_cycle_count values. According to the drive manufacturer’s website the maximum temperature of the drive while operating is 60 °C in ubuntu it comes pretty close to that.

I dual-boot ubuntu with windows vista that came with my laptop. While in vista my hard drive is perfectly fine both while on AC and on battery. While in idle or with minimum drive usage the drive average temperature is around 45-47 °C and load_cycle_count increase is normal. This is the case for both on AC and on battery.

I have reported a bug about this in launchpad bug #52195. Several others have reported about this problem like in bug #399978 and the bug itself has a number of duplicates, all relating to WD hard drives and also asked if anyone experience the same problem in ubuntu forums and it seems clearly I’m not the only one facing this issue. There hasn’t been any activity in bugs reported and hence this post to get some developer attention and sincerely hoping that this issue would probably sorted out in the next edition of ubuntu, the Maverick Meerkat.

Update: This has not been solved yet and have tried various other debian based distributions and it seems to be present in all those distributions i tried till now.
Update: Finally my hard drive’s life has come to an end after three years as the drive’s SMART has started reporting failure warning. But i have a backup of all the data in my drive in case it fails today or tomorrow or maybe later. Heck, who cares i still use GNU/Linux(Linux Mint) as my main operating system.

  1. 6205
    July 6, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    If you love your new laptop, buy yourself a serious operating system like Windows 7…

  2. July 6, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    @6205 But I love my freedom more than my laptop

  3. July 6, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    You can set the idle timer in the hdd firmware. You can follow the instructions from http://translate.google.com/translate?js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=1&eotf=1&u=http://www.infotuga.com/%3Fp%3D609&sl=pt&tl=en

  4. July 6, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    @deepbluene The tool only supports WD1000FYPS-01ZKB0, WD7500AYPS-01ZKB0, WD7501AYPS-01ZKB0 drives and besides it could only solve load/unload cycle count problem only.

  5. dave
    July 6, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    I know it’s impractical of me to suggest, but I’d buy a better hard drive and be done with it.. .. use the 320gb in an external enclosure for backups. Sorry for suggesting nothing but “spend MORE money!” 😀

    • July 6, 2010 at 8:22 pm

      what about thousands of others who have the same type of hard disk

  6. July 7, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Do you use zfsfuse by any chance? Then forget your hard disk. It is gone.
    Otherwise, this seems to be a real issue with WD hard disks. I would recommend you turn off idle spin down. That might spoil hard disks at times.

  7. SolidSlash
    August 17, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Hey, have you had any progress on this? I’m also experiencing the very same issue and it basically makes me stick with Windows 7 all the time. Cheers.

  8. Ekin Akoglu
    September 27, 2010 at 12:33 am

    Try this:

    hdparm -B 192 /dev/sda

    If it works, you can make it permanent in /etc/init.d/acpid.

  9. jutt69
    November 9, 2010 at 8:26 am

    I too have this exact problem but with a seagate drive. Will try APM set to 192 and see if I get a happy mid ground between load cycle count and temperature.

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