pros/cons of putting hard disk(s) to sleep

Shane Hathaway shane at
Sun Dec 31 10:51:07 MST 2006

Wade Preston Shearer wrote:
> What is the opinion of those on the list of putting hard disk(s) to
> sleep when not in use? The obvious benefit is saving power, but I am
> more concerned about performance and longevity then I am saving a few
> volts. It is my understanding (and it makes sense to me) that leaving a
> workstation on (idling, of course) is much better for it than turning it
> on and off. Is this true for hard drives? Is it more wear and tear and
> on them to spin up and down then it is to spin constantly?
> I am thinking that the answer probably isn't black and white. For
> example, if you only access the hard drive once a week, then it's
> probably better to let it spin down. But, if you are accessing it every
> hour, then it seems like leaving it spinning makes more sense. Where is
> the tipping point? Thoughts?

Most hard drives are designed for no more than 50,000 spin-ups.  So if
you'll be sleeping the drive 10 times per day, you can reasonably expect
the drive to last 5-10 years.  If it sleeps 100 times per day, however,
you may only get a year out of the drive.

A standard Linux install likes to write to the disk often, so if you're
going to put the drive to sleep, turn on laptop mode (it's a fairly new
kernel feature) and turn off services that log stuff unnecessarily.

Oh, and use "smartctl" to monitor drive spin-ups.


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