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  • Head parking

    Home Forums AskWoody support PC hardware Head parking

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      • #2371631
        AskWoody Plus

        I just got this warning from StableBit
        S.M.A.R.T. Warning on “BERNIE-10-PC”.
        One or more disks are suspect:

        • TOSHIBA External USB 3.0 USB Device – 1 warnings
          • The head of this hard drive has parked 600,001 times. After 600,000 parking cycles the drive may be in danger of developing problems. Drives normally park their head when they are powered down and activate their head when they are powered back up. Excessive head parking can be caused by overzealous power management settings either in the Operating System or in the hard drive’s firmware.

        I’m stunned .  I think the disk is about 7 yrs old, which’d mean nearly 100,000 “parks” a year.   Is that possible?  Does it make sense?   I certainly haven’t powered that drive down more than probably a few hundred times over its lifetime, so either that number is strange/bogus or something very very odd is happening to make it park its heads so often

        Is this likely an early warning of a real problem?  Should I just clone it and replace it and otherwise not worry about it?

      • #2371714
        AskWoody Lounger

        I certainly haven’t powered that drive down more than probably a few hundred times over its lifetime

        Does this mean that this external drive is ‘on’ whenever the computer is powered on? If so, could it be that the head is parked, probably after a short delay, after it is accessed? If so, the question is: how frequently is the drive addressed, and why/by what program or process?

        This [ ] is one hit from a Search for [ usb selective suspend setting ]. The last sentence of your quoted error warning may be hinting this.

        Others here on Woody have referenced products that can report extensive statistics on a drive. Perhaps one can track head parkings on an ongoing basis.

        • #2371716
          AskWoody Plus

          IT is a USB drive, so it is “powered” whenever my PC is powered and that’s, basically, 24/7.  I haven’t a clue what it means.   I don’t back up that drive and don’t use it much, so it is idle most of the time.

          Interesting — I was looking for some more info about head parking and ran across:

          i noticed that some hard drive(desktop ) like seagate and toshiba do continuously park their head/heads every x seconds

          There’s apprently “auto park mode” that can be tweaked… but I haven’t clue how.

          I can probably find a program that’ll mess with APM but I wonder if it is good or bad to turn it off.   I gather that the always-part is a feature for laptops [less battery use] but irrelevant for PCs.   On my NAS there’s a setting for that [6TB raid 1] where it winds down after some period of idleness.

      • #2371722

        Yeah, it would be a good idea to heed the warning.

        Yes it is normal these days for drive to park its own R/W heads that much because of “green energy” power saving programming methods, clone this drive to a new disk drive.

        The drive could be a rare one off that could handle much more head parking but parking the head frequently is destroying the mechanism. You are doing very well to get seven years of use out of this Toshiba drive.

        Yes it is very good to change the APM setting to performance mode, your drives will be less noisy and possibly last longer. There are utilities that maybe can control the APM setting of a USB drive QuietHDD or CrystalDiskInfo.

      • #2371733
        AskWoody Lounger

        I gather that the always-part is a feature for laptops [less battery use] but irrelevant for PCs.

        From the power/battery perspective, yes, it is a consideration. But, as you appear to be experiencing, it may NOT be irrelevant for PCs, or rather, for this PC peripheral.

        A question that you should consider – how much are you actually *using* the drive? If infrequently or ‘almost never’ (‘so it is idle most of the time’), then it is advisable not to have it running all the time: either disconnect the power (preferably), or pull the USB cable, either end. But if you have automatic backups scheduled, or some other regular use, then go to Control Panel > Power Options > [follow the how-to path in the link above] and change the ‘USB selective suspend setting’ to Disabled.

      • #2371727

        Same anon in post 2371722: Forgot to add that clause about the operating system is valid Windows power settings may contribute to early failure too, Apple was also mentioned some years ago, it can happen in Linux based systems, but usually it is the disk drive’s firmware.

        Also found this utility Drive Power Management program for you, and it looks similar to QuietHDD.

      • #2371788
        AskWoody Lounger

        IT is a USB drive, so it is “powered” whenever my PC is powered and that’s, basically, 24/7.

        Ummm, that is not what that means – unless you have changed the Power Options from the defaults to set your computer to NEVER go to sleep.

        Bill (AFE7Ret)
        Freedom isn't free!

      • #2372070
        AskWoody MVP

        The drive can enter a low power state without the PC being put into standby (sleep). Some “eco” type drives park the drive head after as little as 8 seconds of idle time (independent of the system power saving settings… this happens at the drive firmware level). As an external drive, I would not expect it to be accessed as often as the system drive (which Windows is constantly using for one thing or another). It could have something to do with the minutiae of how the USB SATA adapter communicates with the drive itself.

        600,000 drive parks over 7 years is ~235 per day. It’s very possible for that to happen.

        How many power-on hours does the drive have? It would be in the SMART readout somewhere.

        Group "L" (KDE Neon Linux 5.22.4 User Edition)

      • #2372089
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        That’s a lot of parks, but as long as nothing else is amiss (reallocated sectors etc) and you have a backup, I wouldn’t worry.

        cheers, Paul

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