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repeated hard disk clicks when system idle

Logos

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#1
guys I don't know if any of you ever had the issue, or have heard of it: as far as I know, this problem only happens on laptops, and when the system is idle. That's a power management issue, most likely originated in the bios somewhere. the hard disk heads are being re-parked again and again. That's really upsetting and this is supposed to save energy. Hard disks have a limited (to about 600.000 IRRC) number of load cycles, and the issue is ridiculously making their life cycle shorter.

I first had the issue in Linux (clicks every ten seconds). There are may threads about it in Linux forums and I found that adding the line "hdparm -B 254 /dev/sda" in a file called rc.local (located @ /etc/rc.d/rc.local) would solve the problem, at least as long as the laptop is AC powered.

I had this same issue, but to a much lesser degree in Windows, so I didn't mind. But things have changed for some reasons, and now the clicks happen more and more often in Windows, and I don't like it. The thing is that the OS should override the BIOS to regulate this behavior, and even Windows doesn't seem to that very well. I even tried o switch from AHCI to IDE (before a reinstall of the OS) and nothing changed. So AHCI doesn't seem to be the culprit. But the issue does come from the BIOS: the clicks happen while I'm in it. Hard disk is not damaged, first it's almost new, and second, like I said, I don't have clicks anymore in Linux since I modified that file.

Now, I found a Win32 version of the Linux "hdparm" program, but it seems to require that UAC would be permanently deactivated to work. Even when granted admin rights, hdparm for Windows doesn't have any effect as long as UAC is on...I think; and anyway that's a program for Linux and I for one am surprised that Windows alone can't manage that.

I found tens of threads from people complaining about the same issue, always on laptops, also MAC laptops, others with Dell laptops. It seems to concern only systems with AHCI enabled sata controllers. Any comment or help on this would be appreciated ;)

ps: I have an ACER 5735Z laptop (bios updated to the latest)

edit: just an example of what can be found:
http://www.insanelymac.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=75418
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+bug/104535

edit: I should have added, any change in the power management settings (hard disk section) in Win7 has no impact on that. Also, forgot to say hard disk activity light is flashing very regularly when the system is idle.
 
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Logos

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#2
OK I just found that hdparm can actually work fine in Win7 when UAC is not set at maximum.

ps: hdparm was installed with UAC completely deactivated

edit: got the stupid clicks again, UAC or not :D
 
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Logos

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#3
Guys I don't want to insist - OK I do insist :D - I'd love to have some feed back about this ;) OK it's the Easter WE...so I'll be patient :)
 

Logos

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#4
look guys, I posted this about 5 days ago, and I'm pretty sure that someone @ TPU knows enough about hard disk power management and AHCI to bring me some useful info on the topic. This is an upsetting issue that affects many laptop users, so any sort of feedback would be appreciated.
 
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#5
Hate to say it but you may have to get a new hard drive.
Is there any time when the drive doesn't click or hasn't clicked?
 

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#6
Hate to say it but you may have to get a new hard drive.
Is there any time when the drive doesn't click or hasn't clicked?
yeah, when I acquired it a few weeks ago. Also, as I said in my first post in this thread, I could solve the issue in Linux, and that still works now. So I don't get those clicks at all in Linux, using a fix. I just don't find such fix for Windows. It's a power management issue, not a hard disk failure.
 
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Frick

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#7
I've had a couple of drives behaving like that, and it's always been a sign of a Dying Drive.

But then it's a pretty new laptop, right?

EDIT: SO it's not a dying drive.
 

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#8
yeah right, the laptop is about two months old. And I don't have that permanently in Windows either, just sometimes, and obviously only when the disk is idle.
 
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#9
Have you adjusted any power management options to see if you can get the clicks to subside?
 

Frick

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#10
You're using Windows 7? If it doesn't matter what you set the power management options to, could it be related to a bug?
 

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#11
You're using Windows 7? If it doesn't matter what you set the power management options to, could it be related to a bug?
oh sorry I really missed your post: yeah I'm on Win7. Could be that the power settings are bugged in the beta that's right. I've already thought about this. I'll know if that's the case when the RC is out pretty soon now ;)

Have you adjusted any power management options to see if you can get the clicks to subside?
yep, changes nothing.
 
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#12
Get the same thing recently started with my hard drive. Not sure what is the problem though - just sounds like it is always seeking - and always when it's idle.

I'm looking at buying a new hard drive, but if you find a solution i'd love to hear it.
 

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#13
Get the same thing recently started with my hard drive. Not sure what is the problem though - just sounds like it is always seeking - and always when it's idle.

I'm looking at buying a new hard drive, but if you find a solution i'd love to hear it.
no problem, if I do find something I'll let you know in this thread ;)
 

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#14
One thing I would do is perform manufacturers diagnostics on the drive. This will help you tell if it really is the drive.

Most manufacturers have bootable diagnostic iso images available on their websites.
 

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#15
One thing I would do is perform manufacturers diagnostics on the drive. This will help you tell if it really is the drive.

Most manufacturers have bootable diagnostic iso images available on their websites.
yeah I might try this, but as I said the clicks, after a software fix, don't happen at all in Linux (use to be awful, like every 10 seconds in Linux). I only have the issue in Windows now. It's a bios order I believe, that can be overridden by an operating system power management, as long as this power management works correctly, and that may be is not the case in the version of Windows I use at the moment (Win7).