[clug] Sleepy USB drive

David Schoen dave at lyte.id.au
Mon Aug 24 05:05:57 MDT 2009

Hi All,

I recently noticed (mainly because I'm temporarily living out of a
suitcase and have a PC setup in the same room I sleep in) that the
backup drive plugged in to my machine doesn't actually stop spinning
when the machine itself is put in to standby. Which of course results
in me physically turning it off, not turning it back on often enough
and thus not backing up.

What I've managed to figure out so far is that if I either let the
drive spin down after it's standard time out, or lower the spin down
time with "hdparm -S 1 /dev/goes/here" and put the machine in standby
the drive stays spun down... the first time. After restoring the
machine I can't make the drive spin down any more. Neither eject or
umount seem to help with sleeping.

It doesn't matter what sequence of nonsense I need to do to make it
work, as long as it doesn't involve physically turning the drive off,
because as soon as I do that I forget to turn it back on for days at a

Does anyone have any ideas what else I might be able to try?

I'm currently running Ubuntu 9.04.

Also before someone asks I have tried both -Y and -y options of hdparm
and although they make the drive spin down, it just goes ahead and
spins itself back up after a seemingly random amount of time or when
the machine is put in to standby.

In an ideal world I would just stick the UUID of my backup drive(s) in
a file somewhere and have the backup script locate whichever one is
connected, spin it up, mount it, backup to it, umount and forcefully
spin it down... but I just haven't managed to get the spin up/down
stuff working sanely :(


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