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HDparm Service

Hard Drive Icon I purchased a Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD6400BEVT 640GB SATA hard drive and put it in my Thinkpad T400s’s CD rom tray (with an adapter of course). While I enjoyed the huge capacity of the hard drive, I was bothered by one annoying problem: the hard drive spinned down from time to time and I had to wait for it to spin up again when I tried to access it after a few minutes’ idle. I know this is a Windows feature (maybe hard drive feature?) to save power but personally I don’t care about the power saving. I want performance. So I decided to disable this power saving thing.

First I tried to set the “Turn off hard disk after …” to “Never” in the power settings. But it didn’t work. After a fair amount of search, I found a power management utility called “hdparm”. This is a utility ported from Linux to Windows. You can download it here: hdparm for Windows. Using the “hdparm” utility, I was able to disable the power management for the WD hard drive and put it in a constant spinning state. Accessing the hard drive is much faster and smoother.

Another useful blog post talked about creating a service for “hdparm” so that it runs automatically when Windows starts. It is very useful so take a look at it too.

As a side note, there is a similar utility called “hdapm” for you Mac OS users out there. “hdapm” can be found here.

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