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FreeAgent Drives

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Jun. 6th, 2007 | 04:28 pm

We got some Seagate FreeAgent pro drives at work, and they have an annoying tendency to spin themselves down under linux, causing linux to give up on the drive and disconnect the device.

bbobbo on neweggs product review had a suggestion to fix this problem.

However I found that the sdparm command would fail if the drive was already idled.


# the drive reports something like this
$ sudo sdparm -a /dev/sde
    /dev/sde: Seagate   FreeAgent Pro  400A
Power condition mode page:
  IDLE        0  [cha: n, def:  0, sav:  0]
  STANDBY     1  [cha: y, def:  1, sav:  1]
  ICT         0  [cha: n, def:  0, sav:  0]
  SCT       9000  [cha: y, def:9000, sav:9000]
# when the drive was idled I got the following error message.
$ sudo sdparm --clear STANDBY -6 /dev/sde
    /dev/sde: Seagate   FreeAgent Pro  400A
change_mode_page: failed setting page: Power condition
# this appears to force the drive to start
$ sudo sdparm --command=start /dev/sde
# and now this command works
$ sudo sdparm --clear STANDBY -6 /dev/sde
$ sudo sdparm -a /dev/sde
    /dev/sde: Seagate   FreeAgent Pro  400A
Power condition mode page:
  IDLE        0  [cha: n, def:  0, sav:  0]
  STANDBY     0  [cha: n, def:  1, sav:  0]
  ICT         0  [cha: n, def:  0, sav:  0]
  SCT         0  [cha: n, def:9000, sav:  0]


update 2007 Dec 09: I've also used the drive with the eSATA connection, and in that case the linux kernel does appear to be able to restart the drive correctly.

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Comments {34}

Dilinger

How annoying

from: dilinger
date: Jun. 13th, 2007 03:11 pm (UTC)
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Wish I was more technical to help Diane. I assume you have already emailed the manufacture? Or are you trying to figure it out yourself?

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Diane Trout

Re: How annoying

from: alienghic
date: Jul. 12th, 2007 07:57 pm (UTC)
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Mostly I was just recording my answer, so someone searching with google can find a possible solution to their problem.

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Empty

Re: How annoying

from: theemptied
date: May. 30th, 2008 09:22 pm (UTC)
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To which end I'd like to thank you, Miss.

Heck, mines still shrink-wrapped on the counter- I've learned to pre-google ;)

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Thanks. That worked for me!

from: fptiangco
date: Aug. 1st, 2007 12:36 pm (UTC)
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Summary:
Fedora Core 5
Seagate Freeagent 320GB (as /dev/sdd)

Thanks for that! That worked for me. I thought that the drive is still active because i can list the directories. But it seems that it wasn't because I can't do:
sdparm --clear STANDBY -6 /dev/sdd
if I hadn't done:
sudo sdparm --command=start /dev/sdd
as you have suggested. Will wait and see if it won't spin down/become idle again.

Just found this link useful, if you don't have sdparm, you can get the rpm from a post in this link: http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showthread.php?t=155413.
Thanks again!

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Diane Trout

Re: Thanks. That worked for me!

from: alienghic
date: Aug. 7th, 2007 05:51 am (UTC)
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Thanks for the reply, I've just been putting these posts up on the off chance that someone'd find them with google.

The ls probably worked because I suspect the directory contents were still in linux's filesystem cache.

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Re: Thanks. That worked for me!

from: primadd
date: Dec. 9th, 2007 01:12 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for the info! This problem has been bugging me for a few days - thought the drive might die soon as it acted strangely.

Keep up the good work!

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(no subject)

from: quxi
date: Aug. 16th, 2007 12:25 am (UTC)
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i actually did find this through google, thanks for posting it. for reference, here bbobbo's post from newegg:

for the user who is using the drive on linux who couldn't find a solution for the spindown problem, here is the solution: make sure you have the sdparm package installed. as root, do :
# sdparm -al /dev/sdd /dev/sdd: Seagate FreeAgentDesktop 100D
Direct access device specific parameters: WP=0 DPOFUA=0
Power condition [po] mode page: IDLE 0 [cha: n, def: 0, sav: 0] Idle timer active
STANDBY 1 [cha: y, def: 1, sav: 1] Standby timer active
ICT 0 [cha: n, def: 0, sav: 0] Idle condition timer (100 ms)
SCT 9000 [cha: y, def:9000, sav:9000] Standby condition timer (100 ms)
# sdparm --clear STANDBY -6 /dev/sdd /dev/sdd: Seagate FreeAgentDesktop 100D
# sdparm -al /dev/sdd /dev/sdd: Seagate FreeAgentDesktop 100D Direct access device specific parameters: WP=0 DPOFUA=0
Power condition [po] mode page:
IDLE 0 [cha: n, def: 0, sav: 0] Idle timer active
STANDBY 0 [cha: n, def: 1, sav

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Ed Stafford

(no subject)

from: dysath
date: Oct. 19th, 2007 04:16 pm (UTC)
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W00t! Thanks.. was having problems with this all week. I like being in front of my computer, but not while Gentoo's compiling everything.

I bought the drive to use as a full Linux system that I could plug up to a box, boot off USB, and go. Except for the going to sleep thing, it works perfectly in that regard. Now I can fix it when I get home tonight and finally get to play!

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You saved me a lot of work.

from: pronnquist
date: Sep. 27th, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC)
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I googled this as well. Thank you , you saved me a lot of work.

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FreeAgent spindown problem

from: marosorio
date: Oct. 31st, 2007 11:16 am (UTC)
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It seems that the following link poses a better solution that may allow the linux kernel to take advantage of the standby feature of this kind of disks. Using udev, it is not that simple as written there to implement it, but one can try (the problem is that the device isn't created until you plug it, but rules can be implemented for udev to always create the device forcing auto-restart and only when a FreeAgent is plugged...but I haven't done it yet.)

http://www.nslu2-linux.org/wiki/FAQ/DealWithAutoSpinDownOnSeagateFreeAgent

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ptomblin_lj

Do you know...

from: ptomblin_lj
date: Nov. 1st, 2007 01:45 pm (UTC)
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...if this parameter is saved, or if I need to do it every time I re-attach the drive? (I'm planning to use the drive as one of the ones I backup to for a week then keep in my desk at work for a week.)

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Re: Do you know...

from: marosorio
date: Nov. 1st, 2007 10:55 pm (UTC)
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It depends on your linux distribution/linux installation. I use Gentoo with udev which creates/ deletes usb devices as the drive is plugged/unplugged. A rule can be written. for sure, for udev to echo 1 > /sys/class/scsi_disk/4:0:0:0/allow_restart (this is where the parameter appears in my case) . I confess I haven't done it yet because, for a long while, my FreeAgent will be attached to a Siemens Gigaset as a PVR for Digital TV recording (the tv-cartoons my children like the most are certainly more important than my system backups). Anyhow, the rule would be just to get the parameter set to 1 once the device is created and, without the rule, with dynamic devices, you should set it to 1 every time the drive is connected. On the other hand, if you decide to simply clear the STANDBY using sdparm loosing then that feature, there is no need to re-run sdparm even if you power the FreeAgent off. The change is saved in the usb-disk bios. You can revert the change getting the standby feature back by entering:
% sdparm -D --page=po -6 DEVICE (/dev/sdb is DEVICE in my case).

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Re: Do you know...

from: ewumnrr
date: Dec. 6th, 2007 07:57 am (UTC)
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shouldn't you use the --save option when reverting? I used:
sdparm --defaults --page=po -6 --save /dev/sdb
/M

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Re: Do you know...

from: rockclimber88
date: Dec. 9th, 2007 11:45 pm (UTC)
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will enabling allow_restart have a negative impact on my other scsi drives? (the most likely thing I can think of would be that it would waste power from my laptop battery running the internal drive all the time.

but then again, I don't know that much about udev.

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Diane Trout

Re: Do you know...

from: alienghic
date: Dec. 10th, 2007 12:40 am (UTC)
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As far as I can tell, at the parameter seems to be saved, though I haven't done extensive testing.

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ptomblin_lj

Re: Do you know...

from: ptomblin_lj
date: Dec. 10th, 2007 12:53 am (UTC)
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Yes, I've disconnected and reconnected the drive twice and it seems to be sticking.

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pooloftrees

(no subject)

from: pooloftrees
date: Dec. 9th, 2007 11:29 am (UTC)
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Just so you know, this post has been linked to by Engaget and slashdot - so expect a lot of traffic to this page over the next few hours/days...

P.S. - I haven't got one, but it's very useful to know...

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Fixed drive issue

from: kernelrahl
date: Dec. 9th, 2007 04:27 pm (UTC)
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I did the same type of thing with my drive when I was playing with backup solutions.

Please see my blog entry on the entire process. Ignore the backup stuff, it was my first pass at system backups. I have moved on since then to use some tools that do the job for me, but the drive fix is still required.

Scroll down to the "Beware sleeping drive" section.

http://cliffbenoist.com/blog/index.php?/archives/15-Ubuntu-Setting-up-automated-backups-to-external-hard-drive.html

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Sean

(no subject)

from: wxgeek
date: Dec. 9th, 2007 05:29 pm (UTC)
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Congrats; you've been slashdotted. :D

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Jon

Oh do enjoy.

from: thisonething
date: Dec. 10th, 2007 12:21 am (UTC)
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Lucky for you most people don't RTFA, so you shouldn't be too badly comment spammed :-)

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Diane Trout

Re: Do you know...

from: alienghic
date: Dec. 10th, 2007 12:31 am (UTC)
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I know I only read 5-10% of the original articles off of slashdot, and then given the people who follow there'll only be a small pecentage with LJ accounts, and then only a few percent of those will bother to actually leave a comment.

Though I right now I'm really wishing that LJ had integrated google analytics.

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Aaron

Re: Do you know...

from: sodabrew
date: Dec. 10th, 2007 02:05 am (UTC)
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That'd be kinda neat. Suggest it to the SUPer new overlords, perhaps!

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Randy J. Ray

(no subject)

from: rjray
date: Dec. 10th, 2007 03:14 am (UTC)
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Have you tried using the drives with the FireWire interfaces? Did they work at all? Did they still have the power-down problem?

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Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Dec. 10th, 2007 06:04 am (UTC)
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I didn't try firewire with linux, we mostly got the USB/eSATA versions, not the USB/Firewire/eSATA.

The Firewire version did seem to work correctly with OS X though

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FWIW

from: neal1138
date: Dec. 10th, 2007 03:44 am (UTC)
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Thanks very much for posting this Diane.

For what it's worth Western Digital My Book Premium external drives don't seem to have the spin down problem on Linux (at least on our old Red Hat systems). They work correctly out of the box using FireWire; haven't tried their USB ports. (In our experience FireWire 400 is somewhat faster than USB2 so we prefer it.)

We had originally tried Maxtor externals. The Maxtor "II" series worked fine with FireWire, but the Maxtor "III" series didn't--they exhibited the same problems you described. Since Seagate bought Maxtor, maybe the same technology is being used.

Thanks again for your post.

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Diane Trout

Re: FWIW

from: alienghic
date: Dec. 10th, 2007 06:08 am (UTC)
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Yes the first drive we used was one of the My Book drives, which did work fine. However at the time the max capacity of the My Book Drives was 500 MB, and we needed 750.

I wanted eSATA as I thought it'd be even faster than Firewire, the USB was mostly a backup for when we just needed quick access from on one of the systems that didn't have eSATA.

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Re: FWIW

from: neal1138
date: Jun. 5th, 2008 07:28 am (UTC)
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Hi Diane,

Wanted to post an update to my comment regarding Western Digital. We can no longer recommend them as we have had spontaneous failures of both My Book Premium 500G and My Book Home Edition 1T external FireWire drives, both under 1 year old.

The data on the drives was unrecoverable in both instances, even after we opened up the cases and attached the drives to internal SATA controller cards. Apparently we're not alone in experiencing this issue. Sure wish we had seen this post before purchasing:

http://www.tomrafteryit.net/western-digital-my-book-pro-edition-ii-sucks/

So we're back looking for alternative vendors with good Linux compatibility.

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aaron_maynard

Good Discussion

from: aaron_maynard
date: Dec. 10th, 2007 03:57 am (UTC)
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I'm one of those /. readers who read the endgadget article to this page. Nice to see someone else toss info out there for us to find as the sdparm reminded me there is another tool to check my SATA drives with.

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laurentfashion

Re: Good Discussion

from: laurentfashion
date: Jun. 27th, 2010 11:19 am (UTC)
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That's good.

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yokozar

(no subject)

from: yokozar
date: Mar. 7th, 2008 10:44 pm (UTC)
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Thank you, this was very helpful.

I would notice erratic behavior when the drive was idle and connected by USB. Sometimes ls would report a folder not found - other times it would show a folder,but then I couldn't show a subfolder. Sometimes I'd get input/output errors and nothing at all would even work.

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completing the circle...

from: bbobbo_o
date: Aug. 12th, 2008 08:18 pm (UTC)
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it's funny--i was just searching for something else about the freeagent drives today, and i ran across this post. i'm glad my original posts on newegg and fedoraforum helped out!

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Re: completing the circle...

from: neal1138
date: Aug. 12th, 2008 09:40 pm (UTC)
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Thanks bbobbo. Adding to your "completing the circle" comments...

After doing an evaluation of alternatives to our failed WD My Books, we settled on the Maxtor One Touch 4 Plus series. They spin up/down with no problems under Linux (even on old unmodificed RH8 kernels). They have a 5 year warranty (as opposed to 1 year on the My Books).

We've purchased four of the new Maxtor's already in capacities ranging up to 1TB. Another indication of firmware quality: they seem to come up normally if we pull the plug on a server to simulate a severe crash and force an unscheduled cold boot (WD's would mostly come up offline in that scenario requiring lots of manual power cycling to bring them back online.)

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laurentfashion

Re: completing the circle...

from: laurentfashion
date: Jun. 27th, 2010 11:18 am (UTC)
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Oh man, thank you for writing this.

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Freeagent rc.local suggestion

from: mellowbob
date: Jun. 22nd, 2010 02:11 am (UTC)
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I've been using a freeagent seagate 1Tb without problems ... but kept having to type the sdparm line manually. Got tired of that after about a year ... so added the following line to my rc.local. Note, you'll have to use the UUID from your drive (unless I happen to donate mine to you):

sdparm --clear STANDBY -6 /dev/`ls -l /dev/disk/by-uuid/ | grep 8dca643b-5736-4dab-a93e-e9a448966735 | cut -d" " -f10 | cut -d"/" -f3`

(Note, this is one long line!)

Of course, this is all one line. And now I know where to find my solution :)

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