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Best Practices for Hard Drives?


Ok, I'm definitely going to buy DrivePool when I get paid.  I'm still "on the fence" about Scanner.  I've completely uninstalled (and removed all previous settings) and reinstalled the correct version (via wssx file).  I've been letting it go through it's paces and seems to be working much smoother now.  In fact, it might just be my new processor I installed yesterday.  Anyway, I've noticed a lot of SMART warning popping up in my WHS Alerts about overheating.  I've ignored those issues for now because I've been doing a lot of "pooling" with to migrate my storage from WHS v1 to the new WHS 2011.  However, a couple of the Alerts have been specific to things like exceeding Load Cycle Count.  From the details, this is a report of how many "parks" it has done.  I've had a couple of these drives for a few years now, and I expect them to die eventually.  But it got me to thinking.  In the "Disk Control" area, I can configure different aspects of some of these drives.  I'm curious what the best practices would be for a WHS that does daily client backups and then runs on-demand for video file sharing.  I believe in WHS v1 I manually went through each drive's Windows Properties and configured them to use Quick Removal modes, and configured the power scheme to never power down the drives.  However, one of my drives is exceeding that recommended Load Cycle Count (most likely from power ups and suspends).  Is there a preferred method to configure my drives so they'll last longer?

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Well, I'm glad to hear it (about StableBit DrivePool).
For the temperature setting, you can increase it, or decrease the threshold, and this may help with the warnings:
(this is located in "Scanner settings", in the "Heat" tab.
As for the SMART data, the Load Cycle Count is a common issue.  As long as you're not seeing any other SMART errors or damaged sectors appearing, it may be safe to ignore the warnings.  However, if you're really concerned about them, you may be able to RMA them and get replacement drives (it's worth checking, because all it costs you is shipping, and time).
As for the power controls, I've found them less than helpful, as it really depends on the disks firmware.  
Things throttling the SMART queries may help (in the SMART tab in scanner setting):
These options will reduce the amount that the drives are queried and may help prevent rapid increases to the Load Cycle Count value.
Also, let me quote myself here:

  • “Load Cycle Count” – This is a value that we get asked about a lot and one that can rapidly increase. Specifically, this is the number of head parking cycles that the drive has performed. Parking the heads is a normal process of the drive, and helps prevent accidentally damage to the drive. This occurs when the drive idles. Depending on how this is configured on the drive, and how active the drive is, this can grow very slowly or can increase by 100 or more in a single hour. Western Digital Green drives are particularly notorious for being poorly configured and rapidly increasing the count.So this is a value that should be taken with a grain of salt. Watch it yourself, and if only slowly increases, then you may be able to trust that it’s accurate. And in that case, it may be a good indicator of age and usage. However, this value doesn’t necessarily indicate an issue. It’s much like the “Power on hours” or similar statistical information.

This is from my nice, long blog post here:


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Thanks for the information.  This is definitely happening on just one drive, and it IS a WD Green.  So I'm just going to ignore it.  I've only had it maybe a year, and it is already over 475k "parks".


Now I'm wondering if there is a way I can trigger a drive to spin down and not be active unless I'm wanting to use it.  In my case I have a 5-drive hotswap cage.  The fan on the back works great for 4 of the drives, but the last bay doesn't have any fan holes.  I was actually shocked to see this.  It's completely blocked by the backplane circuit board.  I've decided NOT to include this in the DrivePool, and have actually configured it to be used ONLY for server backups (I don't have an external drive).  Is there anyway I can configure this drive to spin down and maybe switch off except to maybe spin up 5 minutes before a backup?  I don't know if your software can do it, or if I need some other program.  I wouldn't want to universally have all my drives do that.

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Ah, then definitely not surprising then.  If you don't mind "flashing firmware", you may be able to run "WDIDLE3" to disable the head parking issue.  THis does write to the firmware, and as such carries the same risks as flashing the firmware. 


However, on the drives that can do this, it may help prevent the high LCC counts and may help with the drive's longevity.


As for the drives spinning down... .that's a complicated topic. 

Normally, Windows should do this (configurable in the power management options), but that is very dependant on the drive and the firmware.  And when a drive is accessed, it spins it back up.

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Use Western Digital's application WDIDLE3 to set the head park to "never".

NOTE, you are flashing the drive, and there's always a chance of something going wrong. Make sure you have backups.




I had some drives that Scanner was warning me about the heat on. Then I started getting warnings about other drives in the pool. Turns out the two original drives I was getting the warnings on were failing, and for whatever reason just before they died they started making my other drives overheat. I'd take it as a warning sign if you have a drive with a high load count overheating.

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