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hdsentinel prevents spin down

PostPosted: 2011.10.06. 07:06
by ron
In general should running hdsentinel 24/7 prevent any of my drives from spinning down? It seems to be doing just that.

Is there a parameter somewhere in all of the info that it can display that indicates the current spin state?

Re: hdsentinel prevents spin down

PostPosted: 2011.10.06. 07:28
by hdsentinel
Yes, this is normal.
Reading temperature and disk status values (like a disk read operation) resets the drive idle counter. So if Hard Disk Sentinel checks the status more frequently than your "HDD spin down timeout", then the drives never spin down.

Please open Configuration -> Advanced options, there you can adjust the detection frequency. Just drag the slider to right to enable less frequent detection (allowing the drives to spin down due to inactivity). Then Hard Disk Sentinel will not wake up the drives just to read their status.

Yes, on the "Information" page, there should be a "Power state: Active" field. This may be "Sleeping" when the software detects if the drive is not spinning.

Re: hdsentinel prevents spin down

PostPosted: 2011.10.07. 00:36
by ron
So if the drive is spun down or sleeping, Hard Disk Sentinel will not disturb/wake it?

Re: hdsentinel prevents spin down

PostPosted: 2011.10.07. 02:29
by ron
Well, this is sad.

1. Even when my drives have spun down, the program shows them as active. I know this to be true for an external drive.

2. I just observed my external drive spin up. I checked the temp graph and the time stamp was precisely when the drive spun up. Hence, with the drive idle, Hard Disk Sentinel caused the drive to wake up. This could be due to poor logic in the external case that causes the drive to spin up when any command is received.

3. The information tab appears to present static data. Under what conditions is this information updated? Should you be able to stare at it and watch the power state field change when it goes idle?

Re: hdsentinel prevents spin down

PostPosted: 2011.10.07. 04:12
by ron
Even worse, just like every other program I've tried that monitors SMART data, this one keeps all drives spinning 24/7 - very undesirable.

I set the hard drive spin down time in Windows to 5 minutes.

I listened as a few minutes later the external drive spun down.

I removed the external drive from the HDS main window. The hope here was that for drives HDS did not work well with I could tell it to COMPLETELY ignore them.

But, precisely at the 30 minute interval I had defined, the external drive spun back up. Checking the graph confirmed that HDS caused this.

Re: hdsentinel prevents spin down

PostPosted: 2011.10.07. 07:11
by hdsentinel

The more important would be to adjust the detection frequency in Hard Disk Sentinel: to configure to detect information less often than the spin down idle timer set in WIndows. If you set the idle time to 5 minutes, it is still possible that the drives can't spin down - as Hard Disk Sentinel also detects the information once per every 5 minutes by default.

Please note that some external hard disks have their own power management function which work completely independent from the Windows settings. Even worse, they always report that the drive is spinning (even if the drive is sleeping). This information may mislead the software and cause that it detects the status again (causing wake-up of the drive).

So please use Configuration -> Advanced options -> Detection Frequency adjustment (move the slider to right).

Can you please use Report -> Send test report to developer option? That way I can check the disk controller, the external drive and the information reported about the power state. You may even send different reports when the drives are spinning and/or when they're sleeping.

Re: hdsentinel prevents spin down

PostPosted: 2011.10.07. 18:46
by ron
To summarize what I said in the three posts.

1. HDS detection frequency was set to 30 minutes.
2. Windows hard drive power management was set to spin down after 5 minutes.
3. At the HDS 30 minute interval, the external drive spun up and the temp graph was updated.

Is there a way to define which drives HDS should completely ignore? If there was, I could exclude my external drives that do not work with HDS. I suspect you may be right in that they do not report their state correctly. So in the case above HDS 'thought' the drive was active and that's why it polled it for SMART data.

I'll note that on a different machine I did observe that an old external WD 'book' drive was not spinning but HDS showed the state as 'active'. On this particular machine, I had left HDS set to 5 minute intervals. So I waited for the next interval while watching the graph. At the next interval the graph updated but the drive did not spin up. So for this particular machine, the power state is inaccurate but at least the drive does not spin up when HDS polls for SMART data.

How does send report work? Specifically, will I be able to see what data is collected before I send it?

Re: hdsentinel prevents spin down

PostPosted: 2011.10.07. 18:59
by hdsentinel
Excuse me, I did not realise that you already configured the detection frequency to once per 30 minutes.

At the moment, it is not possible to specify hard disk(s) to be ignored completely.
Maybe if this is an external USB hard disk, you can try Configuration -> Disk Control -> Disable detection of USB and SCSI drives
This will disable detection of the status - but then you'll not have any kind of status information about the hard disk(s).

Yes, the issue with WD (My)book drives is well known.
Its USB bridge chip caches the last status and if the hard disk is sleeping (not spinning)
- it reports that the drive is still active (exactly as you see)
- when the software tries to detect status information (because of that), it reports the last known status.
This is not bad - but may still cause incorrect results (for example it reports the same high temperature even if the drive is cooling down due to sleeping state).

This is where the developer report can help lots: as there are different researches are in progress to surely detect the sleeping status of external / USB drives.

If you prefer to re-view the report, then please use Configuration -> Send test report -> Create test report and save it to file. You can review and send it manually later if you prefer.
I can make sure the reports are always treated as confidental, and never released for third parties, just used to improve the software.

Re: hdsentinel prevents spin down

PostPosted: 2011.10.09. 17:27
by ron
I'll send a test report via email. The one drive that will not spin down with HDS running is an eSata drive - disable detection of USB/SCSI didn't help.

Given the vast combination of devices in existence, you can't possibly support them all. Therefore you really need a way - even if it's a hack - to ignore specified disks.

Re: hdsentinel prevents spin down

PostPosted: 2011.10.09. 17:32
by hdsentinel
I see.
I thought it is an USB hard disk. I'll wait and check the status from the report.

Yes, for version 4.00 it is planned to add an option to completely ignore (do not update status) of specified disks (except that they will need to be detected on startup to know the proper disk configuration).

Re: hdsentinel prevents spin down

PostPosted: 2011.10.09. 18:23
by ron
Agreed, detected on startup is understandable.

Re: hdsentinel prevents spin down

PostPosted: 2011.10.09. 18:27
by hdsentinel
Thanks for the report and the information.

Now I see this eSATA drive is connected to a JMicron JMB36x controller.
The problem is that the driver of this controller is a bit outdated and may not work as expected.
Sometimes simply upgrading the driver to the latest possible (or to a version verified) can help
as it may work better.
Please check the Driver Zone ( ) for the recommended
newer driver for this controller.

If possible, please check it and let me know the results. New reports (after the update) always
helpful - as then I can compare the differences compared to the current situation.

If I can help somehow, please let me know.

Re: hdsentinel prevents spin down

PostPosted: 2011.10.10. 02:09
by ron
Ok, I updated the driver but every hour when the poll time elapses, HDS spins up the drive.

Given that this products primary function is to monitor HD temps, it's certainly disconcerting that in attempting to do this, it keeps all of my drives spinning - insuring they maintain peak temperature :x

You simply can't support every possible interface out there, so the lack of being able to specify drives to ignore is a significant omission in this software. Especially given that you've done so well in the overall functionality. I'm glad to hear though that this option will be available at some point.

I like this software and it's approach. I want to buy/use it. I just need to be able to prove that (at least on some drives) the software can work as expected. That is, monitor the drive and when it's not spinning, leave it alone. Without a significant amount of time invested on my behalf, it is very difficult to demonstrate that any of my drives are properly supported. It would be useful if some sort of logging were available that recorded poll activity. After a day or two I could examine this log and determine if HDS ever encountered any drives that were not spinning. Given the number of tasks and jobs I run around the clock, it's very likely that there's only a small window of time where any of the internal drives ever spin down.

Re: hdsentinel prevents spin down

PostPosted: 2011.10.27. 09:40
by hdsentinel
In the meantime, an updated version (3.70.6 beta) is released, which is available on the "Download" page.
That has advanced functions to detect power state of the different hard disks and work as expected (as your reports confirmed, on your configuration also).
Thanks for your attention and suggestions.

Re: hdsentinel prevents spin down

PostPosted: 2012.10.05. 04:36
by warriorfullights
This has been a good update. Thanks for working on this one.

Re: hdsentinel prevents spin down

PostPosted: 2013.10.27. 07:03
by Clocker
Is there any way to have HDS only poll my drives (waking them up from sleep) on a pre-defined schedule set by me? Every 12 hours is too frequent for me. I would like to have the drives checked every evening at 8:00PM for instance.

Re: hdsentinel prevents spin down

PostPosted: 2013.10.28. 09:16
by hdsentinel
Thanks for your question and the idea.
Currently no, it is not possible to configure the exact schedule (for example at 8:00PM) when the hard disk drive(s) to be accessed, just it is possible to set the frequency of the detection as you can see, but it may be added in a later version.

In general, the sleeping drives should remain sleeping - HDS does not wake up just to read their status, IF the hard disk controller driver (where the hard disks are connected) properly provides the actual power mode (when Hard Disk Sentinel displays that the drive is in sleeping status).

Re: hdsentinel prevents spin down

PostPosted: 2014.10.01. 14:26
by hdsentinel
Generally, this is a lower priority field.
Personally I feel it may not increase the usability too much, as currently it is possible to configure to update hard disk status once per every 12 hours (if it is preferred to update status less frequently).
Also if Hard Disk Sentinel detects that the hard disk drive is sleeping (if that provided by the hard disk controller/motherboard driver properly) then it does not wake up the drive just to detect and update hard disk status.

Because of the above, there were no improvements made in this field yet. May be available in a later version - if it may be useful for more users.

Re: hdsentinel prevents spin down

PostPosted: 2015.06.02. 04:37
by Morisato
I read of a myth that constant spin down/ups shortens the lifespan of said hdd. Is that any way true? Like turning on a light switch which drains more energy starting it back up than if you were to just leave it running. Think this was the case with some WD hdds though I can't recall as I remember reading this awhile back and I remember changing the sleep time/spin down of the hdd. Maybe it was the length of time it takes before the hdd spins down so as to not to spin down so often. Also, this can hamper hdd performance slightly since it needs to spin back up to do what you asked of it to do right?

Re: hdsentinel prevents spin down

PostPosted: 2015.06.02. 04:40
by Morisato
Arghh. Sucks I can't see the post I just posted prior to this to edit it but I found this quote:

"You can save energy by letting the disks spin down. If they are 7200rpm disks they will use 6-9W when idling, or 0.5W when spinned down.

But spinning down and up alot will wear the drive and potentially lower lifetime. The best would be to let a drive running all the time with good cooling; good not meaning excessive. If you put a fan on one side of the HDD it may decrease lifetime as there is a huge temperature difference in the HDD metal internally, causing expansion/contraction that will tear a drive apart. The best lifetime with HDD would be in a vibration-less environment where it is running with a constant temperature on all sides of the HDD.

Green drives running at ~5400rpm do not need to be spinned down; they will idle at 3.5W which is quite low already."