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IDE Harddisk Spindown

Posted on 1998-05-31
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
Hi!

Some time ago (like 2 years or so) i SOMEHOW set two of my IDE Harddisks to spin down ('sleep') after some minutes. Since this is kinda anyoing i now want to disbale this function. I didn't set it via the bios setup. I used some commands in MS Dos. At the moment I dont have a clue how i did it. I think i changed some settings directly on the hds i think.

Thank you for your help alot!!
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Question by:digithans
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Expert Comment

by:alexo
ID: 1135720
You did it by changing the BIOS data area (it is possible to do it with a program).
You can undo it by disabling power-management functions in the BIOS (or just the disk spindown in the power management menu).
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by:niges
ID: 1135721
Why did you reject that answer, it sounded feasible to me??????
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Expert Comment

by:tstaddon
ID: 1135722
If you had a program which modifies the BIOS, you could try shorting a jumper on the board to wipe the BIOS and reset it to the original settings.

Your program may have overwritten the boot sector of the hard disk with additional code, in which case I would get a clean boot disk, restart your machine from the floppy and type in

FDISK/MBR
SYS C:

(assuming you put FDISK and SYS onto the floppy form C:\DOS for Dos, or C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND for Windows 95).
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by:alexo
ID: 1135723
>> Why did you reject that answer, it sounded feasible to me??????
Why indeed?
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Author Comment

by:digithans
ID: 1135724
sorry... i didnt alter the BIOS. As i stated in my first posting. I changed some registers(???) DIRECTLY on my hds. I used one hd in another computer before and its still spinning down.
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Expert Comment

by:Thunder041398
ID: 1135725
If you did it from software as you say, then there must be a line in the config.sys that says something like this:

device=C:\dos\power.sys

just delete this line and all the power management features will be disabled.
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Expert Comment

by:busuka
ID: 1135726
Check http://thef-nym.sci.kun.nl/~pieterh/tools.html
It contains spin-control utilities for IDE HDDs.
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by:tstaddon
ID: 1135727
What EXACTLY did you do?

You must remember... was it a software installation? Did you play with DEBUG?

If it is at all software related my FDISK/SYS will probably work, but if not you might have to TOTALLY wipe the disk, remove all partitions and reformat it.
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Expert Comment

by:alexo
ID: 1135728
>> sorry... i didnt alter the BIOS.
Still, try the power saving settings in the BIOS.  What have you got to lose?

>> As i stated in my first posting. I changed some registers(???) DIRECTLY on my hds.
That sounds fishy.  HDs have no NVRAM so no programming change can survive a power-down.

Only things that can possiby affect HDs spindown are:
* BIOS settings (power saving/management).
* Drivers (including DOS TSRs).
* Jumpers on the drive.

Does the spindown happen if you boot from a DOS 6.x diskette containing no config/autoexec files and no viruses?

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by:busuka
ID: 1135729
alexo, this is NOT sounds fishy. Many HDDs has some kind of firmware
written on special cylinder, not accessible by formatter (except
low-level ;), so this "smart" program can tweak firmware code to
make HDD spin down time lower than was coded. Look at URL that I
provided.
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Expert Comment

by:alexo
ID: 1135730
>> Many HDDs has some kind of firmware written on special cylinder [...]
The firmware resides on an EPROM, not on the magnetic media.

>> Look at URL that provided.
Two kinds of programs: TSRs and apps that send ATA/ATAPI commands.  Neither can make persistent changes that will survive a power-down.
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Expert Comment

by:busuka
ID: 1135731
>> The firmware resides on an EPROM, not on the magnetic media
Not necessary. Much cheaper to dedicate cylinder on HD and not
put EPROM chips at all. I can't right now point you on sources, but
as far as I remember, this method was introduced by Western
Digital. Thus manufacturer can easily "flash" new firmware.
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Author Comment

by:digithans
ID: 1135732
I think i used the debug command to enable the spindown...
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by:busuka
ID: 1135733
"Curiosier and curiosier ..." - Alice
;)
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by:cumbo
ID: 1135734
digithans,

If you are using Windows 95 goto Control Panel and doubleclick on the Power icon. Uncheck both boxes. Click Yes. Reboot.

Cumbo
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by:alexo
ID: 1135735
>> I think i used the debug command to enable the spindown...
A debug script can easily change NVRAM entries by writing to ports 70h and 71h.

>> Not necessary. Much cheaper to dedicate cylinder on HD
Such that a bad sector on that cylinder will render the disk unusable?

>> and not put EPROM chips at all.
Something has to read read said cylinder.  Ergo, EPROM.

digithans, we may be idiots but humor us by trying our previous suggestions.  What have you got to lose?
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Author Comment

by:digithans
ID: 1135736
of course i tried to change the bios setup and stuff... But NOTHING worked. I could install a small TSR (hehehe.. when was the last time i used this term? TSR? :) which keeps the disks alive...
I guess i will replace the drives with a larger SCSI i think
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Accepted Solution

by:
theyak earned 100 total points
ID: 1135737
goto my comp  / control pan / power   and TURN OFF ALL power MGMT !
(ie: hdd spindown after xxx min) Windows will clip ALL HDD power if any
hdd is idle (silly thing) I use to have this problem too....no more
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Expert Comment

by:cumbo
ID: 1135738
How come theyak paraphrashed my rejected answer? Doesn't he/she
read the entire thread?

Cumbo
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Expert Comment

by:alexo
ID: 1135739
Better ask "how come digithans accepted the same answer he rejected previously?"
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