New WD30EFRX Red Drive Idle3 Timer Set to 8 Seconds (High LCC in NAS)

I just received a new WD30EFRX Red drive from Amazon this week.  Based on what I have read in some other forums I checked the Idle3 setting of the drive before I installed it and found that it was set to 8 seconds.  I went ahead and installed the drive in my ReadyNAS Ultra 4 NAS.  All seemed well, but over the 1st 24 hours I have seen the Load Cycle Count continuously growing.  It is up to 1200 in 24 hours.  At this rate the drive will reach the rated 600,000 value in less than 2 years.

Should I be concerned?

Should this Idle3 value have been set at 8 seconds from the factory?

I have seen that some Users have used the WDIDLE3 tool to change this setting, but I have also seen that WD does not have this tool on their recommended download list for this drive.

Any suggestions on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated.


WD drives are designed to reduce power consumption, in part by positioning the heads in a park position (unloading the heads) and turning off unnecessary electronics, resulting in substantial power savings. WD defines this mode as Idle 3.

Some utilities, operating systems, and applications, such as some implementations of Linux, for example, are not optimized for low power storage devices and can cause our drives to wake up at a higher rate than normal. This effectively negates the power-saving advantages of low-power drives, such as Western Digital’s WD Red, and artificially increases the number of load-unload cycles.

However, the increase in load/unload cycles for a typical desktop user are within design margins.

It’s “within design margins” to go past the S.M.A.R.T. warning threshold?

This would make sense to me if these drives were intended for a “typical desktop user” as you state below.  However, these drives are heavily marketed by WD for use in NAS devices that will be operating 24/7.  The problems with the low Idle3 timer settings in the WD Green drives are well documented and I am very surprised that you are stating this setting is expected and should be accepted as normal for these RED drives that are intended for use in a NAS.  As you state below, some applications are “not optimized for low power storage devices”, like when used in a NAS array that needs to be available 24/7.  Again, that is what WD states these drives are customized for.

I have seen several posts on the internet with other people have received this exact same drive from WD and when they examined the Idle3 setting it was turned off.  Others have found it turned on.  It seems to very from drive to drive and it is not clear why.

Given the rate that the LCC is increasing the WD rating of 600,000 will be exceeded in a very short time.  I understand that is just a nominal rating and the drive will not fail the moment it is exceeded, but it is a measuring stick that indicates the drive is being arbitrarily exercised for no reason and the useful life if being deminished.

It basically sounds to me like you are saying that WD Red drives are not suitable for use in any NAS application since the Idle3 timer is set by the factory at 8 seconds. 

Is that correct?


This will depend on application devices controlling disk behavior. This includes but is not limited to, wake up/sleep cycles, read/write cycles and speed, firmware interaction, component stress, heat/temperature ratios, reserved space, among other parameters. Added together and handled differently by different devices by different vendors will result in different results.

Western Digital has a list of currently tested 3rd party NAS devices certified to properly handle the WD Red line of NAS disk drives. This devices are recommended for optional performance. 

Western Digital lists this drive as being compatible with the ReadyNAS Ultra 2.

Netgear lists this drive as being compatible with the  Ultra 2, 2+, 4, 4+, 6, and 6+.

I am using it in an Ultra 4 which is basically a 4 bay version of the Ultra 2 that is on the WD compatability list.  I thought this would mean it would work OK.

It seems from your response that you agree that the drive is not being operated correctly in the Ultra 4 based on the high LCC count. 

Is there anything you could recommend that could be done to correct this problem?  I have seen the other users have utilized the WDIDLE3 tool to correct this, but since this drive is not listed as being OK with this tool I did not want to do that unless someone from WD verified it was OK to use.

Thanks for your feedback and help.

I have had a couple of email exchanges with WD Techical Support on this, the latest being today.  I asked them 3 questions and have posted their responses below.  Just as a reminder, my issue is a brand new WD30EFRX from Amazon that out of the box has the Idle3 timer set to 8 seconds.  When installed in my Ultra 4 it climbed to 1200 LCC’s in the 1st 24 hours.

Questions to WD Technical Support and their replies below
1.  Is there something wrong with this drive? At the current rate of head parking this drive will reach a count of somewhere in the 2-3 million cycles before the 3 year warranty period is reached. If WD really believes that the drives can survive this many parking cycles why do you only list 600,000 in your specification? Since this will be 4-5 times the specified value it does appear something is wrong with the drive.
(WD Response) Some utilities, operating systems, and applications, such as some implementations of Linux, for example, are not optimized for low power storage devices and can cause our drives to wake up at a higher rate than normal. This effectively negates the power-saving advantages of low-power drives, such as Western Digital’s WD Red, and artificially increases the number of load-unload cycles.
They also stated in another email that “To date, we have had no reported hard drive failures due to cycle and load times with any of our drives.”

2.  Should the Idle3 timer have been set to 8 seconds when I received it?  I have seen several other postings and test data/reviews on the internet where people state when they received their WD30EFRX the Idle3 timer was disabled?
(WD Response) - They did not answer this question

3.  Is there something I can do to reduce the LCC concern and increase the life of this drive if I am still concerned about it? I have seen several posts where people claim that using the WDIDLE3 tool works OK, but it is not listed as a drive for this tool on the WD web site. Is this tool OK to use or is there something else that can be done to change this operation?
(WD Response) - The WDIddle3 utility has not been designed for this particular product. However, we’ve seen cases where customers have used the tool with this internal drive and managed to set Idle3 to max time which effectively turns off load/unload power saving feature.   Please also find the link for the WDiddle3 utility which should allow you to set the WDiddle 3 for your needs.

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Note that this is version 1_05.  I have seen references to a version 2.0…, but have never been able to find a copy of it.  The link they sent me is for version 1_05 and it worked fine for me.

I have used the WDIDDLE3 (version 1_05) tool to set the Idle3 timer on my WD30EFRX to 300 seconds and so far I have only had a couple of LCC increases in a few days.  Although this is a pain to deal with, I still believe this is a good drive for the NAS application and have another drive on order.  It will be interesting to see if it also has the Idle3 timer set to 8 seconds when I receive it.  If it does I will also change it to 300 seconds.

I plan to let them close the ticket and just plan to use WDIDDLE3 on any future drives when needed.

I am curious if the LCC timer is set based on the model number of the drive.  For instance it appears that WD30EFRX-68AX9N0 does not have the parking issue yet WD30EFRX-68EUZN0 does have the parking issue.  The base model number are the same however the text after the dash is different.

I would really like someone from the WD staff to reply with what the different model numbers of the Red series drives truly indicate.

Mine is also an WD30EFRX-68EUZN0 and has the parking issue.

Well that blows that theory out of the water.  Any idea what the root cause is?  I have six 2TB Reds and none of them have the issue.  I bought them in two seperate batches and they have two different manufacturing dates but they all have the same model number.  I want to get my hands on the wdidle program for the Reds so I can both look at the drives I have now to just verify the timer is disabled and to have it avaialble when I do need to purchase another Red drive in the future.

I am counting my blessings right now that I was one of the lucky ones.

I just received my 2nd drive from Amazon.  It also came from the factory with the Idle3 timer set for 8 seconds.  I used the Wdidle3 tool to change it to 300 seconds and then ran an extended test using the WD Diagnostics Utility tool.  The drive tested fine.  For reference, both of these drives were WD part number:  WDC WD30EFRX-68EUZN0.  I have seen some indications on the web that this 8 second setting seems to be common to this particular part number and possibly not others.  Don’t know for sure.

Strange i didn’t know the REDS have the head parking behaviour. Must be something wrong.

This appears to be something WD is now doing with newer RED drives but no one out here seems to know if it’s certain drives made in one factory, specific to the models, or what the reason is.  All my 2TB Red drives had the timer disabled but now folks are complaining of the timer being set.  Since they market them as NAS drives I would think it pretty stupid to park the heads every 8 seconds but that is what is happening.  I wouldn’t park the heads until there was at least 30 minutes of inactivity but that is not an option.

Hey, I have the model number WD30EFRX-68EUZN0 and

4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       10
9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       536
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       1259

Does the Load Cycle count seem normal?

To be honest, I expected the LCC number to be really, really low since I didn’t see any reason for parking heads on a 24/7 fileserver. I bought 4 drives (and from the same batch… I know) and they now form a raidz2 zfs pool running on FreeBSD server and if there something I should do about this; Then obviously I can’t fix this with some DOS/Windows software.

Any chances of a firmware fix, Western Digital? What’s the proper way to inform them about this issue? After all, I bought these drives as they were marketed as suitable for NAS use.


The count does seem high to me.  See my post earlier in this thread with the responses from WD on this.  I would suggest you download the WDIDLE3 tool from WD and look at each drive to see what the IDLE3 timer is set to.  My guess is 8 seconds.  I was able to use the WDIDLE3 tool to set this to 300 seconds for my 2 drives with this exact same part number and since that time I have only seen the LCC increase by 1-2 counts per week.

Good luck.

If your LCC equals (or close to) Start_Stop_Count+Power_Off_Retract_Count then your timer is either off which is what we would expect from a NAS drive or your drive is so active it doesn’t have time to park.  If your LCC is vastly greater then the timer is set likely to 8 seconds.  If the value is under say a thousand greater (depends on how long the drive has been running)  then maybe your system is parking the head, not the hard drive timer.

If you post items 4, 9, 192, and 193 I could give you a sound opinion although you have 536 hours on the drive with only 1259 parking cycles, not 20,000 so I highly suspect the timer is disabled which is typically desirable in a running NAS.

I’m having the same LCC issue with two new WD30EFRX-68EUZN0 drives in a Netgear ReadyNAS 104 box. Freshly formatted and not yet used for data. Showing 442 LCC after 32 hrs total Power-On time. I also hear and see drive activity every 3-5 seconds, even though the drives are not even mapped yet.

I notice that the WD downloads page for this drive shows a link for “WD Red SMART load/Unload utility”. If you click the link, the link just goes away and nothing happens. Searching for this utility directly, I was able to find it ( It downloads as “wd5741.exe”, with a publish date of 12/20/2013. The “applicable drives” line just says “WD Red”

Has anyone used this utility yet? If so, what results?  Seems like a huge pain to do.  As I read the instructions, I will have to remove the drives from the NAS and install them directly in my PC in order to do the update. Don’t know if doing so will destroy the NAS format. So much for “NAS Ready” drives.

Thanks for sharing any experience.

I have not used these programs before, I was able to use the WDIDLE3.EXE to disable the timer on one of my RED drives but it was a risk.  I’m glad WD came out with a specific version for the RED series.

Yes, you will need to remove your drives from your NAS in order to do the upgrade.  I’d have any important data backed up first and make sure you place your drives back in where they came from (same location in the NAS) to prevent issues.

This application should only disable the timer if that is what you want.

Let us know how it goes and if you could post what happens when you type “wd5741.exe -?” that would be nice to know.

Could you also report the Firmware version after running that, since the WD instructions clearly state it’s a firmware upgrade. (And please report data loss if there’s any!)

All my drives now report Firmware Version: 80.00A80

I maybe could update mine easily, since I’m running nas4free from USB stick on a HP Microserver. So, all it _should_ take is to swap in an usb stick containing some bootable linux and that update and then a switch back.

EDIT: Just checked; Load Cycle Count on all the drives have grown by ~200 in approx. 24 hrs.

I would do it only on one drive at first to see what happened.  It may be a WD update but what the heck is changing?  The web page says it changes the timer but what does it change it to?

I think if you can get a USB version of Linux to run, you would be fine.  I like WDIDLE3 becasue it will run from DOS which is so easy to create.