Very annoying head parking and spinning down of a Scorpio Blue

I recently bought a 640GB Scorpio Blue drive (WDC WD6400BEVT).

Unfortunately, it is parking it’s head after roughly 4-5 seconds of not being used, while also slowing (but not completely stopping) the rotation of the disks most of the time. I know that this is meant to save some power for portable systems, but I am using this as portable HDD, which will nearly always be used with desktops or laptop station, thus making these power savings pointless and very bothersome.

Why? Because some applications do freeze while they are trying to read or write additional resources from the disks. It is especially annyoing with games, as freezes of 3-5 seconds are unacceptable in multiplayer games… And with a idle timeout of merely 4-5 seconds, this happens VERY FREQUENTLY. Bottom line, with merely 533h of power on time (~2 days), the HDD parked its heads already 36028 times and the disk rotation state changed 3040 times! This is more than all of my six desktop WD HDDs combined, some of them having a power on time for over 3 years now.

So after investigating a bit, I discovered the following:

  • The HDD completely ignores the idle timeout setting, one can set using hdparm using the -S switch.
  • WDIDLE3 is being ignored, despite being set to 5mins instead of the original 4 seconds
  • Changing APM (Advanced Power Manager) from 96 to 254 or 255 (disabled) does fix this, but the setting gets lost after disconnecting/powering down the drive. There is no way to set this permanently.
  • AAM (Automatic Acoustic Management) doesn’t seem to matter. 128 or 254 doesn’t make a difference to me…
  • Both “keep_settings_over_reset” and “keep_features_over_reset” flags are not available on this drive
  • Might as well add, that the timeout specified by the OS (both on Linux and Windows) are also being ignored…

Until now, WD HDDs have always been great and very satisfying (bang for your buck), but this 4 second window is a joke! Not only will this “feature” degrade the overall lifespan of the drive, but it will also slow down everything on it… I doubt its even saving some power with this, since this frequent parking and spinning up takes also power…

I wonder if the 2.5 WD Black drives are just as awfully configured as these blue ones!

Does anyone know how to fix this?

Is there an alternative firmware that allows the usage of either WDIDLE3 or storing APM settings permanently?

We recommend to test this drive with Data Lifeguard Diagnostics.

The problem you have described was happening with some green drives in the past. Since this is not a green drive, it could have something to do with the power settings on the Bios/Computer.

Also, if the drive is been used in a PVR or enclosure the settings could be affected by the enclosure.

Check the following articles for more information:

How to test a drive for problems using Data Lifeguard Diagnostics for Windows

The S.M.A.R.T Attribute 193 Load/Unload counter keeps increasing on a SATA 2 hard drive

Installing a WD SATA, SAS, or PATA drive in an external USB/NAS enclosure or Personal Video Recorder

the external inclosure’s usb-sata controller doesn’t have the ATA set of setting any of these values, so i am using my laptop to change and set these various values.

The external inclosure itself is not causing the drive to spin down/park the head, but the HDD itself, as I have tested with my server grade RE3. So it is entirely the HDDs fault or more specifically, its firmware.

I do not see the need to download and install DLD, as smartctl and hdparm can provide me with even more options than the WD software. If you need something specific, just tell me and I will post it here, but for now, here’s the SMART of the disappointing HDD:

Model Family: Western Digital Scorpio Blue Serial ATA
Device Model: WDC WD6400BEVT-22A0RT0
Firmware Version: 01.01A01
User Capacity: 640,135,028,736 bytes [640 GB]
Sector Size: 512 bytes logical/physical
Rotation Rate: 5400 rpm
ATA Version is: ATA8-ACS (minor revision not indicated)
SATA Version is: SATA 2.6, 3.0 Gb/s
Local Time is: Wed Jun 26 13:15:47 2013 WEDT
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate 0x002f 200 200 051 Pre-fail Always - 0
  3 Spin_Up_Time 0x0027 186 151 021 Pre-fail Always - 1700
  4 Start_Stop_Count 0x0032 097 097 000 Old_age Always - 3076
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct 0x0033 200 200 140 Pre-fail Always - 0
  7 Seek_Error_Rate 0x002e 200 200 000 Old_age Always - 0
  9 Power_On_Hours 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 554
 10 Spin_Retry_Count 0x0032 100 100 051 Old_age Always - 0
 11 Calibration_Retry_Count 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count 0x0032 100 100 000 Old_age Always - 467
191 G-Sense_Error_Rate 0x0032 001 001 000 Old_age Always - 623
192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 0x0032 200 200 000 Old_age Always - 41
193 Load_Cycle_Count 0x0032 188 188 000 Old_age Always - 36112
194 Temperature_Celsius 0x0022 117 098 000 Old_age Always - 30
196 Reallocated_Event_Count 0x0032 200 200 000 Old_age Always - 0
197 Current_Pending_Sector 0x0032 200 200 000 Old_age Always - 0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable 0x0030 100 253 000 Old_age Offline - 0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count 0x0032 200 200 000 Old_age Always - 0
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate 0x0008 200 200 051 Old_age Offline - 0

Later today, I will entirely disable the WD specific idle time using WDIDLE3, but I highly doubt that this will change anything…

So is there a way to permanently fix this awful firmware?

if you cant disable with wdidle3 your problem will be solved… try 30 minutes first :slight_smile:

DavidSucesso wrote:

if you cant disable with wdidle3 your problem will be solved… try 30 minutes first :slight_smile:

I previously set it to 5mins (“WDIDLE3 is being ignored, despite being set to 5mins instead of the original 4 seconds”), but that didn’t do anything either. I plan to disable it next, but I believe the culprit to be the APM value of 96 (if i remember correctly).


I’m experiencing the same thing on a new WD7500BPVT I got a few days ago for my MacBook Pro. I’ve already accumulated almost 4000 LCCs and was looking to do something about it after hearing there’s a limit to how many LCCs a drive can last.

I’ve tried WDidle3 to lengthen the parking delay and disabling it altogether, but none of that has any effect. The parametre is reportedly saved to the drive but it is ignored.

I was really looking forward to using this drive since it’s a lot quieter than a 7200 rpm Seagate I used to have in place of this, but this annoyance is making me consider switching back to that…

yeah so i disabled wdidle altogether and the hdd still **bleep** with its 4 to 10 seconds waiting time till it parks its heads.

Overall, I rate the HDD as awful, since this headparking makes this hdd only worthwhile for the occassional document or maybe movies.

You will experience heavy noticeable horrbile lags with:

  • Games (online is UNPLAYABLE)
  • Music
  • larger applications (that don’t completely load/fit into RAM such as Creative or Office Suite)
  • Operating System itself (especially on Linux!!)

How to help yourself:

If the USB or SATA controller supports setting APM, set it to 254 or 255 every time on boot or wake.

If APM setting is unsupported, run a batch file (windows) or cron job (linux) to (over)write a single character to a file on that harddisk.

later option on will degrade the hdds performance and potentially also the life expectancy, but not as bad as this **bleep**ty head parking!

I have no idea why WD came to the conclusion that this hdd configuration is a good idea…

Please please PLEASE release a firmware update to fix this horrible configuration and make this a usable drive