I am going to build a server for backups. I want to install the operating system on USB flash disk (a little space), and attach some hard disks for data (much more space needed). Because it is going to be backup, disks will run only once a day. So to save power I want disks to stop (spin off) while not used.

Do I need to buy some special disks for it, or is it enough to configure something in Ubuntu? I want to buy 2.5" disks, also because it is consuming less power.

  • Don't forget to put the CPU in a low power mode, too. Jul 13, 2009 at 14:25
  • Thanks for the advice. Can you tell how to do it?
    – amorfis
    Jul 21, 2009 at 13:50

2 Answers 2


You can use a linux command hdparm -S

man hdparm
-S : Set the standby (spindown) timeout for the drive. This value is used by the drive to determine how long to wait (with no disk activity) before turning off the spindle motor to save power...

Also look at this question:

What’s the effect of standby (spindown) mode on modern hard drives?

$ sudo hdparm -S 240 /dev/sda1

setting standby to 240 (20 minutes)

  • 1
    Addendum: Any value from 1 to 240 should work. The disk will go to standbye in a multiple of 5 seconds of that number. (-S240 is standby at 240*5 seconds == 1200 seconds == 20 minutes).
    – Hennes
    Mar 2, 2013 at 17:37

In Ubuntu it is sufficient to enter:

hdparm -S 240 /dev/yourdisk      # spinoff after 20 minutes

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .