Spin Down and Manage Hard Drive Power on Raspberry Pi – sleep hdd hd-idle

This is an example how you to set the hard drive into a standby or hibernate mode after a defined time. This saves power and protects the hard drive in continuous or server use.


  1. As a first step we need to update the package lists of Raspbian. We further need to install hdparm.
    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get -y install hdparm
  2. To figure the name under which the hard drive is mounted in the system we need to use the following command. In this example, it is /dev/sda
    sudo fdisk -l

    raspberry pi hdd standy spin down- hd-idle

  3. We check the current power mode status. In case it returns the status unknown, it is impossible to set the hard drive to a standby mode. Your HDD does not support spin down/hd-idle.
    sudo hdparm -C /dev/sda


    “-C shows the current “Power-Mode-Status” of an IDE hard drive. The return value can have the following states:

    • “unknown” – The hard drive does not support the command
    • “active”/”idle” – Standard operation
    • “standby” – Low power mode, the hard drive does not spin or even sleeps completely

    The options -S, -y, -Y and -Z can be used to change the IDE power mode. wiki.debianforum.de

  4. We use the parameter -y to set the hard drive to the standby mode. The hard drive should now be completely quiet. The command sudo hdparm -C /dev/sda can be used to check if the hard drive is in standy mode. As soon as the hard drive is accessed it should start to spin again.
    sudo hdparm -y /dev/sda


  5. Now we need the UUID of the hard drive. Type the following command into the console and note the UUID of the hard drive.
    sudo blkid


  6. Open the hdparm config file with the text editor Nano.
    sudo nano /etc/hdparm.conf

    Replace yourUUID with the previously noted UUID and add the text shown below at the end of the file. Exit the Nano text editor afterwards with Strg+x (Win) ctrl+x (Mac) and confirm the changes with y or j (depending on your language settings).

    /dev/disk/by-uuid/yourUUID {
      spindown_time = 240


    The number behind spindown_time tells after what time the hard drive will be set to its standby mode. Choose the time not to short as a continuous start-up of the hard drive will harm its motor and mechanics.

    0 = Standy activated
    60 = 5Min (60*5Sec=300Sec=5Min)
    240 = 20Min (240*5Sec=1200Sec=20Min)
    From 240 the calcuation changes
    241 = 30Min (1*30Min)
    242 = 60Min (2*30Min)

  7. Now restart the system with the command shown below. After that the hard drive will automatically go into standby mode after the time you have set.
    sudo reboot

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