Ultimate Boot CD with WDIDLE3 Util

One thing thats annoying at my selfmade nas is, that the harddisk drives keep park thier heads. Any recent hdds do this to save power, and some
systems even have motion detectors, that will park the head at forthcoming crashes, to prevent damage.
The manufacturer set this value very low. In my notebook, my hdd clicks every 2-5 seconds, if there is no disk usage.

As a matter of facts, you can see in detail here (below), that one of my drives already parked its head 11.040 times in 283hours. Since the hdd is designed to do about 300.000 parking processes, you would reach the
limit in a few months.

WD offers a tool (WDIDLE3.exe) to increase the idle value till the head parks, or you can completely disable it. The bad, this tool only works under dos.

Ultimate Boot CD (UBCD) is a set of systemtools for partitioning your harddisks, check mainmemory and get information about your system. It's also a FreeDos live disk.

So, I've made a custom iso image of the recent UBCD (v5.03) with the WDIDLE3 from WD included.

Disks reported to work (as written in the comments):
WD15EARS, WD20EARS, WD20EARX, WD30EZRX, WD10JPVT.

1. Update [06.01.2012]:
I've made a new image which is lighter and easier to use. Actually it is just a rip off of the current UBCD [v5.11] that only contains the FreeDOS image and the WDIDLE3 binary (Thanks for the comment!).

Download UBCD v511 with wdidle v1.05 (~15mb) [GPG sig]

 $ md5sum ubcd511-custom.iso 
ee7617c5ada3c5ae207af5da21e2f8fc  ubcd511-custom.iso



Usage:
To use it you just have to boot off the disc and navigate to
[HDD]->[Hard Disk Information & Management]->[WDIDLE3].
At the Prompt, enter:

# wdidle3.exe /d

This will disable all parking and the click noise on all attached WD drives on your system. Maybe you have to try wdidle3.exe /s300 if you don't have success with wdidle3.exe /d as mentioned in the comments. The tool worked with my greenpower WD15EARS, even if the homepage states, the drive won't be supported.

To exit the UCBD and reboot, enter:

-> Press F10
-> in the menu with 4 choices, pick "Exit".

Alternative, simply type:

# reboot



The syntax and options for the WDIDLE3.exe are:

WDILDE3 Version 1.05
Copyright (C) 2005-2009 Western Digital Corp.
Configure Idle3.


Syntax:
WDIDLE3 [/S[]] [/D] [/R] [/?]
where:
/S[] Set timer, units in seconds. Default=8.0 (8.0 seconds).
            Resolution is 0.1 seconds from 0.1 to 12.7 seconds.
            Resolution is 30 seconds from 30 seconds to 300 seconds.
            Note, times between 12.8 and 30 seconds will be set to 30 seconds.
/D          Disable timer.
/R          Report current timer.
/?          This help info.

A successful output looks like this:

WDILDE3 Version 1.05
Copyright (C) 2005-2009 Western Digital Corp.
Configure Idle3.
Model: WDC WD15EARS-00Z5B1
Serial: WD-WMAVU2721167
idle3 Timer is disabled.



More Information at:
Wdidle3.exe on WD Website
Ultimate Boot CD Website



Here, you see how it has worked with my disk:

S.M.A.R.T output:

before:

[root@neon /home/xen]# smartctl -a /dev/ada1
Device Model:     WDC WD15EARS-00Z5B1
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       283
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   197   197   000    Old_age   Always       -       11040

afterwards:

[root@neon /home/xen]# smartctl -a /dev/ada1
Device Model:     WDC WD15EARS-00Z5B1
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       296
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   197   197   000    Old_age   Always       -       11040


Screenshot:
Ultimate Boot CD with WDIdle3

Comments

Jean-Luc (not verified)
Wed, 29/12/2010 - 13:41

Thank you very much for this image. I had tried to create one myself following the customization instruction on the Ultimate Bood CD site but without success. This will be very useful :)

zab
Sat, 01/01/2011 - 07:51

You're Welcome. At least, my upload wasn't pointless now. I've added a checksum, and because of i've got a third WD EARS 1,5TB for my nas, i adjusted the steps a bit at the walkthrough. My memory wasn't perfectly accurate with the steps of hitting the keys ;)

Matt (not verified)
Wed, 09/02/2011 - 01:40

Thanks for this. Though when I get into Volkov Commander I'm having trouble finding wdidle3. It isn't under T: or any of the drives I have listed. Any idea what I may be doing wrong?

zab
Wed, 09/02/2011 - 21:17

I've no clue. I've just downloaded the image to verify that i haven't upped the wrong one ;)

All i can tell you, is, that the path to the wdilde3 file is 'ubcd/dosapps/WDIDLE3'. Maybe the DeviceLetters differ at your system, even if my understanding is, that T: stands for the Disc unter FreeDOS (see the screenshot for a working example):

Here, inside the ubcd503custom.iso, you'll find the file:

 xen@ wl600 /Volumes/UBCD503/ubcd/dosapps/WDIDLE3 501
 $ ls
wdidle3.exe

You can open and verify that it's really there with any image tool.
Sorry, that i couldn't help you more. :/

Matt (not verified)
Thu, 10/02/2011 - 02:37

Thanks for your help. I still don't know what my issue is, but I was able to get wdidle3 to work. My problem now is that I can run wdidle3 /r, but wdidle3 /d gives me an error about being write protected. Now it says this for a:\ which is my boot cd, but when I try to switch over to the hard drive letter before loading wdidle3 I can't because its on the cd. It is detected the hard drive fine though it seems.

Any thoughts? Sorry for all the questions, but this is the only place I've got any sort of feedback.

zab
Thu, 10/02/2011 - 05:42

No Problem, I'm happy to help.

You don't have to change to your hard disk, maybe it's better to leave it untouched, so that it is not mounted. i don't know, if there is any difference between an actually used device (mounted), or not. I don't think so anyways.

I've googled a bit, since that never happend to me, and found a link.

Here is a guy telling, that you can set the timer also with wdidle3.exe /s 300 to 300 second timeout. I guess, that will be more than enough. You can verify it with wdidle3.exe /r.

Quote:

 
6. Once in MS-DOS, type "wdidle3.exe" without the quotes and press enter. The
 wdidle3.exe utility should run. From there, you can use the following commands:

wdidle3.exe /r
-this will provide you info on the drive including the current timeout. Factory 
default is 8 seconds.

wdidle3.exe /s 300
-this will change the autopark timer to 300 seconds (5 minutes) which is the 
maximum allowed.

You can also do another wdidle3.exe /r after you make the change to see that 
the drive has accepted the new timer.

**DO NOT USE** the wdidle3.exe /d command. This turns the timer off however 
many people have reported that the drives eventually slow down to a crawl and/or 
generate errors using this command. The best is to change the timer to 300 seconds.

Once done, shut your PC off and repeat step-6 for each WD Green drive 4K drive. 

Matt (not verified)
Thu, 10/02/2011 - 15:10

It's not the command. Even "wdidle3 /s300" gives me the write protection error too. I'm wondering though if I follow the USB stick guidelines instead of CD that will help me deal with any problems.

zab
Thu, 10/02/2011 - 18:01

Ah, i didn't get that, sorry.

The only thing that occurs to me is, that some BIOSes, commonly in notebooks, have a write protection mode for locking the disk if the device is stolen/lost. That works over some mechanism in the hdd firmware.

Maybe you have some option there to turn it off?
Here is some more info.

You could also check for a jumper on the back of your disc, maybe there is something.

And as a general recommendation, copy and paste the whole error message into google, maybe that gives you some help. Thats, what i would do, after looking into the bios.

Mick (not verified)
Sun, 01/05/2011 - 19:17

Thank you!
Can I use this image for Western Digital WD5000AADS Caviar Green?

zab
Thu, 05/05/2011 - 01:23

hi!

Sorry for my late reply.
It should work with your device already (it does with most current WD hdds), and since WD didn't update the WDIDLE utility since Okt. 2010, i couldn't even do a new image.

Did you try this one?! I think it'll work, ..

Searinox (not verified)
Sun, 28/08/2011 - 17:14

Another AADS user here.

I was randomly playing around looking at drive parameters in SpeedFan out of boredom when I decided to click in-depth analisys on my WD6400AADS acquired 9 months ago. I was already used to a power-on hours warning since my computer runs around the clock hardly ever stopping but googled the Load Cycle Count just for the heck of it.

I was alarmed to find out about this known WD Green problem and how it meant the drive had used up little over 1/3 its rated parking wear in such a short time! It was already at 112000+ cycles out of the rated 300000 on the manufacturer's specs page. I immediately decided to act.

I downloaded the ISO you have provided here and after checking the tool's MD5 against the website's one and finding it uncorrupted on the DVD(can never be too sure and must exercise and proceed with maximum caution with this kind of thing) I then booted DOS.

My experience was a bit scarier. Upon running wdidle3 /r to check if the drive was indeed set to 8 seconds, DOS froze. But here's the thing - it froze AFTER the tool finished and the "Norton Commander-like" app tried re-loading, indicating that the tool itself had successfully finished running. I then restarted and did the actual /d switch, disabling the timer with success. DOS again froze.

I came back in Windows and everything was absolutely fine. During the time I took prepping for the write then reebooting, the drive's cycles went up to 116511, a full 4k in some 30 minutes! I am honestly spooked to see how quickly this thing was aging!

Thanks to the tool and your provided download package facilitating everything(I've not used DOS in a while, let alone Linux-based software) my cycles are now going up by exactly 0 unless I power on/off the machine(I had idle drive poweroff disabled for years now, I don't like hearing that spinup sound and waiting when I re-access an idle HDD).

I was scared since I have another 3 drives in the computer - a WD800JB(80GB), a 320GB model and a 160GB Maxtor - but the tool didn't damage anything. As I understand it the tool doesn't even touch IDE/ATA drives(which is what my 80GB and 160GB drives are).

I don't have to be worried about the head now crashing in the event of a power failure I hope right? My 320GB already had it idle3 timer disabled and never suffered from a power failure. And this is just "idle3" state timer, not a global setting for ALL head states, right?

zab
Mon, 29/08/2011 - 23:32

hiya mate!
That's strange, it never froze my system here. But as long as it worked, it should be okay.
If a harddisk's power is interrupted and the heads are still loaded, the heads still park without damaging the disk, called emergency unload. They can because of the momentum they have and the air pad under the heads. The manufacuters also have a minimum specification here that is usually around 20,000. But however, that would be no difference if your drive had the idle timer on or off, cause they don't matter in that case.

The SMART attributes lists a couple of information about the device. There is also a "Power-Cycle Count" (only lists power on/off state), which should now raise in common with your "Load-Cycle Count" (lists all states of the head, i.e. emergency off, idle off, ..).

Isildur1 (not verified)
Sun, 03/07/2011 - 13:51

that's just great mate, I had a lot of trouble to use it and I htought it might not be work with my WD20EARS, I made a big mistake, I clicked through the wdidle3.exe in volkov commander and started wdidle3.exe

then it came up with the message "the timer is set to 8 seconds", after that I tried to use "wdidle3.exe /d" and it didn't work, I later realised it was wrong and had to use it like you wrote in your descreption

thanks for all this m8
gl

greylion (not verified)
Wed, 12/10/2011 - 19:13

Just tried to use wdidle3 on a WD10EADS, with an AsRock AliveXFire-eSATA2 R3.0 motherboard (AMD 480X CrossFire chipset) and 240e CPU - locks up completely when trying to use wdidle3.
Luckily I had another PC, i945GC chipset, onboard graphics, Conroe 1.8 GHz.
Worked perfectly, set it to 300 seconds with wdidle3 /s300

Obviously there's something that can lock up wdidle3, but what?
Maybe SATA / IDE-emulation mode?
I think the default on the intel board is IDE-emulation mode, but I'm probably not going to play around with it.

I also have a WD10EACS which doesn't have the problem, never heard a click from it.
Why did WDC have to muck around with these drives, were they trying to fix something that isn't broken and made it worse?

Btw, thank for the iso; probably saved me a lot of time.

zab
Thu, 13/10/2011 - 09:05

hi!
No, your data remains untouched, it just alters the firmware of the drive.
I've added a link in the article to the Western Digital site where you'll find more information about it.

cyd (not verified)
Sun, 06/05/2012 - 15:26

hi zab. have you tried this on a scorpio blue laptop drive? my almost 1 week old laptop's hd load cycle count has gone up to 2961. >_<

zab
Sun, 06/05/2012 - 17:15

hi cyd!

Any message or output appeared after you've entered the command?
Someone here suggested to try

wdidle3.exe /s 300

instead of

wdidle3.exe /d

Maybe you give that a try?

cyd (not verified)
Sun, 06/05/2012 - 22:41

hi zab. i have successfully disabled the idle3 timer on my wd 500gb scorpio drive. i'll let you know if my load cycle count would go up in bunches again. as of the moment it is 3216. thanks a lot!

cyd (not verified)
Sun, 06/05/2012 - 23:04

hi zab. after i've tried the /d it went up in bunches again. i think the scorpio drives are meant for enabling the timer. so i set it up to /s 300. right now my lcc is 3245. will update you again. thanks.

vsaar (not verified)
Wed, 27/06/2012 - 22:44

Hi,

I bought a netbook which has WD Scorpio drive in it (WD1600BEVT). It made me crazy by clicking and spinning down and up after only few seconds of inactivity, making the system freeze for a moment all the time. I found wdidle3.exe and tried to disable that thing and it seemed to work, but after shutting down or returning from standby, the drive has lost that setting and is clicking and spinning down again! Any ideas of how to make the setting permanent?

anonymous (not verified)
Fri, 11/11/2011 - 03:15

There is no T: drive. There is no "ubcd" directory. Yes the wdidle3.exe program is in the ISO, but it doesn't help if it cannot be accessed from within FreeDOS. The ISO does not work.

zab
Sat, 12/11/2011 - 09:34

Don't you think your conclusion is a bit exaggerated, if not wrong? As you can see from all the other people here, it does work. Now, if it works at say 20 installations, and yours not, you come to the conclusion it does not work?! So, what math is that?

And also, if you can see from the other comments here, the device letters aren't always the same and change within installations. So maybe it is A: at your device or something, but it is easly to find out in the Volkov Commander. And as you stated right, the program is on the iso. Hence you start from it, it is accessible. So, what exactly is your problem?

anonymous (not verified)
Sat, 26/11/2011 - 16:19

Works just fine for me, you must be doing something wrong. Sorry.

Many thanks to the author though, worked a treat.

Michael (not verified)
Tue, 15/11/2011 - 02:09

Thanks a lot for this... I used your ISO of UBCD and it appears I was successful so far. (this machine is back up only for 30min) I have a WD20EARS-00MVWB0. It's been running about 6 months and has been fine until now but for the last couple of weeks, the parking click noise got louder and was driving me crazy.

"udisks --show-info /dev/sdb" shows that the drive parked its heads 157719 times in 6 months:
load-cycle-count 148|148| 0 n/a 157719 Old-age Online

For anyone reading... I used the directions above and chose option 5 "EMM386 (semi defensive)".

"wdidle3 /r" showed that the drive was set to park every 8 seconds. I tried "wdidle3 /s10000000000" after googling a bit. This produced only an error. I then did "wdidle3 /d" as above and got "timer disabled". The drive is quiet once again so far.

RagingLoon (not verified)
Sat, 03/12/2011 - 01:21

Thanks a ton for the iso! By the way, "wdidle3.exe /d" didn't work on my WD20EARS; although Idle3 claimed the timer was successfully disabled. However, "wdidle3.exe /s300" worked great.

Thanks again,
Chris

Dush (not verified)
Fri, 05/10/2012 - 19:43

I had a WD Green in my HP Microserver just operating as a data drive (no raid) and it had over 250k start/stops!

Mounted the iso on my HP Microserver's Remote Access Card and it worked perfectly to disable it. Btw there is no space between the s and the 300, so the correct syntax is s300.

GLaDOSDan (not verified)
Thu, 25/10/2012 - 17:18

Many thanks for this ISO, worked perfectly and saved me a lot of hassle.

g00b (not verified)
Fri, 02/11/2012 - 10:24

I did bcd, imgburn, tracked down my XP disc, emulation / no emulation, pulled out my hair. I could never get DOS with wdidle3 at the same time. Your ISO allowed me to save my sanity.

Thank you!

g00b (not verified)
Fri, 02/11/2012 - 10:28

On my AMD based E350 mobo, I have no idea why ... wdidle3 was in
Q:\USR\WDIDLE3

I had to run wdidle3.bat twice in Q:\MAIN

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

jpoa (not verified)
Wed, 14/11/2012 - 11:20

Thank you very much!

The image worked flawlessly, fixed 4 WD30EZRX in a jiffy.

BJN (not verified)
Wed, 19/12/2012 - 02:03

I really appreciate your effort and willingness to share. I set my green drives to 300 seconds.

Jaime (not verified)
Tue, 15/01/2013 - 21:03

Just bought a wd20earx, manufactured in november 2012
It reports 8 seconds when I type wdidle /r
Unbelievable!
I read another site and it says nothing about disabling it completely, but to leave it in 300 seconds
Which is best?
Thanks

Bill (not verified)
Sat, 26/01/2013 - 20:16

You get my vote for good citizen of the day. Saved me a ton of time...after I already wasted nearly 2 hours of frustrating image creation, boot disks, and wdidle failures.

EASY! THANK YOU!

Jan (not verified)
Fri, 29/03/2013 - 14:49

Vielen Dank!!
Hatte immer wieder LAGs in div Spielen, da die Platte in den Ruhezustand ging. Dank deiner Boot CD ist das nun Vergangenheit! :)
Works perfect with my WD10JPVT.

Thanks a lot!

Daniel (not verified)
Tue, 28/10/2014 - 03:45

Hi. I downloaded the iso linked on this page and burned it onto a CD, but it does not appear to have any of the applications on it, including wdidle3. When it boots, all I get is a command prompt. When i run the dir command, the only entries shown on the disk are

DRDOS
OAK
NR
WWBMU
README
DCONFIG
AUTODOS7

Am I missing a step or something?