Is there a way to instruct the (Linux) kernel not to wake up a secondary hdd after a system sleep/wake-up cycle? I'm asking because in my laptop I have an SSD as a primary drive containing the system root and a secondary HDD where I keep a backup system and files I access sporadically. Since the laptop usually goes through many daily sleep/wake-up cycles (I mean Suspend to RAM, not hibernation) for many days, I would like to put the secondary HDD to sleep manually and instruct the kernel to keep it asleep across system sleep/wake-up cycles.

  • 1
    If you want to send your harddisk manually to sleep you can use hdparm -Y /dev/sdb. If you system accesses your disk it will automatically spin up again. You can also define this in /etc/hdparm.conf with /dev/disk/by-label/DATA4 { spindown_time = 180 } I recommend using labels for your disks as you can never rely on which disk is detected first by your system. be aware that you need a newer version of hdparm (mine is 9.43) to send disks with label to sleep.
    – syss
    Mar 4 '15 at 12:47

since you only use the secondary hdd for backup, I would suggest telling fstab not to mount the drive automatically and to make a backup script that mounts the drive, makes the backup and unmounts the drive again.

example of the fstab line with the noauto option:

/dev/sdb1 /media/backup ext4 user,noauto 0 0

bash script for the backup would than begin with mount /media/backup and end with umount /media/backup

  • This does not prevent the kernel from probing the disk upon boot.
    – Marc.2377
    Aug 4 '19 at 6:38
  • @Marc.2377 that's true, the bios will still brobe the disk.
    – switch87
    Oct 21 '21 at 8:11

I don't think that is possible. The drive is probed by the BIOS / UEFI upon boot, not just the kernel.

What I do, though, is instruct the system to put the drive in sleep mode right after the system boots. Check https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Hdparm#Putting_a_drive_to_sleep_directly_after_boot.

In my case I have:


Description="Ranolfi's script to sleep hard drives on boot"

ExecStart=/usr/bin/hdparm -q -S 120 -Y /dev/sdc


It makes no difference whether the drive or its partitions are mounted by fstab (or crypttab, for that matter) or not.

(Edit): Strictly speaking, it appears to be possible to get the kernel to ignore a disk by patching it. That won't prevent the drive from waking up, though - quite the opposite, the patch I linked to will prevent you from accessing the drive, you'll be unable to access your files even sporadically, and also unable to put the drive to sleep.

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