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The full command I executed in a live CD:

sudo hdparm -n /dev/sda

What would be the effect of running the command without a parameter? Did the command change anything?

The hdparm man page says, about this option ('-n'):

Get or set the "ignore write errors" flag in the driver. Do NOT play with this without grokking the driver source code first.

It says it changes the "ignore write errors" flag in the 'driver'. Thus, would changes get reset on a reboot or does it affect the drive directly?

The program returned:

/dev/sda: HDIO_GET_NOWERR failed: Inappropriate ioctl for device.

What does this mean?

This appears like it is related (search: 'HDIO_GET_NOWERR').

This tells us '0' and '1' are possible values. I'm assuming it defaulted to '0' to 'get' a value instead of setting one. Am I correct? If so, how come the command failed?

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The command can either get or set the flag. When used without a parameter, it gets the flag, which you can see in the error message (HDIO_GET_NOWERR). So you haven’t changed anything.

The error message indicates that the device doesn’t support that particular flag anyway (either the driver, or the disk).

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