How to Reduce Load Cycle Count

Written by mark david
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How to Reduce Load Cycle Count
The load cycle count increases every time the head is parked. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Laptop hard drives have power management features that are automatically set to maximise battery life. The hard drive's head is usually parked after a predetermined amount of idle time. This action results in a clicking noise and the "load cycle count" on the hard drive being incremented by one. In addition to the noise it makes, parking the head too often can result in hard drive failure sooner than expected. There is a utility called "hdparm" which can turn off this power management feature and possibly prolong the life of laptop hard drives.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Download and install the "hdparm-6.9-20070516.win32-setup.exe" file.

  2. 2

    Press the Windows key and "R" to open a "Run" dialogue box.

  3. 3

    Type "cmd" in the box and press "Enter" if you are running Windows XP. Press "Ctrl," "Alt," and "Enter" if you are running Windows Vista or Windows 7.

  4. 4

    Type "hdparm -B 255 /dev/hda" to turn off hard drive power management. This needs to be run every time your computer powers on.

Tips and warnings

  • Turn on hard drive power management by typing "hdparm -B 128 /dev/hda" or rebooting your computer.
  • Hard drives can be physically damaged if the computer is dropped while power management is turned off.

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