Toshiba frequent HDD spin down / up problem


I recently bought a Toshiba Satellite 1110 laptop. Everything works well apart from the hard drive, which frequently spins down after only 30 seconds of inactivity regardless of the Power Management settings. After a short while the HDD must spin back up, which causes a 2 second pause in whatever I'm doing. This can get quite annoying especially when the pauses occur when typing or flicking through menus (not to mention playing DVDs). This can occur dozens of times a day.

All settings in PM are set to never switch off the HDD. I've tried uninstalling Toshiba's PM software and used WinXP Home's but this made no difference. It also makes no difference if the machine is clean from a fresh install from the recovery CDs, or running with Service Pack 1a and all the latest drivers and updates.

There are no PM settings in the BIOS.

The spin up/down problem is more likely to happen when running the machine on battery power, or after bringing it home and running it on AC while the battery is charging. Even after the battery is full the HDD will keep spinning down. The spin up/down problem occurs for 2 or 3 days but then the next day may be fine with no occurences. I can't pick a pattern to it.

Toshiba tech support and technicians in Australia first claimed the problem didn't exist (it doesn't always happen, therefore demonstrations are a bit difficult), and later when they did witness the problem they just installed a new BIOS (which was already on the laptop) and claimed to fix it. The problem reoccurred the next day at which time the Toshiba techs consulted each other and came back claiming that the frequent 30 second idle spinning up/down of the drive is _a standard feature on all Toshiba laptops_.

I was amazed by their explanation and rejected it outright. First they claim it's a fault, they try to pass it off as a normal occurence? Regardless of that there is no logic in spinning down the hard drive so frequently, especially when running on AC power.

I have been given the run-around for 3 weeks now and am getting tired of it.

Could the forum members please give their opinions regarding:

1) Do you think this is a hardware problem? I'm getting conflicting reports and Toshiba are denying everything in an attempt to prevent a refund

2) Is this frequent spin up/down problem found on other makes and brands of laptops?

Thank you very much,
4 answers Last reply
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  1. In fact it is. But as far as I know, it's only Toshiba hard drives that do this (well at least, only Toshibas in Dells anyway), but Dell released Toshiba Drive Firmware upgrade, Toshiba could've done the same. What make and model HDD is it?

    Who's General Failure and why's he reading my disk?
  2. Thank you for your post,

    The hard drive model is a TOSHIBA MK3018GAP, firmware rev M2.01 A.

    I have searched through some HP and Dell forums and only come across users having problems with a hard drive 'clicking' or 'gurgling' noise. I get this too but it's not annoying. I have tried installing the Intel Application Accelerator as someone suggested I could put Power Management into a 'maximum performance' mode to fix the problem but the Installer claims I have an incompatible chipset (Satellite 1110 is Intel based).

    Your post has been most helpful.
  3. Just a quick follow up to your last post...

    I couldn't install the Intel Application Accelerator v2.3 but 2.2.2 worked fine (apparently this is the last version that supports mobile chipsets. Why? Who knows...).

    The application accessed the hard drive's settings and I noticed the Advanced Power Management was set to "Minimum Power Consumption Without Standby". I changed it to "Maximum Performance" and am now testing the laptop to see whether I can make the HDD spin up/down frequently as before.

    If this solves the problem I will be VERY happy and notify Toshiba. They do not provide any software to change this setting, and I know of at least one person who got a refund on their laptop simply due to the spin up/down problem.

    Fingers crossed....
  4. Pleasure. I hope you find a solution. Toshiba ave always dissappointed me though... Good luck.

    Who's General Failure and why's he reading my disk?
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