Linux and Seagate FreeAgent Drives

Posted by Christian Ashby on March 24, 2010

If you’ve bought a Seagate FreeAgent drive with a view to running it on Linux, be aware that it won’t necessarily work out-of-the-box.

The issue is that after about 1min of use the drive spins down and closes the USB connection, causing mounts to fail and the device to be unusable.

It turns out that the drives include some cunning/annoying (delete as applicable) power saving logic which only correctly works in Windows. The solution is to run the following command as root as soon as the drive is plugged in.

sdparm -clear STANDBY -6 /dev/sdX

If you use your drive regularly then you can make this command run whenever the drive is used, by editing the file /etc/udev/rules.d (you can create the file if it doesn’t exist) and adding the following line:

-c 'echo 1 > /sys/class/scsi_disk/%k/allow_restart'"