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Latest version: quietHDD 1.5 Build# 250, 13. Dec. 2009


About:

Do you own a a a Netbook, Laptop or a Computer with an with a hard disk?
Well, then you perhaps noticed an annoying click sound that comes from time to time.

That's the reason I wrote quietHDD. A very small Windows application (~60 KBytes) that eliminates this sound. After some time spent on developing more and more useful functions were created, but it still is - and will ever be - a small utility to reduce noise.
quietHDD is the succsessor of eeeHDD. I noticed that more and more people using eeeHDD on non ASUS Laptops/Netbooks so I renamed
eeeHDD to quietHDD and added some more stuff like a user configurable GUI, AAM and so on.

Please keep in mind: This noisy sound occurs mostly on Seagate hard drives, but other manufactures are reported also.

Features:

  • Small (about 60KB)
  • Does not eat CPU time and uses a very small amout of RAM
  • Functional and responsive but powerfull, GUI and non-GUI usage possibe through command line interface
  • Modifies or disables the Advanced Power Management (APM) feature setting of the primary harddrive depending on powered and battery state
  • Modifies the  Automatic Acoustic Management (AAM) feature setting  of the primary harddrive depending on powered and battery state
  • Works with almost any modern PATA and SATA harddrive
  • Compatibility: Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 200x, Windows Vista


Some background:

The click sound is produced by the Seagate hard drive of my eeePC 1000H (Seagate ST9160827AS).
When idle, the drive wants to park the heads because the Advanced Power Management (APM) of the hard drive is activated by default every time the drive motor spins up after suspend. This APM park feature produces the really annoying sound.

Now, whenever the system starts, wakes up from suspend or hibernate the drives APM is activated. The click sound comes back again and again.

This little tool just sits in the sys-tray and will recognize when the system wakes up from suspend or hibernate and disable the drives APM feature. That's all.

Reference for the Seagate Momentus 5400.4 SATA 3Gb/s 160-GB Hard Drive:
http://www.seagate.com/ww/v/index.jsp?v … b=Features
http://www.seagate.com/staticfiles/supp … 68842a.pdf
http://www.seagate.com/docs/pdf/datashe … 5400_4.pdf


APM Feature:

  1. The APM feature value controls after which time the R/W head should be parked to avoid possible headcrashes when the hdd is idle.
  2. After the heads has been parked, it also controls after which time the hdd spins down when still idle. (i.e. the drive motor turns off)
NOTE: All MTBF and power consumption values are for the Seagate Momentus 2.5'' harddrive - other drives should be similar
The lower you set the APM value the more the hdd parks the heads and spins down.
Well, those both things seems to be a good thing. But unfortunately every hdd has a so called MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure)
For the hdd head parking it is ~600,000 and in the first week my eee counts ~10,000 loads/unloads!
SpinUp/SpinDown count MTBF is ~20,000
The other annoying thing is the noise that the head parking makes...

A APM Value below ~100  makes the head parking and spin down very often. MTBF would be reached quiet early. (I personally prefer 255 on AC and DC)
Parking the head does not really consume too much battery power so it should does make any difference.
But a spin up after a spin down consumes about 1.0 amps! While running the hdd just consumes from 0.75 to 2.0 watts. (See Reference above)


AAM Feature:

The AAM value controls how fast (or slow) the head should be moved over the drive disks. This is another source of noise.
You can notice less noise when using small values on heavy disk I/O
This feature does not consumes any less or more (measurable) power from battery. It just moves the head faster or slower.


Windows Power Settings:

Windows can control the hdd spin down too! In the Power settings control panel you'll find it the settings for controlling the harddisk power.
I would always recommend to use Windows Power saving feature since Windows knows best when all memory I/O buffers has been written to disk!
quietHDD does not modifies any Windows settings in any way except you choose the "Disable suspend" option.




Usage:



  • The topmost entry is just an info when hdd's APM/AAM was last modified.
  • Disable System Suspend is a switch to say Windows it should not enter any power saving mode. It's quite useful when you are downloading large files, running long calculations or doing any other things and you do not want Windows to enter powersaving mode.
  • Disable HD APM now just says the HDD to disable this feature. It will be also called automatically whenever Windows wakes up from syspend or hibernate

Command line options:


quiethdd.exe [/DEBUG] [/NOTRAY] [/APMVALUE:n] [/NOWARN]
  /DEBUG         Opens a console window for debug output
  /NOTRAY        Do not add systray icon. In this case quietHDD
                 can be terminated in the taskmanager only.
  /ACAPMVALUE:n  APM Value to set when running on AC Power
                 Valid values are in range between 1-255
                 Where 1 is the most active and 254 most inactive.
                 255 disables APM, 128 is factory default
                 Defaults to 255 when not explicit set.
  /DCAPMVALUE:n  APM Value to set when running on Battery power
                 Defaults to 255 when not explicit set.
  /ACAAMVALUE:n  AAM Value to set when running on AC Power
                 Valid values are in range between 128-254
                 Where 128 is most quiet and 254 fastest.
                 Defaults to 254 when not explicit set.
  /DCAAMVALUE:n  AAM Value to set when running on Battery power
                 Defaults to 255 when not explicit set.
  /SETAPM:n      Set the HDD APM level to this value and exit quietHDD
                 This option is useful to find out the best APM level for your
                 drive. Best to be used from console!
  /SETAAM:n      Set the HDD AAM level to this value and exit quietHDD
                 This option is useful to find out the best AAM level for your
                 drive.
  /NOWARN        Do not display a warning on APM values < 100


Installation notes:

Unzip to any folder.There are no dependencies
This application requires administration rights. Sorry there is no other way to access the drives internal registers. If you use the pre-installed Windows XP Home Edition, the user account already should have the necessary rights. If your account has restricted rights you should start this application via runas or surun (http://kay-bruns.de/wp/software/surun/)
Place the application quietHDD.exe anywhere on your system and create a shortcut in your account's autostart folder.


Legal:


This application is freeware

It comes as it is with absolute NO WARRANTY! Use it on your own risk! You have been warned.
It works on growing number of computers without any problems







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