External drives on Arch Linux: shut them down

After basic installation of Arch Linux, when you unmount external drives (an hard disk or a USB key), they don’t shutdown completely, but they simple stop working, while disks continue to run.

archLinux_external_drives

If you are particularly finicky, and you would like to power off the device before to unplug it, you need to put in low-power your device. To do this, you have to install the hdparm package:

[email protected] ~ $ sudo pacman -S hdparm

This CLI tool is very simple to use (/dev/sdb1 is the path of my device):

[email protected] ~ $ sudo hdparm -C /dev/sdb1

to check the current IDE power mode status.

[email protected] ~ $ sudo hdparm -S 10 /dev/sdb1

to put the drive into idle (low-power) mode, and also set the standby (spindown) timeout for the drive.

[email protected] ~ $ sudo hdparm -Y /dev/sdb1

to force an IDE drive to immediately enter the low-power consumption standby.

However, write root password every time to run hdparm command might be uncomfortable. Thus, you have to digit in a terminal:

[email protected] ~ $ sudo nano /etc/sudoers

and add the command hdparm to the following line of script (at the end of the file):

your_username ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: usr/bin/hdparm

I use this trick with a lot of command as reboot, shutdown, wifi-menu.
But, if you are very very lazy, you might want to write less code as possible. So you can avoid to write sudo, creating the .bash_aliases file in your home. Following, I show you my .bash_aliases:

[email protected] ~ $ emacs -nw .bash_aliases

alias shutdown='sudo shutdown now'
alias reboot='sudo reboot'
alias wifi-menu='sudo wifi-menu'
alias yaourt='sudo yaourt'
alias wvdial='sudo wvdial'
alias hdparm='sudo hdparm'

To enable this configuration you have to load the changes to the .bash_aliases file as following:

[email protected] ~ $ source ~/.bash_aliases

To enable your aliases at start up, put the previous command in your .bashrc! GWH!!

About Francesco Serafin

I am a PhD student at the Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Trento. My two greatest loves: Computer Science and Water (take three with my Lenovo!:D). As a result, the aim of my life is to make both passions coexist. My gpg public key available at https://pgp.mit.edu

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