pfSense firewall users might use “Power Savings” under System → Advanced → Miscellaneous, since the firewall typically runs 24/7/365. However, some systems cycle the HDD in and out of standby about once per minute or so, which causes premature HDD failure from excess load/unload spindown/spinup cycles. The load/unload may be audible for many hard drives, by hearing the spin up whirring sound.
In these cases, System → Advanced → Miscellaneous → Hardware Settings setting “Always On” may have no effect.
- Workaround A
- almost sure to work, by disabling power saving mode entirely. Understandably, some users don’t want their CPU running full speed all the time for heat generation and power consumption.
- Workaround B
- enable all of PowerD power savings while stopping HDD suspend (always on HDD).
Under System → Advanced → Miscellaneous, disable power savings completely by unchecking “PowerD”.
The pfSense master configuration file
config.xml can be edited to disable HDD spindown at each boot.
- backup pfSense configuration under Diagnostics → Backup
shellcmdpackage under System → Package Manager → Available Packages
- Determine which
/devname the HDD is under at Diagnostics → S.M.A.R.T. Status. Probably
/dev/ada0but verify it’s so.
Services → shellcmd → Add
Command Shellcmd Type Description
ataidle -I 120 /dev/ada0
shellcmd Spindown HDD if idle 120 minutes
- Diagnostics → Reboot to make this setting take effect.