There is a tool called idle3ctl which can disable, get or set the idle3 timer on Western Digital hard drives. Idle3ctl can be used as an alternative to the official wdidle3.exe proprietary utility, without the need to reboot in a DOS environement. Idle3ctl is an independant project, unrelated in any way to Western Digital Corp.

To set idle3 timer raw value, option -s must be used. Value must be an integer between 1 and 255. The idle3 timer is set in 0.1s for the 1-128 range, and in 30s for the 129-255 range. Example:

# idle3ctl -s190 /dev/sdc
Idle3 timer set to 190 (0xbe)
Please power cycle your drive off and on for the new
setting to be taken into account. A reboot will not be enough!

# idle3ctl -g /dev/sdc
Idle3 timer set to 190 (0xbe)

Here is the snag, I had to do some math to be able to figure out the correct value. So I created a table for you, so you don’t have to! Enjoy.

Alternatively, the same can be achieved via smartctl tool. Read my next article about how to do that.

That’s all. Good luck not breaking your drive! :-)