Back in the day, Linux users ran a utility called hdparm to make sure that their disk drives were operating at the ideal speeds. These days, Linux distributions usually can figure out the best settings for a modern drive, so it’s not needed as much. Still, it’s a nice tool for probing your hard drive’s settings and capabilities, and Aaron Tiensivu has used the Cygwin version to check up on his drive’s power management:

If you install Cygwin, or just grab the hdparm.exe executable with the cygwin1.dll, you can figure out if your hard drive/chipset supports DIPM and/or HIPM. DIPM is device initiated power management, and HIPM is host initiated power management. Both can cut down hard drive power usage which in turn can improve battery life on laptops.

You’ll need to choose hdparm from the Utils section when you run (or re-run) the Cygwin setup program. Also, if you run it under Vista, be sure to start the Cygwin shell as an admin (right-click on the icon and choose Run as Administrator) – Link