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Why so much HDD spinning (and more)?

Last response: in Windows 7
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June 28, 2011 12:27:24 AM

I have many DVD movies stored on several HDD on my Vista machine. (All legal. I buy the DVDs, put the movies on the drives after stripping out non-movie crap, save the DVDs in one ever-growing mess in the back room.)

Works great. But something bothers me: It’s not uncommon for me to go days without directly accessing any of the movie drives at all, yet I can hear them spinning up and spinning down. (Easy to hear, since everything else is on SSD.) I assume it has something to do with Vista’s… generous supply of processes I didn’t know I needed, checking this and that all the time, but I’ve never mounted a serious hunt to run them down.

I’m about to rebuild the machine and install Windows 7, which I’m assuming has an even more generous supply of processes to aid me. To save on power, heat, and annoyance (for some reason the extra drive noises are getting to me), I’d like to keep those drives spun down as much as possible, without doing anything drastic like disabling them. Any ideas?

Also, any ideas on how to best arrange the movies/drives? Conceptually I’d be happy with one volume spanning all the movie drives, for easy alphabetical use, but my understanding is that if one HDD dies you lose the data on *all* of them. (I do keep the drives backed up, but I’d rather not have to restore *everything* from backup just because one drive fails.) What I’ve been doing is assigning each HDD a section of the alphabet. Call me lazy, but I’d like to avoid the small mental effort that involves, if possible. (Maybe writing some script to move new movies into the appropriate alphabetic “bin”?) Going to RAID seems like overkill to me.

More about : hdd spinning

a b $ Windows 7
June 28, 2011 7:13:54 AM

This is because they are not set to active and they spin down after an alotted amount of time, when something on your computer tries to access this information on the HDD's they will spin up again.
a b $ Windows 7
June 28, 2011 8:30:16 AM

The noise is due to the hard drives spinning down and parking the read/write heads to save power when power management kicks in. The hard drives will speed up again when the hard drive is accessed. Since the hard drive has powered down, there is a bit of lag since the drive must spin up to optimum speed. This will also cause noise.

If you do not want the hard drives to make such noise, then you either need to replace them with quieter hard drives or keep them powered up all the time.
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June 28, 2011 9:07:50 AM

He knows it's from entering and exiting power-save, because he said "spinning up and spinning down". What he asks how can he stop unnecesary wakes.
Unfortunately, I skipped Vista and 7 does not seem to exhibit this (or I disabled what could do that).
Anyways, right now I can think only of indexing service and restore service which would go for all the drives. Also maybe explorer when My computer is opened (but read caching may prevent that).
a b $ Windows 7
June 28, 2011 9:20:25 AM

dingobreath said:
Also, any ideas on how to best arrange the movies/drives? Conceptually I’d be happy with one volume spanning all the movie drives, for easy alphabetical use, but my understanding is that if one HDD dies you lose the data on *all* of them. (I do keep the drives backed up, but I’d rather not have to restore *everything* from backup just because one drive fails.) What I’ve been doing is assigning each HDD a section of the alphabet. Call me lazy, but I’d like to avoid the small mental effort that involves, if possible. (Maybe writing some script to move new movies into the appropriate alphabetic “bin”?) Going to RAID seems like overkill to me.


I'd go raid 5 then if one drive fails you replace and it carried on, and it looks like a single logical drive, the problem with many drives is the estimating what letters to put where. Or you let you media player deal with the indexing, and just dump files into the emptiest drive. Or go windows home server (old not new).
a b $ Windows 7
June 28, 2011 7:21:23 PM

Make sure all the drives in question have NO swap file, rather than "System managed." Turn off indexing for those drives.
a b $ Windows 7
June 28, 2011 9:43:41 PM

Also disable automatic defrag and if check if your AV is set to do idle scans.
June 29, 2011 1:07:42 AM

mathew7 said:

Anyways, right now I can think only of indexing service and restore service which would go for all the drives. Also maybe explorer when My computer is opened (but read caching may prevent that).

Thanks, Matthew (and others).

I don't index those drives. Restore service... hmm, maybe. The drives *sometimes* spin up when I use My Computer, but that wasn't unexpected to me--I just figured Windows did that when it felt it couldn't trust the info it had without going out and checking directly.
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