Question about hard disk setting in advaced power settings

I am wondering about the settting in the advance power settings of my new laptop (Toshiba Satelite, Vista Home Premium (sp1), Core2 Duo 1.5 Mhz 1.5Mhz... 1 GB ram 120 GB hard disk (two partitions).
In the advanced power settings there is a place where I can specify after how much I would like the hard disk to automatically turn off (when plugged in or when on battery). I can't remember what the default was, but I set it to 'Never' so that the hard disk will never automatically turn off... I don't care about conserving battery power... My only concern is to prolong the lifetime of the hard disk as much as possible. Did I make the right choice? I mean, my logic was that it is better to let the hard disk run continuously for a few hours (even if computer is idle) than to have it turn off and on several times during that period. Is my logic correct? I mean, even if the computer is idle for hours, won't it have to access the hard disk from time to time and therefore cause the hard disk to start up each time... Isn't that bad for the hard disk? Wouldn't it simply be better to just let it keep running?

If it is better to set the hard disk to turn off after a certain amount of time, what is the logic behind that? If so what is the optimal setting (how many minutes) to wait before the hard disk automatically turns off?

i would really appreciate any info on the topic. Thank you!
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More about question hard disk setting advaced power settings
  1. You have to try a setting and see how it goes. To save power, you need drive to powerdown just after you finish using it. If you set the delay too short, you will get fed up waiting for the drive to spin up when you need some more data.

  2. Thanks, mike99 :)

    But I think you may have misunderstood my question. I don't care about conserving power, my objective is to prolong the hard disk life and put as little ware and tear on it... And I was asking if it is better to have it run continuously than to keep spinning up and then powering down several times...

    I would appreciate any input you can give me. Thanks!
  3. Well if u set it to never that means that it'll always be spinning (not necessarily in use).

    U can set the value as low as possible (1 minute) which means that once the laptop isn't in use for 1 minute the HD will spin down.

    Theoretically that might mean a longer life for ur drive. But IMHO always backup ur data regularly.

    HDs can go at any time. HD reliability has improved a lot in recent times but I can't quite bring myself to trust it absolutely.
  4. My 2 cents - If you are not concerned about Battery run time, I would set it to a high value or to Never. Mechanically the hardest strain is the on/off cycle. Not a good analogy - Which car would you buy (Boot had good care) on that has 100k miles of highway use, or one that has 100 K miles of stop and go.

    2 1/2 inch drives are mechanically better constructed than 3 in drives, and 3 in drives (desktop) are normally on all the time.

    One side note: If you are using the laptop on battery most of the time, This will shorten the battery life as battery life is a function of discharge/charge cycles.
  5. It is really hard to make a hard drive fail within the lifetime of a notebook or desktop.

    I set our hard drives to turn off after 15 minutes. That seems to be a reasonable amount of time. Long enough so that the hard drive does not have to be spun up when I am working. Short enough that the hrd drive shuts down if I forget to turn the computer off.
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