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Power Options: Turn Hard Disks off after xx min?

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September 18, 2010 12:53:24 AM

I have like 4 SATA drives (one of them running the OS: Windows 7 Ultimate)
I recently installed some hard drive software to check for bad sectors and such.
I noticed after installing, the storage hard drives (the other three) stopped turning off after inactiveness.
I've grown used to the way the hard drive automatically turns off, needing to take a couple seconds to access files later.

I also have to note that I have NO IDEA what caused it to automatically turn off and at what time interval. This is because I have checked Power Options before and turning off hard disks was set to never and yet it still did it by itself. And these recent installations have made the symptoms dissappear. What the hell was causing it to turn off before?

Is this healthy for it to turn off and on several times throughout the day if I set it back to turn off like every 20min of inactiveness? (I assume it doesn't turn off the OS hard drive after 20min?)
What are the advantages and disadvantages of both leaving them spinning all day compared to turning them off after xx min of inactiveness?

softwares I installed were
DiskCheckup
HD Tune Pro
Everest Ultimate

Thanks
a c 209 $ Windows 7
a c 415 G Storage
September 18, 2010 1:53:45 AM

If you're using "Green" hard drives then it's normal for them to spin down. Such drives are designed to conserve power and so they normally spin down after several seconds of inactivity and then automatically spin up again the next time they're accessed. This is a function of the drive firmware and it's completely independent of the power options in Windows.

The only reason such drives wouldn't spin down is if there is some program that's continually accessing them so that they never reach their inactivity timeout.
a b $ Windows 7
a c 104 G Storage
September 18, 2010 2:17:49 AM

Hi there,

I agree with Sminlal, one of your recentlly installed programs is frequentliy interrogating your hard drives, and probably preventing them from "going green" on inactivity.

One thing you might do is start the Msconfig program by typing msconfig in the run line, and check on the startup tab, to see if either Passmark's DiskCheckUp or Everest Ultimate starts on system boot. If so uncheck them one at a time and see if the drives spin down as you previously noted.
I would assume you run HDTune only on occasion to check read/write speeds.

You could determine the "culprit" and decide if you want it to continuously monitor your drives.

I have used PassMark's DiskCheckUp for several years, and set it up in the task scheduler to run Mondays at 8AM. That way it's not taking up resources all the time and still gives a good idea of how the HDD's are doing.
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September 18, 2010 3:15:35 AM

I have no idea what caused it. I can't get the hard drives to shut down without messing with power options anymore. None of them are green drives to my knowledge. I checked msconfig, nothing suspicious showed up.

Anyways.... Is it safe for non-green drives to be shut on and off several times a day through the power options? Would it's lifetime by affected by this?

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a c 209 $ Windows 7
a c 415 G Storage
September 18, 2010 3:27:07 AM
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It depends on the drive. Most modern drives use offloading ramps so that the heads never actually touch the platters even when the drive spins down. Those drives should be able to start and stop to their heart's contents without affecting longevity.

But if you have a older drive that parks its heads right on the platters then each stop and start introduces a little bit of wear. Drives that do this are typically rated for something like 50,000 stop/start cycles.
September 18, 2010 3:42:43 AM

sminlal said:
It depends on the drive. Most modern drives use offloading ramps so that the heads never actually touch the platters even when the drive spins down. Those drives should be able to start and stop to their heart's contents without affecting longevity.

But if you have a older drive that parks its heads right on the platters then each stop and start introduces a little bit of wear. Drives that do this are typically rated for something like 50,000 stop/start cycles.


That's a lot of stop/start cycles!
I reinstalled HD Tune Pro, I noticed "Allow change of power settings during tests" was enabled by default after installation. And I did do an error scan test... Guess it messed with some weird hidden settings. Oh well, turning on power saving options works just as well...

Thanks for info :) 
September 18, 2010 4:58:06 AM

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