Software for Power Management of HDDs? Working with backup HDD

Just got my new system up and running. My system drive is a 256 gb SSD, and I have two internal 3TB data and one backup. I also have an external 2TB USB HDD that I will use as a backup (albeit, less frequently than the internal backup). Because of the SSD, the power management for turning off hard drives automatically is disabled. This is recommended for running SSDs. Therefore, both of my internal HDDs are constantly spinning.

I would like to find a solution to manage the HDDs, but at the least find a solution to turn off (or just stop spinning) the internal backup drive, since it is not used very frequently. It would be nice to do this with the external HDD, but I'll probably just unplug it when not in use...easy enough.

I searched for any software/utilities to do this, but couldn't find anything. Other users have the same idea, but it doesn't seem like they found a software solution either. As of right now, I've determined my options are:

1) Manually unplug/plug internal drive. Requires access to the inside of the case.
2) Get a mobile rack for my case (eg Vantec), which allows me to remove the backup drive or just power it off from the mobile rack.
3) Wire in a power switch for the drive. Cheap, easy, simple.
4) Get an external enclosure that has a power switch on it.

Out of those choices, I would probably choose 3), just because it is cheap and I'm not adding more components that have potential for noise (like the mobile rack that has a fan in it).

Ultimately, a software solution would be awesome! Thoughts?
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  1. Best answer
    Hard Disk Sentinel includes hard drive power management feature (doesn't work on all hard drives though):
  2. phil22 said:
    Hard Disk Sentinel includes hard drive power management feature (doesn't work on all hard drives though):

    Great! Thanks for the suggestion. I have HDSentinel running now, and I am easily able to adjust the APM settings for each individual drive! Pretty cool program in addition to that, too.

    One thing I'm having trouble finding info about is the APM Levels and what they translate to. This much I do know:

    AMP Level
    0 = Disabled
    1 = Minimum power consumption with standby
    2-127 = Intermediate power management levels with standby
    128 = Minimum power consumption without standby
    129-253 = Intermediate power management levels without standby
    254 = Maximum performance and power consumption

    Then, what do the in between numbers mean (eg 2-127)? Does it correspond to the time before the drive spins down? I'll post this question on their forum.

    This looks like a solution for me! I'll still probably unplug the external drive when not in use. At least I can manage my HDDs and put them into standby, even though Windows has APM disabled for my SSD.

    Thanks again!

    EDIT: This is the response from HDSentinal regarding APM levels.

    These levels are defined by the manufacturer of the actual drive.
    It is completely independent from the current OS version, but only depends on the drive.

    Most manufacturers do not tell anything about the difference between these levels.
    Usually manufacturers define only some discrete levels, so in most cases 2 .... 127 are the same, 129 ... 253 are the same and so.
    But it depends on the manufacturer of the actual drive, so you may ask directly about the proper model if they define any differences in these levels.
  3. Best answer selected by jstluise.
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