Powering Off Internal HDD's With System Still Running.

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by muskyx1, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. muskyx1

    muskyx1 Member

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    Anyone ever spliced into non-system HDD power wires and connect it to an external on/off switch so they're not always powered up. My machine is on for days at time and I have two 2Tb and two 3Tb HDD's that are only for data storage. I'd like to power them off when they're not in use.
     
  2. cl-scott

    cl-scott ASUS Support

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    There's a setting in Windows to do this, and I believe it's on by default, but you can check the power settings to make sure. And assuming you don't want to trust Windows to do it, it means you should be able to find a program out there that will tell the drives to spin down. They'll still be using some small amount of power so they could spin back up on command, but seems infinitely safer than what you're proposing.
     
  3. Lonyo

    Lonyo Lifer

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    Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Power Options\Edit Plan Settings
    -> Change advanced power settings
    -> Hard Disk
    -> Turn off hard disk after
    -> select your desired time
     
  4. C1

    C1 Golden Member

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    Ya, as long as the platter is not spinning and heads not being accessed then what do you care?

    BTW, a drive being subject to exothermal heat is a much different animal (situation) than a drive experiencing endothermal heat.
     
  5. JackMDS

    JackMDS Super Moderator<BR>Elite Member
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    If you are going to create a physical switch, use it only when the computer is Off.

    Given the uncontrolled in out in Internet traffic I would not take the risk to do a Hot switching when the computer is On.


    :cool:
     
  6. SKORPI0

    SKORPI0 Lifer

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    I'd get probably buy something like this. ;)

    4 BAY HDD Hard Drive Power Switch Power Controller

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In my case I currently use this since I have a lot of 2TB SATA HDDs. Just eject via windows/os x and then turn of switch.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. muskyx1

    muskyx1 Member

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    Is it possible that continual power cycling of HDD's is worse than leaving it powered for extended periods of time.

    Is that Windows 7, I can't find "Change advanced power settings" or "Hard Disk" options.
     
    #7 muskyx1, Nov 12, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2012
  8. mfenn

    mfenn Elite Member <br> Currently on <BR> Moderator Sabb
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    Yes, absolutely. Powering drives off with a physical switch seems like a really terrible idea to me. You would need to remember to unmount the filesystems before you turn off them power and then remount then when you turn the power on. Otherwise you're going to make Windows really unhappy when its drives disappear without warning.

    Yes, those are the correct steps for Windows 7. "Change advanced power settings" is in blue text below "Put the computer to sleep".
     
  9. muskyx1

    muskyx1 Member

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  10. mfenn

    mfenn Elite Member <br> Currently on <BR> Moderator Sabb
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    It is for all HDD's whose controllers support the spin down command. SATA and eSATA drives will all work, but many USB drive controllers don't pass the spin down command through.
     
  11. muskyx1

    muskyx1 Member

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    By all HDD's, I meant whether or not the main system HDD also powers down.
     
  12. Ketchup

    Ketchup Lifer

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    This option is in reference to hard drives that are not running the system, I believe. The hard drive that Windows is running on respond to the suspend/sleep settings.
     
  13. ElFenix

    ElFenix Elite Member<br> Super Moderator<br>Off Topic
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    this rarely seems to do anything. windows likes to use drives for seemingly no reason.


    i have a drive that doesn't always make it back on in time during a resume from sleep. windows doesn't seem to give a crap that the drive isn't there.

    sometimes i accidentally eject an internal drive, which windows also doesn't seem to give a crap about. a switch would be nice at that point because then i could cycle the drive and windows would find it. remember that there is 0 difference between an eSATA drive and an SATA drive as far as windows knows.
     
    #13 ElFenix, Nov 15, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012
  14. Auric

    Auric Diamond Member

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    Err, powering off drives has been fine since at least the introduction of SATA a decade ago, even without hotswap controllers per se. Yes, if write-caching is enabled then a drive should be dismounted/disabled first but is detected automatically again when powered back on. I've used the utility HotSwap!
    for many years with trayless backplanes and more recently those having individual power switches -though again, even physical disconnection acts the same.

    Windows sleep is useful but file managers are likely to inadvertently cause other drives to spin-up.
     
  15. Auric

    Auric Diamond Member

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    ElFenix, sounds like a dodgy controller and/or driver. If Intel, use Intel driver and the drives will not be presented by Windows "Safely Remove..." thus avoiding accidents. Redetecting can be done with Device Manager, devcon, or HotSwap!.
     
  16. mfenn

    mfenn Elite Member <br> Currently on <BR> Moderator Sabb
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    Yes, the main system HDD is also subject to the spin down rules, but it is less likely to be inactive for the timeout.

    No, it really doesn't. Sounds like you've got some process running that is attempting to look at the drives. My storage drives can stay spun down for days at a time on my main desktop.

    Never said that you couldn't do it. Just that it adds an extra annoying manual step before you disconnect the drive (like you've pointed out). Letting the drives spin down causes them to draw almost no power, and they can stay mounted.

    Just disabling write caching is not enough to protect against data loss. Sure, it reduces the chances of having corruption, but you're still vulnerable to unplugging the drive in a middle of a write.

    You have to do a full unmount before you pull the drive (that's what "safely remove hardware does" or "eject" does). Else you won't give NTFS a chance to flush quiesce all writes, file system metadata cache, and finally clear the dirty bit.
     
  17. fuzzymath10

    fuzzymath10 Senior member

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    Purely anecdotal, but I've had hard drives running pretty much non-stop except for the odd hardware modification for a year or two and they're fine. The only times I've discovered a hard drive is a goner is when I power on a system, rather than when it's already running.
     
  18. Ketchup

    Ketchup Lifer

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    Kinda like light bulbs.
     
  19. piasabird

    piasabird Lifer

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    In the old days we used a park command to park the hard drive.
     
  20. ElFenix

    ElFenix Elite Member<br> Super Moderator<br>Off Topic
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    probably right. and to be fair, i probably haven't tried it in about 10 years.


    interesting. pretty sure i used whatever the motherboard's install CD did.
     
  21. Auric

    Auric Diamond Member

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    Well it is the same procedure (two-clicks for safety) with any removable including ubiquitous thumb drives and no one complains about those.

    That prolly did not include a controller driver but just chipset and so the generic (likely msahci.sys) was not replaced. It is easily confirmed in Device Manager.

    http://downloadcenter.intel.com/SearchResult.aspx?lang=eng&keyword=Rapid Storage Technology
     
  22. wirednuts

    wirednuts Diamond Member

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    hot switching would be bad.

    let windows do it.

    if windows doesnt let your harddrives sleep during inactivity, then update your motherboards bios. if your motherboards bios is new or wont update, upgrade to a better motherboard.