Disable "Turn off hard disk after" in windows 7

  • Andreas Bonini

    How can I disable this feature? In the power options apparently I can only choose the minutes and I don't see a "Off" option. If I set it to 0 minutes, it sets itself to 1.

    For now I set it to 20000000 minutes, but a real solution would be nice.

  • Answers
  • 8088

    There is a setting for Never. You can either type it in or use the spin edit to go to the bottom most setting (It's right below 1 minute).

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  • Related Question

    power management - Is turning off hard disks harmful?
  • bobobobo

    I set Windows 7 to turn off hard disks after 20 minutes of nonuse, which it does a really good job at - it seems to turn off individual hard disks that have been idle for 20 minutes exactly. When I access a drive that I haven't used in 20 minutes, I can hear it firing up and it takes a couple of seconds to access it.

    Now Windows is turning off and turning on my hard disks several times a day.

    Can this on/offing be bad for the drives? The case is small and I'm trying to protect the drives from overheating really (they get VERY hot!).

    Edit: The accepted answer doesn't mention this explicitly, but from Minimizing hard disk drive failure

    Power cycling control

    Shutting down and rebooting a computer or resuming it from hibernation cycles the power to the drives in the computer. The spin-up operation performed by a drive after a power cycle is believed to place more stress on the drive than running the drive continuously for a long period of time.

    Based on professional experience of system administrators, it is believed that there is a direct relationship between the number of power cycles of a computer and the probability of failure of its drives**. In other words, a computer with a high uptime may have a lower probability of drive failure than one that has its power cycled routinely.

    ** Attribute #4 of S.M.A.R.T. is Start/Stop Count, which seems to indicate that start/stop count DOES play a role in disk fitness and when to expect a failure.

    See also

    ... Energy Star compliance results in an increase in daily power up/down cycles. The consequent thermal shock and mechanical stresses on the system can adversely affect its life...

  • Related Answers
  • ChrisInEdmonton

    Google showed that heat has very little effect on hard drive life expectancy, despite anecdotal claims to the contrary. See this overview; unfortunately, I cannot find a link to the paper any more. The paper was by far the largest study on the subject. Note, though, that Google keeps their drives running 24/7, so there was no information on specifically whether turning off your hard drives was harmful, only that you don't need to worry so much about temperature.

  • nik

    Spinning down hard disks does help in reducing overall heat and also increasing its life.

    However, there are reports that a lot of HDD failures happen when restarting a disk after the spindown.

    This ServerFault answer to
    What’s the effect of standby (spindown) mode on modern hard drives?
    talks about it

    More opinions on this are welcome.
    I am also investigating the stability of using an older laptop with an alternate USB boot.

  • David Mackintosh

    My (totally anecdotal) experience has been that drives that spin down do reduce electrical consumption costs (and associated cooling), but fail marginally more often. I felt this was a bit of a loss overall for the environment, since I'm minutely saving electrical consumption at the cost of filling a landfill slightly faster.

    It is hard to figure out precisely what is going on, since it is usually single-disk workstations which are the best candidate for stopping idle drives; however since they are single drives, the OS likes to go and touch things on it occasionally.

  • Joakim Elofsson

    If your drives are getting so hot, it is probably due to ventilation issues not disk issues. If you are taking proper steps to make sure computer is properly ventilated (and I assume your computer is not all that old if it's running windows 7) there might be something wrong with your computer. All I need to do is keep mine propped up an inch or two and it never gets that warm. If I have to leave it on overnight or for a long time, I turn it onto it's side. If it is resting flat on a surface, that is what is heating your computer up as I frequently leave my 5 year old laptop running overnight simply on it's side and it has never been an issue.

    If you're the kind of person who lets their computer idle for a few hours and then starts back up again on and off through out the day, I would not recommend allowing it to continually stop and start your drives. This is hard on your computer and I have in fact damaged drives in the past doing this constantly, though this was on an older computer, I hear the newer ones have similar issues and I'd rather not be so hard on the drives since they contain valuable work.

  • rogerdpack

    The "spin down" or "power saving" mode for HDD's can be bad for certain SSD's, apparently: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/272075-32-sleep

  • STW

    A lot of "best-practices" for drive management are based on conjecture--actual objective data to back up particular claims is few and far between.

    For your case the question is "which is worse, the heat or the spin-up?" personally I'd lean towards spinning the drives down if you can--they won't be as hot and they won't heat the rest of the machine up as much.