#1
So I was flipping through the manual of my new 2TB external HDD (yes, I know that is beyond inane and nerdy), and if I'm reading it right, there's a section that suggests that it's better to have the drive on all the time even if it's not being used or mounted than to shut it off a lot.

Maybe I read it wrong but I'm pretty sure that's what it says. Can anyone offer some insights as to whether I should leave it on all the time or turn it off when I don't need it?


I have two Fantom drives:

a 1TB HDD that is about 3 years old (regularly turned on and off, makes a lot of clicking noise when read and write, but it's always been like that and hasn't had any data loss). 7200RPM, adapter powered.

a 2TB HDD that I got last week (quiet, no clicking, have left it on the whole time since I read that little blurb). 7200RPM, adapter powered.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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Last edited by Xiaoxi at Mar 25, 2011,
#2
leave it on if it's plugged in. it's designed for convenience, not flicking it on and off all the time.

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#4
If you turn it off, make 100% sure it is not in use (reading/writing/checking). I assume it's a standard magnetised disc hard drive. If you shut it off while it is in use, the heads will skate on the disc and absolutely fuck up everything, making it extremely difficult (and expensive) to recover. I know this from experience.
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#5
I've heard that before, though in the end, it probably won't make too much of a difference.

Leave it on if you need to use it multiple times within a short period, or turn it off for a while if you won't be using it. Simples.
#6
Hard drives use a lot of power to boot up, start spinning etc. so it's better to just leave it running then repeatedly boot it up. It also stresses the parts which will make it wear out quicker.

I don't know exactly how much power it uses to boot up compared to leaving it running, but I'd guess that if you're accessing the hard drive more than once an hour or two, just leave it running.

Also next time use the computer thread.
#7
Quote by Silver-spear94
leave it on if it's plugged in. it's designed for convenience, not flicking it on and off all the time.

Ohh...why is that though? Intuitively, I'd think that if you leave something on all the time, it's gonna wear out faster. Also, the power switch on my 3 year old 1TB broke about 2 years ago and ever since then I've been manually unplugging the adapter every night.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#8
Also worth noting that most newer harddrives will spindown automatically after a while without using them, so they will conserve power. So the power loss isn't a huge issue.
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#9
It's just incase the drive is being used and you pull it out. Windows will sometimes access the drive for various reasons unbeknown to you. You should eject it whenever you take it out but I guess they say that for convenience.

I doubt keeping it running constantly does any good for its lifespan.
#10
Every time you turn it on the is a power surge to the components. If you turn it on in the morning then come back in the afternoon and so on it's best to leave it on. This will reduce the shock of the drive coming on. Those parts on not very robust and power consumption is minimal. You would also be beyond pissed if you lost 2TB of data!
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#11
Quote by Xiaoxi
Ohh...why is that though? Intuitively, I'd think that if you leave something on all the time, it's gonna wear out faster. Also, the power switch on my 3 year old 1TB broke about 2 years ago and ever since then I've been manually unplugging the adapter every night.



hard drives dont get worn out just by being on. While it's on, if your power options are set correctly it should just be stationary. Wear is caused by the actuator head reading the disks while they are spinning. Even when the disk is just spinning, the mechanical parts rarely ever fail. Failures are normally caused by the actuator head or magnetics failing.

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#12
I'm getting some mixed messages here.

Some people seem to be saying I should only leave it on constantly for a short period of time (like a day). But some others seem to be suggesting that I can leave it on all year long, 24/7.

ps: I unmount the drives pretty often, multiple times throughout the day, but should I still keep the drive itself on 24/7?

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#13
Basically... keep it on as long as windows is on, unless you properly eject it every time you un-hook it.
#15
Quote by vitchb
Basically... keep it on as long as windows is on, unless you properly eject it every time you un-hook it.

I'm using OSX, and yes I unmount it every time I disconnect from my workstation. However, the other responses suggest that the physical act of the hard drive turning on is what's wearing it... or do you guys mean when it is mounted to an OS?

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#17
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What was the exact wording of the manual? Can we see that too?

loool....I threw it away...

BUT it said something along the lines of "this drive is designed to stay on for long periods of time, and shutting it down will degrade it" or something like that...

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#18
Get a big magnet and rub the hard drive with it in one direction several times.

(Didn't read OP)
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#19
Not sure about external drives (I assume it's the same), but with internal HDDs the drive works hardest starting up, so keeping it running all the time puts less wear on it.
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#20
Quote by robertito696
Not sure about external drives (I assume it's the same), but with internal HDDs the drive works hardest starting up, so keeping it running all the time puts less wear on it.

It's like with starting up a car or compressor or anything else that uses a motor to turn something.
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#21
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loool....I threw it away...

BUT it said something along the lines of "this drive is designed to stay on for long periods of time, and shutting it down will degrade it" or something like that...

I don't believe it's harmful. Your HDD should sleep after a while, right? If you use it consistently, you only need to turn it off if you'll be away for a considerable time, just because it would be wasteful.

But I'm not an expert so is my answer invalid?
#22
Then if that's what it said, stick to it, regardless of whatever anybody else tells you. Nobody knows the drive performance better than the person who designed it.
#23
Quote by vitchb
It's just incase the drive is being used and you pull it out. Windows will sometimes access the drive for various reasons unbeknown to you. You should eject it whenever you take it out but I guess they say that for convenience.

I doubt keeping it running constantly does any good for its lifespan.


Turning an external hard drive on and off without ejecting (Dismounting) the drive can do far more harm than leaving it on.

If you just leave it plugged in it will automatically go into sleep mode when not in use or when the computer is off.

Crashed drive heads = trashed drives and expensive professional recovery.
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#24
Quote by Willowthewitch
Turning an external hard drive on and off without ejecting (Dismounting) the drive can do far more harm than leaving it on.

If you just leave it plugged in it will automatically go into sleep mode when not in use or when the computer is off.

Crashed drive heads = trashed drives and expensive professional recovery.

Like I said, I mount and dismount multiple times a day, because I'm on a laptop and I disconnect it properly.

I'm just asking if leaving it on, regardless of whether it's mounted or dismounted is good or bad. And I'm still not sure exactly what they meant on the manual, that was just my interpretation.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#25
I have a 2TB WesternDigital external, and I plugged it in when I got it (about 5 months ago), and have never switched it off since. It's running fine.
#26
OSX/Win same thing... but i think what people are saying is turning it on/off very frequently might do damage. The read/write head will have to quickly move from its rest position to the centre of the platter and this sometimes causes the head to bounce and clatter around which if done many times can cause damage.

Just be sensible, plug it in, copy your data onto it, eject it, unplug it. That won't do harm. Only leave it in if your OS does an automatic back-up
#27
Run an industrial grade magnet over it a few times, just to be sure it's better to leave it on.
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#28
Treat it like a baby.

As entity0009 said, hard drive repair is more expensive than a customised dildo. I've had it done, and it was, well, expensive.

The whole sudden on/off thing doesn't really matter in most drives. As long as there are no sudden jerks, the read/write head won't destroy the grooves.

Never heard of Fantom. Does it have any anti-jerking technology? For example, Transcend's military-grade drive can be thrown down the stairs and stuff.

I've had two Seagates so far. The first one was 500 GB, which went bananas after I accidentally dropped it. Repairing was expensive, but I got everything back. Now, I have a 1 TB drive. Looking to get another one, because this one's getting filled up with anime. >_>

Anyway, the most important thing is - treat it like a baby.

Unless you hate babies, of course.