Author Topic: External drive always running  (Read 1915 times)

Numina

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External drive always running
« on: November 07, 2012, 06:07:22 PM »
Got a question for the experts.  My 1 TB external HD constantly spins.  I've researched this a lot and there's not a ton of info other than a handful of threads of people complaining of the same but no real solution.  I have done things like turn off indexing, anti-virus, etc.  No programs are active and nothing downloading.  The drive is just always spinning and I can hear (what I think is) the head reading data.  This HD is about 800GB full, stores my iTunes files and other stuff.  Most of it is backed up.  Just would like it to hibernate when not in use.  Anyone experience this?  Any solutions?  This is a Windows platform.

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: External drive always running
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2012, 06:05:40 AM »
After several years my Glyph external HD would not boot.....contacted the manufacturer and  shipped it out to be firmware update.  During my conversation with tech support I mentioned  this constant disk spinning issue which had gone on for many years.  He came back with surprise that I had not turned it off and that it had be "spinning" for so long.  His solution which is what he does at a studio he moonlights at is to put my entire studio through one source like a power conditioner/surge protector with a on off switch.  Click of the switch off shuts the entire room down including all hard drive......click of the switch on and the entire room powers up.  Actually my HD's have on/off switches on the front but some are in closets and not convenient.  Also when I shut down my computer there is a audible difference coming from the  external drive which I believe is the the data head no longer in contact with the disk, disk is still spinning though.

APK

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Re: External drive always running
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2012, 07:16:21 AM »
My experience is that these external drives are controlled by the electronics of their enclosure. I have a Maxtor external that shuts itself down nicely after 10 minutes or so of inactivity and its light slowly flashed to indicate this, but another external drive that does not. I have the power for these drives on a box with switches for each outlet so I just switch the power off to the other one when I don't need it.

Not sure if the Windows power options (Control Panel) is useful for external drives. So I'd probably put its power supply on a switch and turn it off after you have no need of it. Of course if this drive is one of the little ones powered by the USB cable, I'd just disconnect the cable after a period of not using it (I rarely use the Safely Remove hardware option).
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Numina

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Re: External drive always running
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2012, 08:24:33 AM »
Hi guys, thanks for the input (and sorry Mike, I meant to put this thread in the technology section. I thought I was in there when I typed this up).

I have thought of the options you guys mentioned - a power switch or disconnecting the USB and I have also just used the 'eject' option (but then I do need to power cycle for the drive to show back up).  Problem is none of this is particularly practical for a few reasons. It doesn't seem practical to turn the power off and on several times throughout the day (and maybe harder on it than if it kept running?) and it's not particularly easy to access the USB connection. I guess I could 'eject' the drive then do a power cycle with a power strip, but seems excessive. At this point I wonder if I should bother changing anything because the drive is so used to spinning and reading. Some nights I've left the computer on for 24 hours and the drive is still spinning away.

I guess I was hoping to find out that there is a power control or indexing feature that might be doing this that could be adjusted.  I just can't figure out why this has to spin non stop.

Thanks for the help!

El culto

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Re: External drive always running
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2012, 12:08:07 PM »
IMO the best is just to replace the HD and go for one of the "green" models - they definitely will go into sleep mode after a while...some companies (like Seagate) even allow to adjust the time when going to sleep via a tool.

Numina

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Re: External drive always running
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2012, 11:07:46 PM »
Agreed. Time for an upgrade!

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: External drive always running
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2012, 04:29:19 AM »
When the time for a new HD you might look at Solid State Drives.  No moving parts. 

Paul Vnuk (Ma Ja Le)

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Re: External drive always running
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2012, 10:16:20 AM »
As soon as they have 3TB SSD's I am in. Thats the size of my current Itunes library
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Re: External drive always running
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2012, 11:12:12 AM »
You could build a 3TB SSD RAID. Of course, it would cost you nearly $3,000...

I'm very pro-SSD but I think most people misunderstand what they're really FOR. That tech is massive overkill for something like storing MP3s or Word/Excel documents, where retrieval speed doesn't matter very much. SSDs are great for installing your operating system, which makes the whole machine snappier and more responsive, because lots of files are read/written constantly while you work. Saving a few milliseconds in file retrieval time adds up, when you're talking system files. Shutdown/restart will be MUCH faster.

Putting your iTunes library, or any files you retrieve only a few times per session, on SSD is overkill -- which means a waste of money. Store your ordinary files on traditional hard drives. There's virtually no performance advantage to using SSDs for basic file retrieval. Use the SSD for system files only.

In the MacPro I'm using at the moment, there's a 128GB SSD with the system installed on it, plus a couple of TB of traditional internal SATA drives, plus another 8TB of external (NAS and firewire and USB) drives. The more frequently accessed files are on faster internal storage, and the less frequently accessed stuff is on cheaper, slower storage --- the inexpensiveness of this storage means everything can be backed up and redundant.

If I were helping someone specify a new machine to be used for a combination of media work and routine stuff like email/web, I'd say get a small SSD for the system (128GB or maybe 256GB to be safe), a big internal SATA hard drive for main file storage, and a big external drive for backup storage. You don't back up the SSD -- it's pointless, because you can always reinstall your system. Maybe once in a while save some of your important settings, like web browser favorites/bookmarks, or better yet, find ways of keeping these settings on the cloud, such as with Dropbox.
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El culto

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Re: External drive always running
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2012, 02:58:36 PM »
Quote from: mgriffin
SSDs are great for installing your operating system, which makes the whole machine snappier and more responsive, because lots of files are read/written constantly while you work. Saving a few milliseconds in file retrieval time adds up, when you're talking system files. Shutdown/restart will be MUCH faster.

Iīm personally not very convinced by these arguments...for who is the speed of shutdown/restart really an issue? We talk here about seconds of differences. Compared to the price difference to an ordinary SATA HD.... ??? Also, if you have a messy system, a SSD doesnīt make it faster either.

If the prices would be on a similar range i would say YES, but getting a 128GB SSD (a joke anyway in terms of space) for this stupid prices IMO isnīt really reliable.

Cheers,
Tomas

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: External drive always running
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2012, 05:00:39 PM »
I installed a 240g SSD in my Macbook Pro this year...had not even heard of this technology until Mike brought it up in another thread......thank you sir!  Snappy, yes, though it boots up about 5 - 10 seconds faster than my G5 @ 7500 rpm.  Nothing to write home about, however alll software apps, Logic, Aperture, Photoshop, Illustrator etc run "solid" Sort of feels like the  solidness of a Mercedes compared to a Buick....or I should say my VW Golf  :), actually the Buick could be faster than my.....well you get the idea.

When price permits I will switch my studio system drives over to SSD for all creative files.

mgriffin

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Re: External drive always running
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2012, 06:09:31 PM »
I stand by my assertion that an SSD drive is the most significant upgrade you can make to your computer to the price -- it will make a bigger difference in performance than a similar expenditure in expanded RAM or faster CPU.

I'm not advocating a 128GB SSD as the sole storage device in a person's computer. I'm talking about relinquishing the Windows-centric view that a person's entire storage structure should be encompassed in a single device, that system files and program files and data files are all equivalent. They're not equivalent.

My statement that shutdown/restart is much faster wasn't meant to say that this will make a big difference for most users, but meant to demonstrate that in an operation where many small files are read or written in rapid succession, the SSD will really shine. The most obvious example of this performance gain will be in the shutdown/restart, which might take 30 seconds instead of 90 seconds, but you will also notice a snappier response in things like program startup, install/uninstall.

Tomas, I don't know what SSDs cost where you live, but here I can purchase a 128GB SSD for about $80, which is a trivial amount of money to upgrade a computer compared to adding RAM or upgrading CPU or graphics card. The is absolutely no way you can achieve equivalent "bang for the buck" with any other $80 computer upgrade, unless your machine is totally starved for RAM (for example, if you have less than 1GB of RAM, yes, you should upgrade RAM before doing the SSD upgrade). And I'll say again, the point is not that the 128GB become your only storage drive -- just that you use it for your Windows, Mac OS or Linux system install. The assertion that the SSD won't help if you have a "messy" system doesn't make sense. Do a clean system install on the SSD and it's not messy any more. I've tried SSDs on Windows, Mac and Linux installs and the result is the same.

I have yet to talk to anyone who has tried the SSD upgrade who has not ended up completely happy with the result, and convinced that it was the best possible option. I just try to make sure people don't misunderstand, and try to change ALL their storage to SSD. That misses the point, and ends up wasting a lot of money.
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El culto

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Re: External drive always running
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2012, 11:56:47 AM »
Mike: Around 90,- Euro for 128GB here in Germany

It really depends on the system you are running...in some cases it might be the best upgrade, yes - but in others not. Just for a system drive a SSD is for me not worth as it interacts only with behavior of programs/windows. I still canīt see such winning option for that - I (!) donīt care if Windows is there in 27 seconds or 60 seconds, same for program starts. When we talk about streaming (i.e. Libraries) then definitely i would say YES. But in this case 128GB is a joke - you need here at least 500GB or better 1TB....and when you looks at the prices of these SSD, I believe you will understand my point  ;)

"The assertion that the SSD won't help if you have a "messy" system doesn't make sense"

All i wanted to say is, that a lot of people think a SSD is in each case is like "magic". This is why i brought this example which worked in he past and now - if you donīt take care about your system and installed apps your system is slow even with a SSD.

Greetings,
Tomas