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Thread: External Hard drive power

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    Ausphotography Regular J.davis's Avatar
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    External Hard drive power

    Have just purchased an external 1Tb hard drive and done a backup, now do I switch it off untill next time I want to do a backup, or just leave it powered up.
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    John
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    leave it off
    Darren
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    J.davis's Avatar
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    Thanks

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    GIRLY MAG PRO
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    If you ask 100 people, 99 of them will tell you to turn it off. Conventional wisdom would suggest so too.

    However, interestingly enough, Google did a study on hard drive failures and their findings were in some respects counter-intuitive.

    That said, I still turn off my backup drive(s) too!
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    FWIW, I've had my 1Tb Seagate drive for approx two years now, and it's never been off.

    My only problem is that it was 'too small'
    I also got another one for another backup copy of all my images for now, but I'm going to delete everything on one of them and use it for non photo backups.

    A few months back, I was having PC troubles and thought I better have another backup of my 8900+ Gigs of images.. just in case. Turned out to be (??.. have no idea, but a new graphics card seemed to help that old PC now.. I think?).

    the drives basically don't appear to spin too much whilst powered on, except for a quick spurt at PC startup time, or when being accessed.
    They do spin a little, but it does seem to be only an 'idle' state of spin.

    My understanding of drives is that they generally need a bit of operation time to keep the bearings 'lubricated' at least a little bit.

    Apart from switching the PC off, mine are on all the time.
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    For the love of what I see.
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    I'll disagree with Kiwi on this one.

    Experience tells me to keep it on as long as the computer is on.

    Of my two, one being a network drive the other an external backup drive, the external hard drive is never powered off even when the computer shuts down whilst the backup drive powers down but does not shut down when the computer is shut down.

    The most dangerous time for a hard drive is start up as it is then that the maximum torque is applied to the drive. That's why some drive manufacturers have started producing "Soft Start" drives.
    Peter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterking View Post
    The most dangerous time for a hard drive is start up as it is then that the maximum torque is applied to the drive. That's why some drive manufacturers have started producing "Soft Start" drives.
    I'd be interested to know where you got this information. Soft start has nothing to do with torque stresses, but rather power management concerns - primarily inrush current. I've never heard of drive failure due to excessive torque on the driver either. And the Google study finds no correlation between power cycling and failure rate.

    I'd be much more concerned with two factors running a drive continuously:
    (1) mechanical wear on the bearings
    (2) cumulative effect of heat on the drive electronics

    Having said all this, both my work and home machines are powered and running 24/7 365 days a year. I've had one drive failure in the last few years, out of 5-6 drives in continual use. However, I still power-down my backup drive(s), mainly because they're only used once every month or so.
    Last edited by tcdev; 04-08-2010 at 7:47am.

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