external drive spin-down

This is a follow up to
(I am not able to comment there).

I have used the dock with the spin-down after 10 minutes turned on and it is kind of a nuisance. Is there any real disadvantage to having spin-down turned off (“spin indefinitely”)? I mean compared to a hard drive connected directly to the MB controller in a desktop system that never goes to sleep, is there any difference between that and the hard drive in this enclosure with spin-down off?


Good question!

Without drive spin-down, there are a couple of primary concerns:

  1. With the drive constantly be spinning even when it’s not being accessed, there will be a good bit of wear on some of the internal components of the drive.

  2. Consumer drives spin at 5,400 - 7,200 RPM, which generates a fair amount of heat. Inside a desktop PC there are fans pulling air through the system which help to keep the drive running cooler.

In most cases running the drives externally, even for an extended period, will not cause them to heat up to unsafe levels nor exceed the manufacturer-specified maximum operating temperature.

Overall, minimizing temperatures and mechanical wear and tear is generally good for the overall health of hard drives (and electronics in general). This is one of the reasons that the default settings in Windows will automatically spin-down even internally connected drives after ~20 minutes of inactivity.


Hi Gary,
My Windows system has the default power settings for hard drives, I have several spinning disks in it and I never experienced the kind of delay that I’m getting when trying to access the external hard disk after it has spun down. It is a good 5-10 seconds before the drive responds again, I never had that with other (internally installed) hard disks even after long periods of them not being accessed. I wonder why that is?
Thank you.

Hmm, I’m actually using the High Performance profile, which has the setting to Never turn off hard disk. I’ll experiment with Balanced and see what happens.

I can’t seem to be able to get drives to spin-down in Windows 7 (I set the interval to 2 minutes, made sure I don’t access the drive, even searched file handles via process explorer to make sure there aren’t any open on the drive), left it for longer than 2 mins, coming back the drive is readily accessible, it’s either still spinning or it spins back up from being down in such a short time that it appears instantaneous.

Anyway, could I have the firmware that doesn’t spin down the external drive?

Strange that Windows isn’t spinning down the internal drives regardless of your power profile settings. (If they’re mechanical you should definitely notice a few second delay on spin-up.)

Normally if they’re not spinning down, you’ll see open handles from either the OS doing indexing, or AV/security software touching the drive in the background, etc.

Please sent an email to support@plugable.com with “Ticket 75566” in the subject line and we’ll be happy to provide the other firmware.