do all external hard drive cause a temporary system freeze when turning on?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by enigma2k, Oct 1, 2011.

  1. enigma2k macrumors regular

    May 12, 2010
    I have an old western digital elements desktop external HD that automatically turns off after 5 minutes and randomly turns on even if I don't want to access it.
    And this is where my problem is: The HD is on standby and when I press on e.g. Chrome to start, the HD suddenly turns on and the Chrome icon (in the dock) begins jumping as long as the HD needs to turn on. So any app start takes as long as the hard drive needs to turn on.
    And all this happens on a SSD drive where apps normally start instantly.

    Is this issue still present with the new Hard Drives? (WD My Book Essential USB3.0)
  2. duffer6 macrumors 6502

    Feb 13, 2011
    This is normal. This is the power saving features within Mac OS that cause the external drives to spin up and spin down periodically. Do you have under the energy saving panel to spin down the hard drive when possible. If you uncheck that it may spin your hard drive down less but again it could cause your hard drive to stay active when not needed. Great for removing the delay you speak of but bad for power use and long term life of your external HD.

    Lastly your external HD wakes up because the Mac OS X is calling for it. For example when you launch chrome, chrome looks for cached information across all HD including internal and external including searching for cookies. So you may not be aware of what apps call up your external HD but in my experience it is almost all of them. I think this is the only issue I have with OS X is how it handles power management with external drives.

    So to answer your question, yes your external drive is normal. The 5 to 10 second delay is normal and they only thing you can do to avoid it is "eject," the external HD from your desktop when not is use.

    Hope this helps.
  3. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago

    I tend to boot my NAS and network stuff on after I've booted, some of the older HDD's take time to spin up, and hence the slight "jerk" you mention.

    When I see it too often, I replace the older drive when they really start to lag behind you just know it's time for the big hammer and a newbie!

    Before disaster...!

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