Do you run your external drives all day?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by dogbone, Apr 27, 2006.

  1. dogbone macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2005
    S33.687308617200465 E150.31341791152954
  2. Vaphoron macrumors 6502


    Aug 5, 2004
    I only have my external drives on when I need them and then I unmount and turn them off when I am finished.
  3. ColdFlame87 macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2004
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I actually leave my single 160 GB HD all day and night, as there are files within that i constantly access and my iTunes Library is also located within it
  4. dogbone thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2005
    S33.687308617200465 E150.31341791152954
    How old is your drive? And does it get quite warm. Also does it concern you that it might crap out?
  5. UKnjb macrumors 6502a


    May 23, 2005
    London, UK
    That's what I do too.
  6. crazycat macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2005
    I keep it on all daqy and night, but after reading this thread i might switch it off more.
  7. SpaceMagic macrumors 68000


    Oct 26, 2003
    Cardiff, Wales
    What's the difference leaving an external drive on over an internal one? I do it - night and day.
  8. dogbone thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2005
    S33.687308617200465 E150.31341791152954
    Yes, this is something I have started to think about and i wondered why I never thought about it before I got an external drive.

    I'm coming to the conconclusion that it's just an irrational feeling based on the fact that the external drive is now in sight and therefore in mind.

    I did used to wonder about the internal drive sleeping and spinning up but not as much as the external now I have one.

    But the more I try to understand what is the best way to treat it the harder it is to get some kind of an answer. Look at this question and response I got from the La Cie technical support.

    In my system preferences there is an option to sleep hard disks when
    possible Im not sure what is the best option to have. ie, is it worse for
    the drive to keep spinning up and down again or is it best to leave this
    option unchecked.

    I have noticed that even if I leave the above option unchecked, the la cie
    will still stop and go cold after a while.

    Is there any harm that can come to the hard drive if it stays warm for a
    long time. Ive noticed that if I unmount the drive it powers down. Is it a
    good idea to do this or just leave it mounted and let it eventually shut
    itself down if it isnt being used?

    They replied

    We recommend that you eject and turn off the hard drive when not in use. If
    you use it on and off during a working day then it is OK to leave it on till
    you finish for the day.

    In other words they said Yes then said No. Weird.

    I suppose the reason that I or anyone would care is only because of the fear of a catastrophic hard drive failure.

    here was another question and answer

    If the drive spins up and down say about 10 times a day, and remains on all
    day, what would be the expected average length of time before it had a fatal

    failure? One year, Two, Five, Ten?

    There is no way I can answer that question. A hard drive is made from very
    delicate electrical and mechanical parts. From my own personal experience I
    have had hard drives last 4-5 years while others last under a year.

    I must say I wasn't encouraged by that answer, this tech support guy seems to be suggesting 4-5 years as a maximum! Does this mean after 5 years one should think about backing up a hard drive and trashing it?.

    But then we've all used computers that have been running internal drives for 10 years and more without failure.

    Who knows. It's very tricky getting some straightforward answers.
  9. dogbone thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2005
    S33.687308617200465 E150.31341791152954
    Another thing I've noticed is that my La Cie will power down if it isn't being used whether the energy saver is set to 'sleep hard disk(s) where possible or not.
  10. Brize macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2004
    I do the same, mainly because I can do without the additional noise.
  11. ColdFlame87 macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2004
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Well its been keeping pretty cool and i figured if the internal hard drive is in constant use inside computers, then an external hd being left on constantly couldnt be that much different from say someone who leaves their computer on all day and night.
  12. macOSX-tastic macrumors 6502a


    Jan 9, 2005
    At the Airport. UK
    i only have mine on when i need it; standby draws so much power!

  13. arcsbite Guest

    Jan 14, 2006
    I have a regular 250gb 3.5" external, I've had it for about 2 and a half years.
    the only time i've ever powered it down is when i'm away, or when i'm moving it.

    I leave it on day and night and it's been fine.

    I also have a lcie 500gb, i've only had it about 6 months, but I also leave it on, it's a lot quieteras it actually spins down after about 10mins on none use, which is great.
    my only peeve is that if I have itunes open, and don't se it for 10mins or so, then play a song, there's a few seconds delay while the lacie spins up again, but after that it's great

    I recommend leaving it on, as it spins down when it needs to, but more impotantly than that...back it up, back it all up.
  14. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    externals are off when not in use

    unless you have an itunes database or something else which you NEED all the time, i would shut them off:

    1. less energy being used (and we, as humans generally speaking, suck as wasting energy) :)
    2. less wear and tear on the HDs

    another post asked what the difference is between turning off internals vs externals...well, imho, internals are cooled more efficiently and usually contain critical data/processes/apps. otherwise i would turn them off.

    actually, i have an esata enclosure with 2 500 GB HDs and if i know i won't be needing them, i'll won't turn on the enclosure. if i ended up neededing them, i do a restart and start the enclosure.

  15. mrichmon macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2003
    I have a bank of three external drives that are hooked up to a mac mini I use as a server. These drives are left on 24/7.

    Wear and tear on the drives is a non issue since I have my energy saver preferences set to spin down the drives when they are not in use. Drives do wear out, but with them spinning down when not in use this is equivalent to unplugging them for the purposes of mechanical wear and tear.

    External drives will spin up when you are accessing the files on the drives and when spotlight is automatically checking the index on the drives. I have spotlight set to not index my external drives to avoid the extra spin-up times since I don't need spotlight searching on these drives.

    Also, if you install Developer Tools there is a utility included that allows you to change to spin-down time for all drives on the system. The time defaults to 10 minutes of inactivity on OS X, but you can reduce or increase this time if you want to.

    Over the past 12 years I've had about 23 different hard drives connected to several desktop computers that I've used over this time. All these machines where keep on 24/7 and the hard drives were typically in use for between 3 and 6 years. In all this time I've had one hard drive failure. The failure was covered by waranty and was a widespread problem with that particular drive model.
  16. mikes63737 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2005
    I have a USB 160 GB LaCie HD connected to my mini. They're both on 24/7 (except for reboots for software updates and such). On my mini, the drive goes to sleep after a certain amount of time.

    I haven't changed any energy settings, and desktop macs (afaik) don't let you change how long the HD spins through System Preferences.
  17. mrichmon macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2003
    This is why I specifically stated that the utility that lets you control the spin-down time is part of Developer Tools. The utility is named "SpindownHD" and can be extracted from the Developer Tools package using pacifist if you don't want/need the full Developer Tools package to be installed.
  18. zorg macrumors regular

    May 3, 2006
  19. Eldentistfuturo macrumors regular

    Oct 11, 2004
  20. disconap macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2005
    Portland, OR
    Me as well. Mostly because I used to run mine 24/7 and then it crashed on me. Hard. Not sure if it was related, but I figure at the very least I am conserving energy...

    (plus I noticed that when I unmount the drive while connected via firewire, it doesn't spin down, but if I unmount when using USB2.0, it does. No idea what that is about)

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