External hard drives spin up for no reason

Discussion in 'macOS' started by adiosjefe, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. adiosjefe macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2007
    Anyone else notice that their external hard drives spin up for no reason in Leopard?
  2. megatronbomb macrumors regular


    Oct 26, 2007
    Portland, OR

    I've posted a few threads about this around different boards (including here) and haven't really gotten any responses.

    I've noticed that opening Mail causes my external drive(s) to spin up.

    I've got two, one connected via USB the other firewire. I know the firewire drive spins up, it's loud enough to hear. I don't know if the USB drive spins up or not.
  3. iToaster macrumors 68000


    May 3, 2007
    In front of my MacBook Pro
    Well, I believe that it's probably the computer checking in with the external. It is likely that mail checks for file on the external HD, as well as other applications. If you're using time machine, that could also be an explanation with it copying data or just saying "hi."
  4. adiosjefe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2007
    I also have usb and firewire drives. They will spin up while I'm browsing the web. No other apps running and I'm not using Time Machine.
  5. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    Most likely Time Machine. Try turning it off for a few hours and watch.
  6. moutian macrumors member

    Dec 16, 2004
    That cannot be true. I have never turned on the TM.
  7. GNice macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2007
    Ditto...I turned off TM because I need to "relocate" stuff before erasing the drive as is apparently req'd. My WD MyBook external drive just spins up at odd times now...hmmmm. I was guessing it might be getting indexed for something, but I'm too much of a Mac newbie to know whether that guess to totally asinine or not.
  8. ebel3003 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 20, 2007
    "The Google"
    I've noticed the same behavior. I have my computer set to go to only put the monitor sleep but stay running, and even with no applications running the drive will spin up at random. I do not use Time machine either. It's nothing that I'm concerned about, but my Simpletech has lights on it that flash, so in the middle of the night it can be rather annoying.
  9. rmh macrumors regular

    Sep 12, 2007
    Could it possibly be spotlight indexing the HD?
  10. megatronbomb macrumors regular


    Oct 26, 2007
    Portland, OR
    Nope. Time machine isn't turned on.
  11. applesith macrumors 68030


    Jun 11, 2007
    That is what I have found. I have 2 1TB externals and they can take some time to index.
  12. flir67 macrumors 6502

    Jun 23, 2005
    same here, mine spun up in the middle of the afternoon which is odd???
  13. adiosjefe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2007
    I'm not using Time Machine (turned off) and setup Spotlight to not index that drive and it will still spin up for no reason.
  14. jamesgatz macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2007
    Experienced the same thing

    I have 4 externals, one from lacie that always stays on, one from OWC that always stays on, but then a western digital mybook that spins up and down and a seagate that does the same. Post Leopard, the seagate and western digital would only spin up if I was accessing them or if I went to a save file dialogue. Now they spin up and down constantly, throughout the night, and for no reason I can clearly see. Quite annoying, as the western digi is very loud. Also, from what I understand, it is better for any hard drive to just stay in the "on" position and keep the platter spinning, as it is the spinning up and down over and over that could cause it to fail prematurely. For the record, I have not yet used time machine. I hope Apple fixes this, for it is certainly a bug.
  15. expergo macrumors regular

    Nov 21, 2004
    I don't use TM either and mine started spinning up randomly as well. It's a little annoying but I can live with it for now.
  16. machd macrumors newbie

    Sep 8, 2007
    was there ever any answer to this? i'm finding this problem as well
  17. notsofatjames macrumors 6502a


    Jan 11, 2007
    Wales, UK
    maybe its checking its still there. Network drives were a PITA in tiger, so maybe when they fixed that, they made leopard check drives were still present to stop finder hangs. just a possibility.
  18. megatronbomb macrumors regular


    Oct 26, 2007
    Portland, OR
    I've asked around at every forum I could think of and haven't found an answer. I've noticed that opening Mail.app causes the externals to spin up, but other than that it's totally random from what I can tell.

    Hopefully 10.5.1 will take care of it.
  19. bigandy macrumors G3


    Apr 30, 2004
    I'm not sure you'll find an answer - my external drives have always done it in Tiger, and I don't give them the chance on Leopard.

    I just turn the things right off if I'm not actually needing them.

    It's a pain but when I'm working quietly, there's nothing more annoying than the damn things spinning up and down.
  20. jacg macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2003
    Mine spun up just before I saw this thread. Even though I ejected it several hours before. Weird! (It didn't appear to have mounted itself so I still don't know why it started spinning).
  21. nissan.gtp macrumors 6502

    Aug 22, 2007
    mine has started doing this with leopard.

    mildly annoying
  22. quigleybc macrumors 68030


    Jun 17, 2005
    Beautiful Vancouver British Columbia, Canada

    what the hell is the deal with that!

    made me back up my whole external cuz i was convinced it was dying
  23. smearedblue macrumors member

    Mar 7, 2005
    I Knew I Wasn't Hallucinating.

    Alright, so this happens to me too and we need to go through the facts, because, as you all know spinning up your hard drive more than it needs to WILL reduce its life.

    I first blamed time machine, but now see that it isn't that. And I can say that I really don't think it is spotlight indexing, as mine will do it out of nowhere, sometimes in the middle of the night, and I haven't been changing many files on my computer recently.

    I have an odd feeling that it may be network activity, of some sort, and that does kind of worry me.. but I suppose i'm more worried about having to spend another 400$ on a tb of storage just because leopard made the drives die faster.

    I'm going to kill almost all processes and not touch the computer today and try to watch and listen for it to spin up, and see which processes are working. I'm not sure how else to figure it out.. but i don't like it.
  24. smearedblue macrumors member

    Mar 7, 2005
    How does everyone have theirs connected?

    could this be a firewire issue. I'm using firewire800. and it just did it again... honestly.. I really don't know why it's spinning down.. i usually keep my external spinning all the time, just because it's easier on it. this is kind of confusing, and no it didn't do this on tiger.
  25. wiz7dome macrumors regular


    Sep 15, 2003
    Welp I know I am late to the discussion but yes, I have noticed this same thing and it is yet another thing that is annoying the *crocker* out of me!!!

    I click on a news link and BAM!!! I get a spinning beach ball in Safari while the drive spins up. As soon as its done, the page loads. I decide to check the mail, POW, spinning ball until the drive is finished spinning up.

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