Is it better to unplug the external drive after use?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by hajime, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. hajime macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007
    Hello. I am using a Seagate FreeAgent USB External drive and Time Machine to back up my MBP. On average, I backup once a day. To keep the drive in good condition for a long long time, is it better to disconnect the drive physically after use? So far, I just unmount the drive from the desktop. However, to use it again, I have to physically unplug it from the USB port and then plug it in again. (Is there another way without unplugging?) This may cause a loose connection in the future. This has happened to my USB Flash Drive. Thanks.
  2. kastenbrust macrumors 68030


    Dec 26, 2008
    North Korea
    USB flash drives are very fragile and as you said disconnecting them a lot can break them, but proper hard drives are a whole different game, i really wouldnt worry....servers have them running for 5 years consistently sometimes, so its unlikely your going to extend your hard drives life by unplugging it. Just leave it plugged in and chill :)
  3. bay2sacto macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2008
    Instead of unplugging and replugging your drive you can go to Disk Utility and mount your USB drive. Just find it on the left, click on it and then click the mount button on the top.

    And all modern external HDs have power save capabilities built in. Coupled with the OS X power save functions, your external should/can spin down and power off when not being accessed. That's what mine do. I have 2 externals. One is a Seagate Freeagent Desk 500gb and the other is a Maxtor Onetouch 4 1TB. The only drawback is having to wait 10-20 second for it to come out of power save and spin up.
  4. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    Just keep it plugged up. My WD hard drives automatically power down when not in use. I have them attached to an Airport Extreme Base Station. I think the oldest one is a good 3 years old. If your drives aren't POS, then you should be fine for a good while.
  5. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007
    I'm not sure about the drive being more fragile. What I have discovered is this, the controller in USB enclosures very from different manufactures, some are good and many are really bad!!

    Why bad?

    Some enclosures controllers don't actually send the appropriate commands to the drive, allowing the heads to park safely prior to disconnection. Even when you unmount them via the disk utility, the heads are still on the drives platters (placing your ears to the drive will confirm this) If and when the drive heads are parked, the only sound you should be able to hear is the spinning of the platters.

    A good USB enclosures will park the drives heads whenever you eject the drive. After dismounting, it'll continue to spin down the drive, all before you've physically disconnected it.

    Kastenbrust, comparing notebook drives to enterprise servers drives, is like comparing Apple's and Oranges, seriously.
  6. hajime thread starter macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007
  7. harry454 macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2007

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