leave external hd on?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by JonD25, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. JonD25 macrumors 6502

    Feb 9, 2006
    Reading the article about leaving your Mac on got me thinking. I have an external firewire drive that I don't use too often, so I usually only turn it on when I need something from it real quick. But do people generally leave their externals on and mounted constantly? And am I potentially cutting it's life span by turning it off and on only when I need it?
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    I've had mine turned off for about 99% of it's life. I just turn it on to backup or read off of it.
  3. tivoboy macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2005
    turn it off

    I turn my external off, for most of the time. I know they should be able to run all the time, AND research shows that the ON/OFF cycle/s is what reduces life and or can create some of the issues drives have. but, I feel that if I really only need it every 4-5 days, for backup and or accessing some large files or my itunes music library, I might as well leave it off.

    As well, I go out of town for long periods of time and would just rather not forget to turn it off after shutting down
  4. Heb1228 macrumors 68020


    Feb 3, 2004
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Especially if it doesn't spin down when not in use, you need to turn it off.

    If it does spin down, it shouldn't make much difference. Just depends on how often you need to access it. If you use it every day, I'd leave it on. If you just use it a couple times a week, I'd say turn it off.
  5. Eniregnat macrumors 68000


    Jan 22, 2003
    In your head.
    Once you eject the drive, it should spool down, thus saveing ware.

    For the most part, I have drives on only while I am actively useing them, but I sometimes forget and leave them on, but not active.
  6. timswim78 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 8, 2006
    Baltimore, MD
    I'm guessing that if you rarely use your drive, it is best to leave it turned off. I think this because spinning hard drives generate heat, as do their power supplies.

    I have a couple of Minipals that I use for backups, and I leave them turned off, except for when I do backups once or twice a week.
  7. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    turn it off

    all my externals are turned off except when in use.

    no sense with wear and tear, even if it spins down. why take the chance?

    plus, it's really just a waste of energy (sure..might be a very small amount, but anything unused is silly).
  8. JonD25 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 9, 2006
  9. ScottB macrumors regular


    Jul 13, 2005
    I have a firewire external that's on 24/7, along with my computer. Never had any problems. This is only because all my apps and my home folder are stored on here, it would be different with a laptop.
  10. kbonnel macrumors 6502

    Mar 1, 2004
    In a nice place..
    I have 3 external FW drives attached that I leave on all the time. 1 of them is for my Music, and the other two are for nightly backups that I run on my PB. I see no issues, and have been doing this for over 2 years. Of course things will fail eventually, but nothing lasts forever.

    I have noticed, though, that sometimes OSX will not be able to access one or two of the external drives forcing me to disconnect them in order for OSX to run properly (otherwise I have to wait for OSX to time out while it tries to communicate with the device). I think this has too do more with what kind of chipset your external device has, as some chipsets might not play 100% nice with your Mac. I have also noticed that if I tell OSX to put disks too sleep when not in use causes more of these disconnect issues than if I were to leave them on 100% of the time. Sure it means I use a little bit more energy, but causes a lot less headaches.

  11. plinkoman macrumors 65816


    Jul 2, 2003
    New York
    umm, it's better to leave it on. unless you use it extremely rarely, turning it off and on increases wear; much more then leaving it on 24/7.
  12. captainbeefheat macrumors regular

    Jan 21, 2006
    I did for a while leave it on all day then turn it off at night, but that seemed kinda pointless as it stores my music library it's in use quite a bit. The fans goes off after a while of non use so it makes no noise.

    Energy wise I got so many things on standby when there not in use anyway I doubt one more is going to make much difference. Plus inactive or stuff on standby uses such tiny amounts of electricity anyway, well even when there running computers don't take up much electricity in comparison to other stuff, it's more about how clean the electricity is.
  13. ethen macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2005
    if you are using it for purpose other than backup it should be fine. running a hdd will always takes out it's lifespan
  14. p0intblank macrumors 68030

    Sep 20, 2005
    New Jersey
    I use a USB 2.0 drive and leave it on all the time. I use it as my primary drive for iPhoto and iTunes, so leaving it on all the time is kind of required for me. ;)

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