Time machine drive constantly spins up and down

Discussion in 'macOS' started by afultz075, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. afultz075 macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2007
    I've been noticing that my Time Machine drive constantly spins up and down. It will obviously spin up whenever the drive is scheduled to backup, and then it will spin down and sleep about 5 minutes after that process is over. It will then sleep for 5-10 minutes and then will *always* spin up for no reason. It eventually goes back to sleep and sometimes has another random spin up and spin down cycle before it backs up again.

    I know it is not good for the drive to have it spinning up and down so much throughout the course of an hour for 12+ hours a day. I would think that the drive would only wake to backup or when I need to access a file, but alas it always seems to spin up and down 1-2 times between backups for no reason at all. Do all Time Machine drives do this? If it makes a difference, I have the drive split into two partitions, one for TM and one to backup another hard drive (this partition is very rarely accessed). Any ideas what process is causing this or if this is abnormal?

    I am seriously worried about my drive dying a premature death if this keeps going on. Should I just set in my power saver settings to keep the drives spinning all the time to avoid the constant spinup/spindown
  2. KettyKrueger macrumors 6502a


    Feb 17, 2007
    My external drivers always randomly spin too. I woundn't worry too much about it.

    Are you clicking the drive in Finder? That would obviously cause it tp spin up.
  3. afultz075 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2007
    Just thought i'd bump this thread to see if I could get some more insight. This problem is driving me nuts to the point where I only turn on my TM drive every couple days to backup. I feel like OSX is slowly killing my hard drive by making it spin up and down so much.
  4. smirking macrumors 65816


    Aug 31, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    I was having this problem on my Time Capsule last night. I've had this problem intermittently in the past and the problem eventually went away. It's been happening a lot lately and last night it was every five minutes and it was driving me crazy. I eventually got it to stop though I'm not sure how. Here's a list of things I tried. Maybe one of these will work for you.

    • Unplugged Time Capsule for 10 minutes
    • Ran some pending MacOS updates
    • Rebooted my Mac
    • Closed out of a bunch of terminal windows I was running stuff in.
    • Unplugged an Airport Express router that was extending my Air Port with Time Capsule.
    If I could choose any of these that I think did it, it might be the last one. I couldn't get Time Capsule to stop spinning up and down even when my Mac was turned off so it's hard for me to see how a reboot or a system update would have been any different. I also thought of unplugging the Airport Express as a last step before I opened the stupid thing up and unplugged the hard drive.

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