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There IS a solution for this. The problem.. I lost it.

It was a ... hdparm? sdparm? smartmontools? I cant recall it. Anyway, it was using a Linux tool (Win port of it) to turn it off, and Unlocker to unlock the drive.

I found this in a blog post using Google..after some hours. Guess it'd take even more now. If anyone have the solution for this, please post it!

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What is the question here? To turn off an external HDD, you use its power button... – sleske Jul 12 '10 at 16:06
...and why wouldn't you want to do it safely? – Rowland Shaw Jul 12 '10 at 16:07
Nononono. Like.. turning it off. Not the power button. It's not graceful at all. It just cust the power, I don't like it. On XP, you hear it spin down. Cool. On Vista/Win7.. CLICK ...and its done. Like when you plug out your power cable from PC. I don't like it at all. And it's not just me. Also, I'd like to turn off inner HDDs as well. It can be done with that solution. – Shiki Jul 12 '10 at 16:07
@Rowland - Safely remove is a name. It checks only if something is using it. But it won't spin it down, just oh want to hear some scary sound? You can remove it now to hear it. And there you go. It's not safe at all. – Shiki Jul 12 '10 at 16:08
(Also, I heard in some PC with some external, it does spin down the HDD. But usually it does not. With this, it works flawless.) – Shiki Jul 12 '10 at 16:09

This solution is a simple registry change to revert to Windows XP behaviour. Works great for me on Windows 7.

To apply the workaround globally for all enumerated USB devices, add a REG_DWORD value named DisableOnSoftRemove that has a value of 1 to the following registry subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\usbhub\HubG

  1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit in the Open box, and then click OK .
  2. Locate and then click the following subkey in the registry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\usbhub
  3. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click Key.
  4. Type HubG for the name of the new key, and then press ENTER.
  5. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD (32-bit) Value.
  6. Type DisableOnSoftRemove for the name of the DWORD Value, and then press ENTER.
  7. Right-click DisableOnSoftRemove, and then click Modify.
  8. In the Value data box, type 1 , and then click OK.
  9. Exit Registry Editor.
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You need two things for this.
1) SDParm win executable
2) Unlocker

Unpack sdparm into C:\Windows\System32 (if you want to be able to use sdparm as a simple command). Now, install Unlocker.

I used the following commands.
unlocker /S D:
sdparm --command=sync D:
sdparm --command=stop D:

Aaand there you go!

Here is the bat file:

sh.bat D: | Stops drive D: (Unlocks, sync, stop)
shs.bat D: | Start drive D:

Note: You also have to put Unlocker.exe into system32. Also, for some reason, only copy worked for me. So I opened a command line. Typed: copy "C:\unlocker.exe" "C:\Windows\System32\" and so on with sdparm also.

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Here's a link to where you can download Unlocker. I suggest a version prior to 1.9 because of a lot of new adware bloat (google it to learn more). – Pat Mar 16 '11 at 2:24
@Pat Pre 1.9.0 versions do not have 64-bit support. And, as far as I can tell, the 'adware' is just bundled toolbars that can be deselected on installation. If you leave the checkboxes ticked, well, that's your fault/choice. Always read what the installer says. – Bob Jun 11 '12 at 12:22

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