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I have 2 non-system SATA HDDs which are not mapped to a dir and normally kept 'offline' on my Windows 7 OS. Even this way they spin up from time to time, including but not limited to windows update times.

It's easy on Linux but, what is the best way to spin down a HDD on demand using as small 3rd party software as possible on Windows? Or even, is there a 3rd party software allowing this?

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migrated from Nov 23 '10 at 13:48

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

I've voted up the question because I'd love to know the answer too. Since you have a (good) tendency to answer your own questions, I'll keep this one favourited. – user3463 Nov 25 '10 at 5:33
Have you tried going into Device Manager, Disk Drives, right clicking and disabling the individual drives? – Robert Kerr Nov 29 '10 at 13:00
Strange, I barely leave any comment with no replies, and I'm nearly sure I did reply to all comments in this question. Are my comments lost or what? – SuperDuck Dec 26 '13 at 8:34

Its not immediate, but you approximate what you're after by using Control Panels > Power Options to power down your harddrive after a set amount of idleness e.g. 1 min.

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Yes, however that setting applies to all drives including the system drive; which would result in a start-stop loop with an extremely high frequency, shortening the life of your HDD and degrade performance and more noise. – SuperDuck Dec 14 '10 at 17:31
@SuperDuck - Noted. Please note this was a genuine error and not part of a cunning plan to get people to move onto OS X/ Linux ;) – 5arx Dec 15 '10 at 12:52
lol - ok, noted =) – SuperDuck Dec 15 '10 at 17:03

Microsoft provides a command line tool called Devcon.
You can write down batch processes to disable/enable your hardware devices using it.

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Is enabling/disabling synonymous with spinning down a hard disk though? I have just disabled two HDD but I believe they are still spinning – deed02392 Aug 21 '13 at 22:18

Since you are familiar with Linux, stick to the smartctl command-line utility of smartmontools. You can spin down disks with the -s switch. From the man page:

standby,now - [ATA only] Places the drive in the STANDBY mode. This usually spins down the drive. The setting of the standby timer is not affected.

It requires an elevated prompt and the Linux /dev/sdX-style of referring to disks when they are unmapped, otherwise:

> smartctl.exe -s standby,now d:
smartctl 6.5 2016-05-07 r4318 [x86_64-w64-mingw32-win10] (sf-6.5-1)
Copyright (C) 2002-16, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke,

Device placed in STANDBY mode

Unfortunately, there is not much to prevent Windows from spinning the disks back up again whenever it so pleases.

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Another solution would be to set the drive spin down time in the drive firmware to immediately spin down. I've done this in FreeBSD using ataidle.

There seems to be a windows tool to do this, but I've never used it. Use at your own risk

The benefit here is that the drive is controlling its spin-down time, so it'll work the same way anywhere without a program watching it.

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Hmm... My solution isn't on-demand in fact. It might become troublesome when trying to use the drives normally. Why don't you mark them disabled in Windows 7 hardware manager? That might make sure they won't spin-up in the first place. And... this suggestion was already mentioned. Go me. – RandomInsano Dec 30 '10 at 10:14

On Windows 7, "HDDScan" version v3.3 worked for me. Startup HDDScan, select your disk from the drop-down box, click the icon of the magnifying glass overtop the hard disk, click Features -> IDE Features, click Spindown.

Looks like there is also an option to set an inactivity timer.

I downloaded the program from here:

I was originally going to download Devcon but this was much quicker and I'm on a limited data plan.

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It's the applications which try to access these drives if you havent told windows indexer to index those drives. you can use resource monitor to see which applications are accessing or have recently accessed to which hard drives. you can configure applications using their own settings pages,forms etc.

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Thanks. As this question is from 6 years back, I don't currently have the environment to test it. However, when you switch a disk to offline, Windows and you won't see files'n folders, not even volumes and drive letters. As there are no files or volumes, normal applications won't see the drive, and the resource monitor won't help you there. – SuperDuck Jul 20 at 7:09

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