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Does it make sense to enable "deactivate harddisk after..." on a stationary computer? Which interval should I prefer?

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Does it even make sense? My Windows7 here is always reading/writing something to the disk every couple of minutes; even with most services disabled and no programs open. –  iHaveacomputer Aug 15 '11 at 3:09

3 Answers 3

Deactivating the hard disk after a specified time can save electricity, mind you it doesn't save a great deal. Its mostly used for laptops which have a very limited battery capacity.

You could set it for something like 5 hours and it shouldn't really effect you. It just means that if you leave your computer on, walk away for 5 hours and come back, the hard drive will take a few seconds to spin up.

tl;dr Personally, I wouldn't bother with it.

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Maybe. My line of thinking is: it's mechanics (rotational drive) and all mechanics wears down with use. So deactivating the drive might prolong its lifetime. Unfortunately, I have no data to support this conjecture.

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Spin time is not as critical, but the number of spin up-down (load-unload cycles) takes more life out of the average hard drive. –  Moab Feb 10 '11 at 17:47

Whether shutting down disk after idle time prolongs lifetime or not depends heavily on what your computer is doing.

If you are using it very irregularly (sometimes 8 hours and then not over weekend, but it's still powered on), and there is no background services reading disk regularly, spinning it down is obviously good idea. Worst case is that it's often spinning down and almost immediately back up (down after 3 hours of idle; and you or some program is accessing it once every 4 hours, for example).

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