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Is it better to leave your computer on all the time?

This is a general question about external hard disk drives (hard drive). Is it healthy for the drives to be connected all the time?

I own several brands (Seagate and Western Digital). I tend to unplug them if I'm not going to do any reading/writing for backups. But I'd like to know if I can keep them connected 24/7/365. I do notice that the light is on when they are connected, but are any discs spinning when it's in such a state? I somehow doubt it is unless it's explicitly being accessed by me or the computer.

I do keep my PCs and Macs running 24/7, and I'm not really concerned about the hard drive in them-- or maybe I should be?

Are there any real differences between the internal hard drives and external USB hard drives in terms of keeping them powered all the time? I somehow feel as though the internal hard drives, with the big fans, makes them safer to leave on all the time-- yet I don't know how to quantify it.

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marked as duplicate by Breakthrough, surfasb, ChrisF, studiohack Dec 1 '11 at 5:50

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
@Breakthrough I can see the similarities, but I don't consider it a duplicate. I'm explicitly asking about an external USB device (HDD), whereas that question is asking about an entire computer with access to larger fans, and is generally accepted to be left on 24/7. External HDDs generally have their own power source too. The hardware is a different beast altogether, so to speak. –  sunpech Aug 15 '11 at 0:19
    
It covers the same idea, and many of those answers cover the same material (i.e. leaving a hard drive on for extended periods of time). The upsides and drawbacks are the same - it's up to you to decide if it's worth it or not. Of course you can keep anything connected/running all the time, that's what they were technically created for. It's up to you to make the call in deciding if that's what you actually need of your system or not. –  Breakthrough Aug 15 '11 at 0:21
    
@Breakthrough Although it covers very similar grounds, I think this post is relevant and worth reading: Dr. Strangedupe: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love Duplication –  sunpech Aug 15 '11 at 0:36
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1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Yes, its OK to leave USB or other external drives connected and powered.

The hard drives in the external hard drives are the exact same hard drives in your computer or laptop.

Keeping them powered should not be an issue.

I have never seen an external hard drive/enclosure overheat. Im sure its possible, but leave them on overnight, if the case isnt hot in the morning, you are good to go.

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