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Will remote desktop still work when Windows has turned off the hard drive? Can I still login remotely?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Yes, the computer should spin up the disk and allow you to remote in.

However, if the computer is suspended or hibernated, it will not.

The most important thing to do is test. Many computers, hardware, and OSs have different definitions of sleep/suspend/hibernate/etc. Be sure to test out how they work on your PC to see if certain options do/dont work for you.

Another thing to look into is wake-on-lan functionality (WoL).

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Is it better or worse for the hard drive to turned on/off very often? – Jim Aug 27 '11 at 23:11
Modern hard drives are very robust. You should have no issues leaving them on for years at a time, or spinning them up and down. Ive set up a Win98 machine just under 10 years ago that has been running non-stop until a few months ago when the company shut down. It was never shut off or rebooted, the OS never crashed, nor did the drive die - and it was constantly spinning and reading from disk – Keltari Aug 27 '11 at 23:19

when Windows has turned off the hard drive?

This doesn't matter much – turning off the hard drive only causes it to spin down, but does not stop the OS or programs, and you still can log in. (The drive will spin up automatically whenever disk access happens.)

while computer's in power saving mode

When the entire computer is in "sleep" or "suspend" mode, almost all of the hardware is turned off – the only part still running is the RAM chips. Since the CPU is turned off too, Windows is not running – you will not be able to log in remotely.

Usually, though, you can wake up the computer over the network by using Wake on LAN: when this feature is enabled, the network card is powered just enough to watch for the WoL magic packet. (WoL is designed for use within local networks, but it's possible, although somewhat complicated, to use it over Internet too.)

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