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I have a strange problem: Every half hour one of my hard disks gets powered on again. I recognize this by the sound of a hard disk spinning up.

So far I was not able to track which program could cause this.

  • I ran Process Monitor to see whether there is an I/O peak coinciding with the spin-up.
  • I checked Windows event viewer if there is an appropriate event at the same time

Any ideas other than the usual disabling-services/programs etc. (which would be my next investigation step)?

Also, it would be helpful to have a program that shows the current power status of all my drives, if there is one. Harddisk Sentinel unfortunately cannot do the job because it powers on all drives upon start and prevents their going into sleep mode.

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migrated from Nov 4 '12 at 1:34

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

up vote 2 down vote accepted

On technet sysinternals you can find Process Monitor. It can see all the file open or access commands that can cause disk spin up. The downside is that under normal circumstances it collects a lot of information so finding the misbehaving application will be tricky.

If you don't want to access those drives at all, a better option would be to "unmount" the partition. You can do that by unassigning drive letter in Disk Management. Then regular applications shouldn't be able to cause a spin up.

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Thanks Hubert. That is what I already tried. Big problem is when it comes to sorting out the proper time with ProcMon. – Andreas Nov 2 '12 at 14:51
@Andreas Sorry, I don't know of any different applications that can do that on Windows. – Hubert Kario Nov 2 '12 at 20:11
Since there is obviously really no better tool out there, this seems the way to go. – Andreas Nov 15 '12 at 16:32

Start with powercfg /lastwake after a wakeup, then try powercfg /waketimers and powercfg /requests if it isn't anything obvious.

As a last ditch try powercfg /devicequery wake_armed but anything there should show up in the previous commands.

You can use powercfg /devicedisablewake "driver name" or just disable "Device can wake computer" in Device Manager if it's a device, or if it's a wake timer, check the Scheduled Tasks or just disable wake timers entirely:

Disabling wake timers

The command line for this is complicated, but for the Balanced plan it would be:

powercfg /setacvalueindex 381b4222-f694-41f0-9685-ff5bb260df2e 238c9fa8-0aad-41ed-83f4-97be242c8f20 bd3b718a-0680-4d9d-8ab2-e1d2b4ac806d 0

The first GUID is the plan, which is shown by powercfg /l, the second is the "Sleep" group and the last as "Allow wake timers", the 0 being Disable. /setacvalueindex is for plugged in, /setdcvalueindex is for battery.

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There is handy program called "What is my computer doing". Try to track using it.

To control Hard Drives I use program called HDD scan v 2.8 (there are also new releases but this version has certain things I like so I use this version).

I have five hard drives installed in my desktop. When I work with the computer usually only two of them are used (the one with operating system and the another one on which I have data to work with). The rest of drives are powered down and spin up only when I try to access data stored on them (takes about eight seconds for the drive to be spun up and ready).

When I work with the computer all drives that are not used are spun down, but when I leave the computer or when I stop using it then exactly after certain amount of time all remaining drives that were idle suddenly spin up and start work for short period of time (only for a few seconds)

My opinion is that svchost.exe is causing this issue, but I am not certain. I definitively have experience with many programs and applications causing drives to spin up after some time of user inactivity (Antiviruses, firewalls, Indexing services, scanners - like those for removable media, and so on) but to track it is time consuming and tricky.

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Softwares cant do something like this.

It seems to be a hardware problem inside the hard drive. Perform following steps to diagnose the problem:

  • Try to run a SMART test of disk to check for the disk health, which will tell you if your hard drive has any hardware errors in it.

  • hange the power cable for the hard drive

  • Also check if your power supply has enough power that hard drive is getting enough power to run when its being used in peak usage time.

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Software has full control on power state of the HDD – Hubert Kario Nov 2 '12 at 11:04
It does have, that is true.i am assuming under Normal conditions, nothing like that happens using just software. unless there is some virus/malware, which has that level of commands in it to do so. – Farhan Nov 2 '12 at 11:25
Under normal conditions, when the disk had spun down and an application tries to access it, the OS will spin it up to handle the disk access. That's the normal, regular, daily stuff OSs do! – Hubert Kario Nov 2 '12 at 11:33
its not the OS, its the Bios, which spins up the hard drive, to perform the POST. – Farhan Nov 2 '12 at 11:43
And Windows by default does spin them down when it sees that they don't receive any activity. – Hubert Kario Nov 2 '12 at 11:49

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