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My desktop has a non-OS drive D: 2000MB WD Green (model WD20EARS-00MVWB0, firmware version 51.0AB51).

After the computer boots / wakes from sleep, in the first time I access D: drive, the program which accesses it (Explorer / etc.) locks up for several seconds. If the computer wakes up and there was some program accessing the drive (say, an Explorer window open), then the log-on screen will lockup for several seconds.

I presume the drive's firmware deliberately spins-up only on access, and I want to disable this behavior. I've found an Anandtech post that mentions WD's WDIDLE3.exe utility. However, this utility lists several 750-1000MB drive, with a stern warning not to use on any other drives. There's also idle3-tools, but that's only for Linux.

How can I disable this behavior through Windows?

OS: Windows 8 64-bit, though it happened with Windows XP as well.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Read through this WD forum thread and this WD Knowledge Base article carefully. The WD20EARS Green drive is supported by the WDIdle3 utility. I have used it myself from an MS-DOS/FreeDOS USB stick to change the idle timer, and I believe WDIDLE3 /D should disable the timer completely (or at least set it to its max supported value; check WDIDLE3 /? for all supported options).

Note: Although the operation should be safe (I ran it on a drive that was almost full), it's always a good idea to have a backup of your data before attempting something like this.

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Thanks, I'll try that after I setup a backup (at least of irreplaceable material). – Jonathan Jan 8 '13 at 18:59

IIRC the "green" range can't have these features tweaked any more, thought the "black" (and perhaps also the "blue") ranges do - they are pretty much locked to the low-power settings.

Though this is 2nd-hand information as I bought different drives instead having found people discussing similar issues.

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I can confirm that your second-hand info. is incorrect. – Karan Jan 7 '13 at 23:43
Fair enough. At the time I was looking I got the impression that some Green drives supported the switching of those options bits (along with others like "RAID-quick-fail") but most didn't and you could not guarantee which revision of the units you were getting. +1 for providing a detailed answer. – David Spillett Jan 8 '13 at 17:52

I had the same problem when backup my Linux servers to WD green USB drives. Simple way to do this is to ping the drive every minute or so. In Linux I do this via crontab, in windows you can do this by creating a little bat script and running it in Scheduled Tasks.


D: dir


Create a scheduled tax to run this every minute or so.

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Thanks for the workaround. I'm more interested in the post boot/wake-up behavior, for which a scheduled task will no help much. – Jonathan Jan 7 '13 at 20:23
You could hook something to the wake-up phase that read something relatively random (to reduce the chance of it being in cache) from the drive (or wrote a small temporary file to the drive and forced a flush-to-disk). I know the Linux power management tools in most distros allow this relatively easily so I assume Windows has a way too. That would spin up the drive as fast as anything could after a wake from sleep or hibernate. – David Spillett Jan 7 '13 at 22:11

I use QuietHDD. Set APM to 255 and AAM to 254 (these are max settings). It will hopefully ensure that your drive won't spin down.

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