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I have an external hard drive. While I am not reading or writing any data to the hard drive can I directly unplug the device? Will this practice damage the hard drive? If any data is corrupted due to this practice that is not a problem for me. Will this practice damage my hard drive?

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marked as duplicate by Breakthrough, TFM, Dennis, Nifle, Ellesa Mar 15 '13 at 6:01

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What sort of device is it? –  Ramhound Mar 14 '13 at 16:41
    
I have a sata 320gb external hard drive. –  Dibya Mar 14 '13 at 16:41
    
@DibyaRanjan - You should always safely remove any device that has files on it. –  Ramhound Mar 15 '13 at 2:09

3 Answers 3

Drives manufactured since at least the mid-1990s have auto-parking features. The oldest 320 GB drive out there is newer than that.

Given your lack of concern about data loss, you do not need to worry about the process of safely removing your disks.

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By default, most operating systems use what's called write caching to get better performance out of your computer. When you write a file to another drive—like a flash drive—the OS waits to actually perform those actions until it has a number of requests to fulfill, and then it fulfills them all at once (this is more common when writing small files). When you hit that eject button, it tells your OS to flush the cache—that is, make sure all pending actions have been performed—so you can safely unplug the drive without any data corruption.

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If you choose "Quick removal", which disables write caching, the chances of data loss are decreased.

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I can live with data loss. Will this result in damaging the hard drive? –  Dibya Mar 14 '13 at 16:31
    
@DibyaRanjan Spinning disks do not like when power is abruptly cut off from the device, and by ejecting the device first you can allow Windows to park the read/write heads off to the side so no damage occurs. –  CC Inc Mar 14 '13 at 16:32
    
Which means if the disk is still spinning when you cut the power/remove it, there is a chance of damage only to the files. I doubt the hard drive itself could be physically damaged. –  CC Inc Mar 14 '13 at 16:33
    
If no operation is going on the harddrive will it keep spinning? –  Dibya Mar 14 '13 at 16:38
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@DibyaRanjan No, the hard drive will not spin if there is no operation being preformed. –  CC Inc Mar 14 '13 at 16:40

No, but recommended. If you were to "unsafely" remove a device during a copy / paste operation or something similar, it might break.

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I understand the risk of loosing data but I am not bothered about data. Can you tell will this damage my hard drive –  Dibya Mar 14 '13 at 16:32
    
@DibyaRanjan No, you shouldn't have to worry about it damaging anything, but the files which are in movement. –  Web_Designer Mar 14 '13 at 16:35

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