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I have an external usb hard drive on which I clone my mac's hard drive. I have it on a clock timer. It turns on about 30 min. before the backup process starts and turns off roughly 30 min. after the backup process has completed.

I always thought that I was prolonging the life span and reducing the risk of data corruption of my drive with this course of action. However I was wondering if this is the best practice. I heard somewhere (can't remember where) that external usb drives don't "suffer" under being on standby all the time - it actually is better for them and the stored data.

What is the best practice on this topic? Can I read up on this somewhere? Googling did not really help.


PS: please omit any power conservation aspects - I realize that using less power is better. :-)

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Most HDDs don't suffer from this problem. By turning it on or even putting it to sleep you place it under more mechanical strain. Since this is likely daily/weekly, its even worst then a normal usage, and places even more strain. I would do neither. – Ramhound Feb 28 '14 at 12:20
so you would suggest to just leave the drive on? – Joseph Feb 28 '14 at 12:23
Daily backups, I would indeed just leave it on. The HDD will handle its own power state. If its only once every week then powering it down and powering it up isn't the worst. Like I said your worried about the mechanical wear. The data doesn't care one way or another. I just assumed its a mechanical drive and not a flash or SSD – Ramhound Feb 28 '14 at 12:25

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