My external hard drive continues to move heads after the safe removal in Windows OS. The drive disappears from file system (My Computer), the action light on the drive stops blinking but I feel the head moving when the drive is in my arm. The HDD appears to work by itself for about a minute or a few and then stops moving heads (the disk is still spinning). No malfunction was detected, no viruses so far (Avira antivirus is installed). And it is not the OS cache that is written because I eject the drive not just after coping something.

I suppose that the drive can do some maintenance without the operating system but is true? I don't want to disconnect the drive when the heads are moving so I need to wait for some time (but I don't want).

P.S. Seagate Expansion Portable Drive 2.5" 4 TB (STEA4000400), Windows 7 64. Thank you!

  • What you describe does not seem abnormal. You would be safe to disconnect the USB connection. What you describe is not being caused by malicious software. – Ramhound Oct 3 '17 at 14:10

Just because the OS is done with the drive, doesn't mean the drive is done.

It does have it's own firmware and a (granted, it's small) local cache that could still be writing out whatever's in its cache.

Also, at least on the OS side but guessing firmware too, power saving options will spin the drive down as often as possible.

If it's only got the one USB connection that does power and data, just give it a bit to spin down, it can't hurt, and it would ensure no data corruption from unplugging early.

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  • I have just checked, the drive cache is as big as 128 MBytes (I supposed it is 8...16 MB). But still I can't imagine that it writes 128 MB for minutes. I will measure the exact time in that is stops moving heads after safe removing next time. – Alexander Oct 3 '17 at 20:31
  • The drive works for about 2 minutes after safe removing. And I noticed this time that it works by itself without blinking the led when no action is in progress before safe removing also. So it is firmware working but not only the cache flushing (too long) I suppose. – Alexander Oct 6 '17 at 8:55
  • I'd bet it's finished up whatever was in cache after a few seconds, then the rest is just the waiting for the powersaving settings to kick in and park the heads and spin down the platters. So long as the heads are parked, you can't do damage by pulling the power, but I can't tell you when that happens... – s1ns3nt Oct 6 '17 at 12:32
  • I do feel the "random" movement of the heads when the drive is in my palm for 2 minutes, it's not only the vibration of spinning plates. – Alexander Oct 7 '17 at 16:20

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