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I have removed a 500 GB Barracuda internal hard disk drive from my old laptop

This is an actual spinning magnetic hard disk and not an SSD

I have a USB converter cable for it that lets me connect this drive to the PC through USB, like a USB drive

If I eject this drive through the "Remove Safely" button on the Windows taskbar, I get the notification that it is safe to remove this device and the drive icons disappear from my computer, but I can still hear some rotating sound from inside the hard disk. I still need to get close to the disk and listen carefully to hear it though. Is this normal sound for this kind of hard disk? If I unplug the USB cable I cannot hear anything and since I am sure it doesn't have any kind of fan inside I think it is probably the sound of the disk still spinning. Is it safe to unplug the USB even though I can hear this spinning sound? Is there any way to comppletely turn the power off to this drive before unplugging it, after performing the windows safe to remove function?

The connector cable looks something like this:
https://www.crucial.com/usa/en/ctsatausbcable

  • I have only done this with SATA, unplugging both data and power cables but not with 4 pin molex power from the power supply, BIOS may freak. If it is SATA I would say it is safe to remove the power. – vssher Jan 1 at 7:36
  • @vssher what do you mean? My connector just has a single USB cable – user13267 Jan 1 at 7:38
  • Then if it is only a USB plug, yes it is safe, you may hear only the hard disk winding down. – vssher Jan 1 at 7:41
  • @vssher but the sound is there as long as there is power. Is that normal? – user13267 Jan 1 at 7:42
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    Unmounting only means that the data connection to the device has been shut down. If it spins down the disk or not is up to the USB-adapter. Some spin the disc down other keep it running. Therefore it is safe to remove the disc as long as you don't move it - just be careful when unplugging the USB cable not to move the HDD. – Robert Jan 1 at 12:42
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Is there any way to comppletely turn the power off to this drive before unplugging it, after performing the windows safe to remove function?

Yes, apparently by making a registry edit.
When HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\usbhub\hubg\DisableOnSoftRemove is set to 1, then power to the USB device is supposed to be turned off when that USB device gets a 'safe removal' request.

For instructions, see
https://www.groovypost.com/howto/windows-safely-remove-usb-devices-power-off/
or
https://www.raymond.cc/blog/power-off-usb-port-when-safely-removed-usb-device-in-windows-7/


Your actual results may vary.
Out of four different USB adapters that I tried, three powered off its attached HDD as expected. But a fourth adapter simply blinked its indicator LED, and the HDD remained powered up and spinning.

  • But won't this affect any USB device connected to the ports from that point onwards? I was just wondering if it is possible to do this for the hard drives, while not affecting anything else. Or, I guess my main question is if it safe to just pull out the USB cable or not, if the drive keeps spinning after safe removal from windows. As long as it is safe to just unplug the USB cable I think it better to not do anything – user13267 Jan 1 at 12:47
  • "But won't this affect any USB device connected to the ports from that point onwards?" -- No. Why do you assume such negative consequences? – sawdust Jan 2 at 6:08

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