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How to setup Windows to not put my external drive to sleep?

I have an HP Windows 7 box and a few various brands of external USB drives.

One major annoyance of this set up has been that these drives will go to sleep every ten minutes. That causes really annoying delays whenever I get a save dialog in an application or try to play a new iTunes song as it waits for these drives to spin back up and reconnect. Sometimes it just locks up Windows.

Is there a way to prevent this? Maybe an open source application that can keep these drives awake while Windows is running?


Go into the Power Options in Control Panel, then click on "Change Plan Settings" for your plan, then there should be an option "Change advanced power settings", then look under the "Hard Disk" and "USB Settings" areas.

This one may not be the actual answer, but set your "Turn off Hard Disk after" to never (set 0), but I think the real one is to set "USB selective suspend settings" to "disabled" at least when plugged in...but maybe also when on battery if you are using it that way when it happens.

In response to your comment that it did not work, try this too. Go into device manager, to the USB root hubs, and turn off the save power option. Also try to do it for your disk too under hard disks (it may not have this option, but check anyway).

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  • thanks! I'll start with the selective suspend option and will report back on the results! – DA. Jul 12 '11 at 16:04
  • alas, neither of those worked. :( – DA. Jul 14 '11 at 21:44
  • OK, then try also making sure that they are exempt from power management. I will add a scrrenshot to the answer. Although I am just having you check the USB hubs, check to see if you can turn off power management for the disk too. – KCotreau Jul 14 '11 at 21:50
  • Thanks, KCotreau. I did check that and they were all unchecked. Bummer. Looks like it's perhaps what Moab suggests and that there's some firmware settings. – DA. Jul 15 '11 at 14:49
  • Do you have to restart your computer to get any of these options to work? I just factory reset my laptop and now I can't for the life of me figure out how to get my harddrives to stop going to sleep every 5 minutes again. Its maddening! – B T Jan 2 '17 at 5:44

Some enclosures have this setting in the device itself. My Seagate has software to control this and other firmware features.

  • 4
    This was what I needed for a WD My Passport external drive. The download from their site WD Drive Utilities for Windows has a "Sleep Timer" section which was set to 30 minutes by default. – JYelton Apr 29 '16 at 15:57
  • @JYelton can confirm, WD Drive Utilities lets you turn off default 30 min sleep timer, thank you. For all other drives, I use NoSleepHD: nosleephd.codeplex.com – degenerate Aug 27 '16 at 16:01

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