I am connecting 1-2 hard drives via E-SATA. Using Windows, is there an option to force "shutting down" that hard drive (until it is needed again)?
You can't do it with Windows directly - the only option you have is through power options but typically this turns off all hard drives at once - there is some specialist power option software (I won't link as links become outdated, just use a search engine).
Or, as you're using e-sata I assume this is external - you could get external sata boxes with power buttons but as per my comments I think the powering up and down would cause more damage than leaving a disc idle.
FYI typically even by disabling the disc in Device Manager does not stop it from using power nor from spinning. If it has power, it is on!
Under the power settings you can set the turn off harddisk time.
This is for all harddrives connected to the PC.
If one harddrive is inactive for the selected period of time it will be deactivated
and reactivated when needed.
I have 20 hard drives connected to my server. I've been looking as well, and what I've come up with is using esp8266 with relays to turn them off and on with the power. I'm now looking at having the server let the user know over the network when the drives are powered on and ready to use.
So far so good. I can control the hard drives, Now I'm working on the com. between the esp8266 and the server. When I'm done I'm going to post it on GitHub.
I know it will be slow, but it will save the hard drives big time. The hard drives in the server are for long time storage. This will allow me to use a smaller power supply to run everything.
This is what the hard drive setup looks like so far.
RELAY 1 1 Movies 1 4T 2 Movies 2 4T RELAY 2 3 Shows 1 4T 4 shows 2 4T 5 Shows 3 4T RELAY 3 6 Education & Programs 3T RELAY 4 7 Movies 1 Backup 2T 8 Movies 2 Backup 2T 9 Movies 3 Backup 2T RELAY 5 10 Shows 1 Backup 2T 11 Shows 2 Backup 2T 12 Shows 3 Backup 2T RELAY 6 13 education & Programs backup 2T,1T,750g,250g,250g,320g. RELAY 7 Turn server on/off RELAY 8 RESET SERVER