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I have 3 external 2.5" USB HDDs - all from different manufacturers and with different capacities. I also have access to multiple Windows Vista / Windows 7 / Windows XP computers.

My problem is that with the Windows Vista and Windows 7 computers, the external USB drives DO NOT spin down when I do "Safely remove hardware". Windows will tell me that I can safely remove the device, but I can see (and feel the rotations of the disk when I touch the casing) that the disks are still spinning and NEVER spin down. They also never go into their suspended state (which is generally signaled with a slow flashing of the activity LED).

However, with Windows XP, when I do "Safely remove hardware", I can see that the drives do indeed spin down without any issues and go into their respective suspended states.

I notice that this behaviour is consistent across all my 3 drives and on different hardware.

Has anybody else noticed the same issues? Is there any way we can have the same behaviour as Windows XP on Windows Vista and 7, because I feel on the long run, disconnecting the drives while they are still spinning will have a negative effect on their life span.

Thanks, Deepak.

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This is a "feature" by design as per MS KB 2401954 - USB Port Remains Active for Disabled or Safely Removed USB Device which also has instructions on how to disable this.

Update: It is worth reading the more information section of KB2401954, especially the "Effects of Soft Removing a USB device" bit so that you understand the effects of reverting the behaviour under Win 7 etc.

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I have the same thing happen to my WD 320 GB disk on Windows 7, but it used to work for me in Windows Vista, which makes me think its probably a setting somewhere.

I can't say it bothers me enough to have done anything about finding that setting. I figure as long as Windows has stopped using the disk, it won't really matter when I yank the cord out.

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I think that in Windows XP when you safely remove a device it powers down the device but in Vista and 7 it does not, similar to Mac OS X and Linux.

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I agree with Ch00k. And if there were a problem about removing the drive while still being active, then Windows would bring up the "Scan and fix?" message when you reconnect. Windows (especially Vista and 7) seems very sensitive to possible problems and requests to check the disk more often than probably necessary. The lack of that occuring (in my experience at least) is, I feel, strong evidence that there is no problem.

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Guess this will solve your problem. (Tested out, checked the bat/other files, everything is safe, no virus/adware/whatsoever. Works for me, perfectly.)

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For anyone stumbling upon this old thread:

If you put the computer in sleep mode, the drives will spin down (in a safe manner). This method also works, if for any reason you are unable to safely remove it via a "Safely remove hardware" button

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Try another USB Port- On my Dell laptop, it doesn't spin down on the USB 2.0 ports, but does spin down on both the USB 3.0 ports.

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