I have a number of different drives that I use for different purposes but I only use two of them frequently. I would like for the others to enter sleep mode when not in use, but never my main two.

Is there any way to edit power saving settings for individual drives?

  • What OS are you using, in windows there are settings to adjust when the hard drives idle and when they don't. Similarly there would be custom settings on all OS for such things. – user88311 Jun 29 '13 at 19:45
  • 1
    I'm using Windows 8. There are no idle time settings for INDIVIDUAL drives to be found – Gabardine Jun 30 '13 at 15:26

Unfortunately you cannot control drive spin-up and spin-down individually in Windows.

The drive power saving features are an all-or-nothing setting that affects all drives.

When Windows enumerates the system drives (which is a common procedure) it will spin up all the drives to ensure they are available.

One way to avoid this particular reason the drives spin up is to unmount the drives from Windows when you're not going to be using them. This can be accomplished by removing the assigned drive letter(s) from all partitions on a physical drive.

See Windows Help: Mount or dismount a drive (windows 7 instructions):

  1. Open Computer Management by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Security, clicking Administrative Tools, and then double-clicking Computer Management.

  2. On the left, under Storage, click Disk Management.

  3. Right-click the mounted drive that you want to remove, and then click Change Drive Letter and Paths.

  4. Click Remove, and then click Yes.

For some command-line/scripting alternatives perhaps check out these SU questions:


Yes, it is possible to use individual idle times for each hard drive. You need to set the shortest idle time that should be used via the advanced power settings GUI. Then set individual longer idle times for each hard disk instance via registry, by setting the MinimumIdleTimeoutInMS key. This registry key sets the lower limit for the idle timer of the respective disk instance. So setting a value higher than the value used in the advanced power settings GUI will effectively keep the disk turned on for a longer time as it is configured in the GUI.

Example: You have three disks. Two of them should turn off after 20 minutes, and the third one after 3 hours:

  1. Go to advanced power settings
  2. Navigate to "Hard disk\Turn off hard disk after"
  3. Set it to 20 minutes
  4. Run regedit.exe
  5. Navigate to "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Enum\SCSI\DEVICEID \INSTANCE\DeviceParameters\Storport\" for the third harddisk.
    • DEVICEID is a unique identifier for the disk model, e.g. “Disk&Ven_Seagate&Prod_ST750LX003-1AC15”
    • INSTANCE is a unique identifier for the specific disk, should multiple disks of the same model be deployed, e.g. “ 4&2a8c9e62&0&000000”
  6. Add the following key:
    • Name: MinimumIdleTimeoutInMS
    • Type: REG_DWORD
  7. Specify a value of 10800000 to set the min. idle timer to 3 hours. (3*60*60*1000)

Reference: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/241679


Separate HDD power control is possible in some non-Windows operating systems, like NAS4free based on FreeBSD. The fact that you are using multiple hard drives without unplugging them makes me think that you probably need a NAS which could be built on a separate machine.

In Windows this could be theoretically achieved using third party software, but I don't know about any of them.


On my pc I fitted a hot swap drive unit (4 bays) and just slide in those drives that I choose to use, as and when needed. That way they don't have to spin up/ down, idle, accumulate running hours etc. This also helps save energy, disk temperature, stress etc. It's possible to monitor the total accumulated hour run time and many other parameters via SMART monitoring (many apps can do this).

Additionally as long as you have a hot-swap compliant system, it would be possible to DIY wire up a switch (or bank of switches for larger arrays) to kill the 12v power to each drive, individually, mounted in a fixed cage. Obviously don't think of doing this for system disk. It would also be sensible to protect from accidentally knocking off etc when a disk was running.

Also you need to take care not to 'freak' your Win operating system as PC's aren't usually set up for individual disk on/off user control. I like to ensure that each disk I use is assigned an operational drive letter (G,H,I,J,K etc) in a disk management utility (can do in Windows, but I just use free partition ulilities like Ease US to change drive letter). Don't let win auto assign as your data on any given disk will otherwise keep changing drive letter, depending what order, or when, it was switched off. I also use the label (name) facility to record drive letter do it displays alongside assigned drive letter so I can spot any inconsistencies and easily remedy. I also physically use an indelible pen to write on disk chassis (and storage box) to avoid any mix ups.

The above is pretty straight forward to arrange but pointless if your PC only has say 2-3 disks used most of time. I currently use about 20 disks for multiple image libraries, backups, generating backups for remote storage - all without the cost and limited transfer time associated with cloud storage.


If in windows.

  1. Go to advanced power settings.

  2. Click hard disk.

  3. Click Turn off hard disk After.

  4. Click on the amount specified and edit it.

  5. Click apply.


  • 1
    I already know about advanced power settings, my question concerns power settings for INDIVIDUAL drives – Gabardine Jun 29 '13 at 20:15
  • Here's a link, I'll update my answer to reflect it later, on the go at the moment. tomshardware.com/forum/… – user88311 Jun 29 '13 at 20:52

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