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I'm using Windows 8.1 with an external hard drive. My external seems to go to sleep very quickly, like in a single minute. I constantly wait 2-3 seconds when accessing files on my external harddrive (where all my important stuff is). I have not had this problem on other OSs with this same external HDD.

I checked my power settings, its supposed to wait 40 minutes before spinning down (on battery and plugged in). This is clearly not happening. What might be the problem here?

  • How it the external drive connected? If USB, what version? – RockPaperLizard Dec 18 '14 at 23:47
  • External has USB 2, and its connected to a USB 3 port – B T Dec 18 '14 at 23:49
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    By chance do you happen to have one of those green drives in your computer? Those will spin down every so often to save power. – Eric F Dec 19 '14 at 21:14
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    This is probably related if the HDD goes idle for sometime. Looks like the sleep can be suspended by doing some registry modification using the Hardware ID of the USB HDD. Please refer this link and try out your results. blogs.msdn.com/b/usbcoreblog/archive/2013/11/01/… – vembutech Dec 19 '14 at 21:19
  • Try modifying your power plan's settings, there is an option like "Turn off hard disks after xx minutes", set that to 0 (means never) and see if that helps. – user256743 Dec 19 '14 at 21:48
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This is probably related if the HDD goes idle for sometime. Looks like the sleep can be suspended by doing some registry modification using the Hardware ID of the USB HDD.

Note down the Hardware ID of your drive. Go to device manager > expand the Disk Drives and note down the disk name > now, go to USB Mass Storage Device > right click on the USB Disk > Properties > Details tab > select the "Hardware ID's" from the list box > make note of VID and PID

Now, press Windows key + R → type regedit → navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\usbstor → right click usbstor and create a key → the name of the key must of the VID & PID of hardware id's → Now, right-click the new key and create a DWORD and enter the name as DeviceHackFlags and set the value to 400 hexadecimal

Now disconnect and re-connect the device. For more details, please refer the below reference link.

Reference link

Hope this helps.

  • For anyone trying this out, check the reference link for better details (screenshots and stuff too) – B T Dec 19 '14 at 22:37
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Dependent on the external drive manufacturer, you may be able to find some sort of software they supply on which there is a control for spin down. I believe my Seagate drives have a program and when I go into the program, there is a setting for how long to wait until the drives go to power savings mode.

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