If I enable to turn off hard disk when inactive in Windows Power Plan - Advanced Settings, will it also stop my downloads in different programs? Currently my Internet connection is slow.


No. When any program (download or not) requests disk access, the disk is no longer inactive, therefore Windows wakes up the disk.

  • Expected "simple" at the end of the answer :) – Krish Sep 11 '15 at 6:18
  • And that is why, in practice, you will likely never see the OS disk spin down - even when, seemingly, nothing is running. There are plenty of background services/processes that continuously read/write (even if just small amounts) and this will keep the drive awake day and night ;-) – misha256 Sep 14 '15 at 20:19

Functionally, this setting is useless when the computer only has one hard drive. Windows will not spin down the OS drive unless the whole machine is going to sleep.

  • Except if you are running Windows 95 by any chance. I cannot comment on newer versions. – musiKk Sep 10 '15 at 19:40
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    No reference; just personal experience. I work with computers for a living and I have never been able to get Windows to spin down the primary OS drive. I don't know if this is by design or if it's a consequence of access patterns, but if you set the spin-down time to 1 minute, disable all other power management features, and then let the machine sit idle, the drive never spins down. – Wes Sayeed Sep 10 '15 at 21:29
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    From personal experience, the OS drive spun down, and restarted when there was I/O activity, on Windows 98 and 98SE. I also can't comment on newer versions of Windows. – alephzero Sep 10 '15 at 22:34
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    @alephzero Can confirm this also was true in Windows 3.1. Source: me, who once tweaked 3.1 to to power down the hard drive maximum battery life on the last B&W laptop made by caching a minimum set of DLLs so disk wouldn't be touched until I hit "save". – Michael Sep 10 '15 at 23:08
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    @netniV there's no reason why "doing stuff", especially when the user isn't actively at the machine, should result in frequent disk access. Nearly all reads done by a long-running background app should be served from cache, and writes can be deferred until the disk needs to be spun up anyway for a read, or memory pressure forces a page cache eviction. – hobbs Sep 11 '15 at 2:54

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