So for externals, leave on or turn off when not needed?

jordan12

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Dec 29, 2000
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So I have 12 drives in 3 externals. I have been turning them on when needed, and then turn them back off.

But someone told me it would be better to just leave them spinning.

Does it really matter either way?
 

Nenu

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Apr 28, 2007
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Only leave hard drives powered up with a decent power supply and good cooling.
Most external hard drives have neither, they are not designed to be kept powered on.
Within a PC you can have both.
 

D-EJ915

[H]ard|Gawd
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Jan 31, 2003
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It depends because usually startup is when a lot of drives fail but heat will also kill them. This is why usually people are paranoid about turning off old servers because the drives may not spin up lol.
 

drescherjm

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Having several hundred drives under my management (between work and home) I don't see spin up to be a large issue anymore as it was 20 or so years ago.
 
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daglesj

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May 7, 2005
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5,306
Switch off.

What does annoy me are external caddys etc. that have the on/off switch at the back. Damn stupid. That and use that awful mini DIN style power plug that fall out at the merest knock.
 

westrock2000

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Most will spin down on their own while idle. I wouldn't bother physically turning them on/off or unplugging them.

there might be some extra settings based on the operating system, but this is usually good enough.

If you are concerned about reliable power, you can use a real ATX power supply with molex to 2.1mm or 2.5mm connectors to power the enclosures. Do the “green wire” mod to keep the ATX supply always on.

You can power a lot of external drives with one low power ATX supply (350w).
 
Joined
Feb 13, 2003
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Depends on how safe you are trying to be. For example, even powered off, if there is a lightning strike/power issue, the drive could be damaged by being connected to the PC or from the AC cable.

My (external) backup drives are disconnected and sitting on a storage shelf.
 
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