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After computer idle, have to wait for HDD to spin up.  Can I disable this?

Posted on 2011-02-28
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I recently added a small Solid State Drive to my computer along with a fresh install of Windows 7.  I kept the existing rotating HDD to use as file storage along with an external drive.  Problem I am having that is annoying is if the computer is sitting for any length of time without any disk access required, when I try to open a program, the computer sits for 10 seconds or so while I hear one or more of the rotating HDD spin up.  Not a big problem, but that was the whole idea behind the SSD.  After the drives have spun up, the computer is blazing fast.  Are there settings in Windows 7 or maybe in the BIOS that could prevent the hangs?  I turn the machine off if I am not going to be using it for an hour or more since the addition of the SSD makes boot up a less than 30 second affair.  Thanks for your help.
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Question by:257Roberts
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12 Comments
 
LVL 71

Accepted Solution

by:
Qlemo earned 2000 total points
ID: 35002313
Go into your Power Options (best by just typing that into the search box of the Start Menu).
Go into the details of your current power plan, advanced, Hard disk, Turn off hard disk after,
and set that to 0.
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:Sean Scissors
ID: 35002315
It sounds like it's just your Power Options in the Control Panel. You have it set to turn off your harddisks after a certain time. I feel that if you turn that off and let them constantly be on you won't have that issue.
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:Sean Scissors
ID: 35002477
@Qlemo...seems he beat me to it. But he is right. I think of SSD as like a big flash drive so if you never turn it off it should still be fine. I don't know if in the power options you would be able to specifically determine turning off a certain harddisk over the other one. You would have to look.
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LVL 71

Expert Comment

by:Qlemo
ID: 35002527
No, you cannot set up harddisk spin down separately for each disk, only for all together. The SSD is not related, but of course it does not make much sense to "spin down" a SSD ...
AFAIK W7 is able to handle SSDs different (regarding deallocating space and power options, to mention some).
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Author Comment

by:257Roberts
ID: 35003123
Okay I found the HDD settings after clicking on the "Advanced" button in the Power Settings on the plan that I had chosen called "High Performance"  Even that one had the HDD shutting down after 20 min.  I'll reboot and then see if it makes a difference.  Thanks for your help.
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LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:akahan
ID: 35003799
What brand hard drive is it?
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LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:akahan
ID: 35003890
Actually...it shouldn't matter.  The problem is that the drives spindown on their own, regardless of what the operating system tells them to do.

Try this little piece of freeware:

http://hdparm-win32.dyndns.org/hdparm/

It runs under Windows, though it looks a little unix-y.

You would install it, and then, from the proper directory, give the command (from the command prompt):

hdparm /dev/hdb -S0

(So you're setting spindown timeout to zero, which means "never")

(I am assuming that your SSD is drive 0, and your mechanical drive is drive 1.   Drive 0 would be /dev/hda, drive 1 would be /dev/hdb, drive 2 would be /dev/hdc, etc.

The drive will probably "forget" the spindown setting you set here when you next cut power to it.


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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:_
ID: 35003909
It would hurt to check the Power Management in the BIOS just to be sure, also.
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:_
ID: 35003911
...would not hurt...
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LVL 71

Expert Comment

by:Qlemo
ID: 35004674
Guys,
Windows is overriding any BIOS and harddisk setting, and in particular for spinning down on inactivity. The BIOS settings are (meanwhile) only used for booting the OS.
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:Natty Greg
ID: 35013831
The system is set to save power and windows 7 is big on green reducing power while not in use
the only thing you can do is tell your computer not to go to sleep or hibernate, the built in technology inside the disk will render it inactive when not in use in an effort to prolong the life of the disk whether it is SSD or IDE.

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Author Closing Comment

by:257Roberts
ID: 35013863
This worked fine, although I set the HDD spindown time to 120 min.
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