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Portable Hard Drive and USB Hub Situation

Average or slightly better user here...reconfiguring my two-computer system which includes enough peripherals to warrant using a couple of USB hubs .

One has an A/B selector to enable me to designate which computer is active, and the other has 13 USB ports (which feed into one port on the other hub).

Everything works fine but now I have a question I hadn't thought about before hooking everything up.

I use three portable hard drives, the pocket-sized ones that plug into your computer (or (hub) via a USB port. These drives are 250 GB, 350 GB and 500 GB units. I keep certain files and program on each one which are accessed for use weekly. Now that they're all plugged into a USB hub, I see that the "working" lights are on all the time. Prior to this, I simply plugged each one as needed into a computer and took it off when I was done.

The question: with these units being "ON" -- I assume that means the small disk inside spinning constantly -- will that significantly decrease the working life of the units, or is leaving them on every day until I shut down at the end of the day not a terribly negative factor?
3 Solutions
I have clients that use the same hard drive setup as you and i haven't seen any "significant" increase in failures.   I don't think i'd worry about them.

I definitely wouldn't simply accept my opinion,    this is definitely the type of question that you should gather expert opinions and get a consensus.
look if the disk drives have a power, or energy setting in their properties, that you can turn offafter 10-20 minutes
EirmanChief Operations ManagerCommented:
The only hard disks that I manually turn off, are ones that I use for periodic backup (e.g. once a week). I allow windows to turn off (spin down) hard disks after 2 hours of No Access

Think about the hard disk in your Tivo / Sky box and the amount 24 hour use they get .... modern hard disks are much less prone to failure. Of course this reliability can lead to complacency and inadequate backup procedures.

To find out (verify) if a usb drive has spun down after the time assigned in Power Settings ...
> If it has no fan you can usually tell by holding it your hand
> It's temperature after a few hours.
> The speed of accessing a file (eg a photo) ...
    ..... Nearly instant if the disk is spinning.
    ..... A few seconds if the disk has spun down.
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and i hope that 1 or both ubs (and disks )  have their own power supply - to avoid overloading the usb
RadioGeorgeOwner/ProgrammerAuthor Commented:
Wow, fast reply after my posting and a very comprehensive range of points and ideas that led to a quick and easy solution. Way to go!
it would be nice if you posted that solution..
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