External Hard Drive, Always Powered = Good or Bad?

Discussion in 'Water Cooler' started by Nick, Oct 29, 2009.

  1. Nick

    Nick Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    Messages:
    7,444
    Likes Received:
    219
    Hey guys,

    I have a question: I have this external hard-drive, which is always plugged in to my computer, which is always on - 24/7. As it is always plugged in, it's always powered on and running. It does go into an idle mode, but it's still powered (the light is on; not sure what all goes on inside).

    Is it bad to keep it running all the time like this (should I disconnect it when not in use), or are they meant to run for long periods of time?

    I just don't want to come find one day that my 300+gb of data becomes lost because the drive decides to fail.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Abomination

    Abomination Zealot

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Messages:
    1,514
    Likes Received:
    102
    What is it used for?
     
  3. gnatster

    gnatster Regular Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    Messages:
    717
    Likes Received:
    98
    Location:
    Down the hall
    First Name:
    Nathan
    I've had the 750GB model for almost 2 years now. Anyhow I use to catch a full image backup bit by bit every night (Overkill, I know). It's been on ,save for power outages, all this time. Recently it stopped being seen by the PC so on a whim I plugged it into the laptop where it was found. Formatted it and all has been hunky dory ever since.

    So yes, you can keep it powered on all the time.
     
  4. Webmist

    Webmist Champion

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Messages:
    305
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    US
    First Name:
    Jen
    I have the Maxtor One Touch III 500GB since 06/2007 and it's been on ever since with no problems. Every once in awhile I'll back it up.
     
  5. kev

    kev Regular Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1,224
    Likes Received:
    61
    If the HD is spinning all the time - yes, that is bad. Harddrives have moving parts, just like your car tires. The more you run it, the sooner its going to wear out.

    Always keep this in mind - there are 2 types of hard drives

    Those that have failed
    Those that are going to fail

    Control panel - power management - turn off hard drives - after @30 minutes. Having the system turn off your hard drives when they are not being used can greatly extend their life.
     
    Big al likes this.
  6. Chani

    Chani Grand Master

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2009
    Messages:
    884
    Likes Received:
    54
    First Name:
    Chani
    I've had mine for about five years now. Noo problems. Always plugged in. :)

    I think I need to make a backup, tho. :eek:
     
  7. Abomination

    Abomination Zealot

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Messages:
    1,514
    Likes Received:
    102
    The only reason I asked this was because I have an external HD that I only connect to make a back up. I keep it in another location in the house, in case someone decides to steal the computer, they probably won't find my external HD. Those things do happen.
     
  8. Dan Hutter

    Dan Hutter aka Big Dan

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    Messages:
    1,412
    Likes Received:
    515
    Location:
    New York
    I have two externals one connected to my PC and one to my Mac. The mac one stays on all the time for time machine. The PC one gets turned on a few times a week for backups. I'm coming up on about a year for the both of them and neither have failed yet. *crosses fingers*
     
  9. Nick

    Nick Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    Messages:
    7,444
    Likes Received:
    219
    I use it to take backups of my documents on a regular basis, but I also store files on it. For example, all of my website files (images, vB files, modifications that I've installed, etc.) reside on the drive and they are the only copy that exists. If the HD fails, I lose it all.

    Perhaps I should invest in a second one and only power it up to back up my current external hard drive. :shrug:
     
  10. techit

    techit Addict

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    0
    First Name:
    Prabh
    yes a backup is essential i have two externals one a seagate 80 GB and a Maxtor 1 TB have had them for a while no failures yet but then you never know..i use the Saegate for document backups primarily and the Maxtor for all my Media for which i now need to get another 1 TB as backup :)
     
  11. kev

    kev Regular Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1,224
    Likes Received:
    61
    My mom told me to always turn off the lights when they are not being used.

    In college, the instructor of my hardware computer class told me about the two types of drives - those that have failed and those that are going to fail. Anything with moving parts will break sooner or later.

    So if your not using it, turn it off to extend the life. And your going to be saving electricity. The last time I looked, electricity cost money. So your going to extend the life and save money by turning off stuff your not using.
     
  12. David

    David Regular Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Messages:
    1,088
    Likes Received:
    133
    Location:
    Australia
    Until you get SSD then it's all win all the time!

    *Still to pricey for me though, all i have are those that are going to fail

    (But i have some drives that are 8-10 years old and still kick!
     
  13. Abomination

    Abomination Zealot

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Messages:
    1,514
    Likes Received:
    102
    Sounds like you answered your own question to me.
     
  14. paulh

    paulh Novice

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    just as a counter to the switch it off and it has a longer life theory.

    In electronics in general 99.99% of the time when something does fail it is during a point of transition from one state to another so if you do not switch something off it is not changing state and less likely to fail.

    Having said that a neat mains powered external drive I installed recently had an automatic on/off governed by whether there was power down the USB line. When the computer was switched off it automatically powered down the external drive
     
  15. Nick

    Nick Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    Messages:
    7,444
    Likes Received:
    219
    This is another opinion I've read elsewhere: that powering the device on and off (frequently, that is) can be worse than leaving it on all the time, because the parts go from hot, to cold, back to hot, and are changing - which isn't good. They also start and stop, and as you said, are ultimately changing states all the time which might yield more wear-and-tear.

    In regards to powering off, mine is the same way; if the computer is off, so is the ED. But my computer is never off. :P
     
  16. Brandon

    Brandon Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Messages:
    6,602
    Likes Received:
    1,706
    Location:
    Topeka, Kansas
    First Name:
    Brandon
    I only keep my external drive plugged in while I'm using it
    I also shut down my computer when I'm not using it. Once you start paying your own electric bill, you find ways to save money.
    I also don't keep my phone charger plugged in while I'm not using it.
    I would un-plug everything in my house (tv, microwave, extension cords) while I'm not using it if it wasn't such a pain to plug some of the stuff in. "plugs behind the couches ect.."
    Even if your tv is off, but plugged in, it's using power and costing you $$ ;)
     

Share This Page