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Windows 7: Windows power saving

01 Aug 2009   #1

Windows 7 RC - Windows XP
Windows power saving

Just wondering what you guys have done with the HDD power saving settings, if anything. I suppose, seeing that modern HDD's use relatively little power compared to older drives, and also compared to other components within the PC, having the HDD's power down after so much time of inactivity, will save very little power.

If one were to leave on HDD power down after so much inactivity, would the powering up and down tell on a HDD's life span, or have HDD's got to the point, where that isn't a factor anymore?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Aug 2009   #2


Some science indicates that cycling the spindles up and down reduces the life span of the drive. Other science indicates that leaving the spindles running reduces the life span of the drive.

Some hard drives fail out of the box, others will last for years - whether they cycle down or not.

The reductions in power consumption are not intended to address performance or stability issues internal to a single platform. Such reductions address power consumption across a collection of platforms.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Aug 2009   #3

Windows 7 Pro (MSDN)

I have my HDDs turn off after 10 minutes of inactivity. Note that this is 10 minutes of inactivity for that particular drive, and has nothing to do with whether or not the computer as a whole is inactive. On a system with multiple HDDs, the data drives will spend most of their time powered off as a result of this setting (the main system drive, with the registry, user profile, page file, etc., is never idle for anywhere near 10 minutes and so is never affected by the turn-off-the-drive setting). When there is an attempt to access something on a powered-down drive, it will spin right back up--there's only a delay of about a second or two.

And this definitely does make a difference. On one of my quiet HTPC-ish computers, you can clearly tell when its secondary drive is powered off because it's so much quieter (I'm not talking about the seeking sounds--this is just from the platters no longer spinning at 7200 RPM). And on another of my computers, one of the drives would often reach 55C from just spinning (no data access), which had me worried. But once I set it to turn off when idle, its idle temps are now just a little above the ambient case temp--much lower than before. Even if I'm hurting the drive by having it spin up and back down, I bet that not having it be at 55C all the time probably makes up for at least part of that.

Remember that keeping a bunch of platters moving at 7200 RPM is going to cost a lot of energy (and by the laws of physics, every single milliwatt used is going to eventually end up as heat), and no matter how new and fancy the drive is, it's always going to take roughly the same amount of energy to keep something physically moving that fast.
My System SpecsSystem Spec


 Windows power saving

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