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Any ideas?

Community Veteran
Posts: 14,025
Thanks: 541
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Any ideas?

I have an external usb seagate HDD - 500GB.
Every now and then the damn thing decides to go into power saving mode and stop spinning. This IMO is the antichrist of modern PC technology.
Anyhow, every now and then (yet much more frequent) when it has done this i will try to access something on that drive and it will not spin up immediately as it should but take at least a minute (thus freezing any program trying to access a file on that drive) and eventually it will spin up - a minute or so later.
This pause doesn't seem to be for any particular reason. I've tried keeping a playlist of MP3s playing in winamp to keep the read/write operations going and that makes no difference (winamp appears to cache the files) and frankly its driving me nuts.
Any ideas if this is a windows thing or the HDD itself?
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21 REPLIES
VileReynard
Seasoned Pro
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Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: Any ideas?

I would be tempted to blame Windows's power saving.
Why not run a background job which writes a small file, containing random data (to prevent caching), every 10 minutes?

Community Veteran
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Any ideas?

Probably Windows.
If you open up device manager whilst the drive is connected, find it, go to properties and see if there's an option on one of the tabs that says something like "Allow windows to turn off this device to save power" and untick the box?
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Community Veteran
Posts: 14,025
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Any ideas?

@avtastic I've done that but there is nothing there - it appears that is a network adapter only option.
@foxy... thats not such a bad idea except that once the drive has decided to spin down, it just seems to decide that no matter what wants access to it, it isn't going to spin up again. That said, I will give it a go with a shorter time span - eg every minute to see if i can keep it spinning without powering down. The other glitch is that somewhere something is caching the file data because sometimes when it's spun down i can still browse the files.. until it finds something that isn't in the cache and then wants to spin up to read the disk. Very annoying..
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steveuk
Grafter
Posts: 199
Registered: 02-02-2013

Re: Any ideas?

windows power options / change plan settings / change advanced power settings / In the list look for (hard disk) and set (Turn of hard disk drive) to never.
Not sure if it works for usb drives though but worth a try.
There could also be a setting in the main motherboard bios that allows you to turn of power features for usb.
Ahh if i remember right there is also setting for usb in the same options, Look for (USB settings) and it should say (USB selective suspend settings) try setting that to disabled.
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,025
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Any ideas?

Hi Steve
I found this:

As you can see my HDD is already set to never but i did find the usb setting you mention and have disabled it.
Time will tell..
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Community Veteran
Posts: 14,025
Thanks: 541
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Any ideas?

Well thats made no difference  Cry
A quick google search has revealed that some Western Digital drives have this problem and a small program was released to tinker with the firmware and disable power saving. I shall have to start googling to see if this is possible for the seagate drives.
Thanks for your help gang Wink
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Kremmen
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Re: Any ideas?

In Device Manager have you gone through all the USB items at the very bottom of the list and made sure that they are all set to not allow Windows to' turn this device off to save power' in the Power Management tab?
Let's be careful out there !
rongtw
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Re: Any ideas?

I see your USB selective suspend setting is enabled ,, try disable  Smiley
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Community Veteran
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Re: Any ideas?

Seagate drives have a built-in power save mode, and it is annoying as hell especially when it's on external HDDs (whether originally sold as an external drive or you made your own with a generic caddy), I had to disable it on a 500GB seagate drive I hoiked out of a sky+HD box to use on my TV for recording TV without having to pay sky, and the damned drive kept falling asleep mid-recording!! Anyway, the HDD had to be connected to the computer's SATA port, then a tool I unfortunately can't recall the name of was used to send a command to disable the drive's APM, so it would remain always on unless told to shut off by the computer (or in my case, my TV telling it to switch off)...
I think it may have been "hdparm" that I used (a Linux tool, but with windows ports by the looks of things), but it was about 2 or 3 years ago since I did it so can't be 100% sure on that...
Community Veteran
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Re: Any ideas?

Quote from: Kremmen
In Device Manager have you gone through all the USB items at the very bottom of the list and made sure that they are all set to not allow Windows to' turn this device off to save power' in the Power Management tab?

Well if you read the topic properly you'd know the answer to that Wink
Quote from: rongtw
I see your USB selective suspend setting is enabled ,, try disable  Smiley

Urgh.. it's one of those days again..
Quote from: 7up
Hi Steve
I found this:

As you can see my HDD is already set to never but i did find the usb setting you mention and have disabled it.
Time will tell..

@2cv: Ah I see you're more on the ball. I will google that, I had suspected it was a HDD issue as I vaguely remember looking at this previously a few years back but back then i never found a way of fixing it and consequently gave up. It's a PITA and (IMO) a drive lifespan shortener. Thanks for your help.
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Community Veteran
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Re: Any ideas?

Quote from: 7up
@2cv: Ah I see you're more on the ball.

I ought to be, used to build and repair computers for a living for a number of years so troubleshooting them takes a bit more logic than the average person... Grin
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,025
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Any ideas?

Well after some more googling I stumbled across various people talking about seagate dashboard, tools and DriveSettings.
Dashboard was a pain - 141Mb download and every time it finished it disappeared before turning into a .tmp file. Renaming it back to anything.exe would upset windows which would then complain that the file couldn't be found. Odd thing being that despite never double clicking it, there was a lot of hard drive rumblings.. yet a file can't self execute... Odd.. VERY odd.
Anyhow after deleting the .tmp files, running malwarebytes, restarting etc... I moved onto the next two. Tools didn't help much but DriveSettings does indeed have a power management setting for the drive. It was set to 15 minutes and I have now changed this to never.
Time will tell.. I've only just plugged the thing back in after pulling it out during last nights main HDD rumblings..
Anyhow, last time i looked into this problem the DriveSettings program didn't exist so clearly Seagate have had complaints about these drives spinning down and being a menace to read/write from. One site i visited last night mentioned this being a pain on linux after the motherboard would turn off the usb port the drive is connected to and not reactivate it unless it was unplugged and plugged back in (and thus he'd setup his own script to write to it every 5 mins).
Seems that many folks have a strong disliking of the power saving mode on these devices. For laptops i can understand it - especially when they're powered from the usb hub itself but for a mains powered drive connected to a desktop PC it makes virtually no sense.
@2cv I did look at hdparm and the windows version but the changes it made were temporary and didn't actually appear to save the new config to the hard drive. Seeing as i sometimes leave the machine running without being logged on but like to access files on the drive remotely, i couldn't see that working well for me but thanks for the suggestion - it got me in the right direction.
Anyhow hopefully this is now solved.. I will update you all.
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RobPN
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Re: Any ideas?

Was the drive one of the 'Green' variety?
I made sure the last 2 Seagate 4TB HDDs that I bought were the NAS variant, partly to avoid the 'Green' behaviour (which probably shortens the drives life in some situations).
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,025
Thanks: 541
Fixes: 9
Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Any ideas?

It appears so!
So far since using DriveSettings it appears that the drive has not gone into power saving mode once - all day. There does appear to be a trade off though (isn't there always?). Iit may be that DriveSettings isn't actually writing the setting to the drive but instead controlling it like hdparm from a windows service which i've just found: hdparm only controls the drive per session and I am suspecting that their windows service is doing the same thing so i am about to unplug the drive and install DriveSettings on my netbook to see if it reads the same saved setting from the drive or hits the default of 15 mins.
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