The conversation on this page has been archived and is no longer active.

Energy Star turns off external hard drives? iMac usb 2.0?

Message #1 - Posted 2012/08/16 - micky

When a Mac user, an iMac USB 2.0, has the harddrives set to turn off after N minutes, does that include USB and Firewire external harddrives?

My friend says it didn't, but he doesn't know how to get into the right screen so maybe it's not set to turn off. .

In this case I do't need a detailed answer, because, though it's inconvenient, I can go over there for a few minutes. .

If the computer is marked Energy Star, which this one is, would that make any difference?

Thanks.

Message #2 - Posted 2012/08/16 - Salvatore

On 2012-08-16, micky wrote:

When a Mac user, an iMac USB 2.0, has the harddrives set to turn off after N minutes, does that include USB and Firewire external harddrives?

Yes, but I know from experience that some external USB 2.0 drives will spin down after a period of inactivity on their own, no matter what the operating system is set to do.

If the computer is marked Energy Star, which this one is, would that make any difference?

That simply means that the computer uses little power. An iMac uses between 205 and 310 watts, which is low for a computer and a monitor.

Blah blah bleh...

GCS/CM d(-)@>-- s+:- !a C++$ UBL++++$ L+$ W+++$ w M++ Y++ b++

Message #3 - Posted 2012/08/16 - Michael Vilain

Previously, micky wrote:

When a Mac user, an iMac USB 2.0, has the harddrives set to turn off after N minutes, does that include USB and Firewire external harddrives?

My friend says it didn't, but he doesn't know how to get into the right screen so maybe it's not set to turn off. .

In this case I do't need a detailed answer, because, though it's inconvenient, I can go over there for a few minutes. .

If the computer is marked Energy Star, which this one is, would that make any difference?

Thanks.

Can you discuss your definition of "turn off". Usually, when a device is powered down, it no longer responds to commands unless some part of it is actually not powered down but drawing a small amount of current to "listen" for power up commands. Some would call it "sleep" rather than "power off".

MacOS's System Preferences has an Energy Saver panel. You can set the display and system to sleep after a period. I set mine to blank the display after 2 hours. I don't allow my MacPro to sleep. You can set the disk drives to 'sleep' from this panel also. There's no granularity on this. If the system goes to sleep, the drives will also.

BUT, if the drive doesn't support this sort of powered down mode, it doesn't matter. Note the drives are not 'turn off'.

DeeDee, don't press that button! DeeDee! NO! Dee... [I filter all Goggle Groups posts, so any reply may be automatically ignored]

Message #4 - Posted 2012/08/16 - micky

On Thu, 16 Aug 2012 09:52:26 -0700, Michael Vilain wrote:

Previously, micky wrote:

When a Mac user, an iMac USB 2.0, has the harddrives set to turn off after N minutes, does that include USB and Firewire external harddrives?

My friend says it didn't,

That is, he could still feel it vibrating a little, because it was spinning.

but he doesn't know how to get into the right screen so maybe it's not set to turn off. .

In this case I do't need a detailed answer, because, though it's inconvenient, I can go over there for a few minutes. .

If the computer is marked Energy Star, which this one is, would that make any difference?

Thanks.

Can you discuss your definition of "turn off". Usually, when a device

Sorry. I meant spin down.

is powered down, it no longer responds to commands unless some part of

it is actually not powered down but drawing a small amount of current to "listen" for power up commands. Some would call it "sleep" rather than "power off".

MacOS's System Preferences has an Energy Saver panel. You can set the display and system to sleep after a period. I set mine to blank the display after 2 hours. I don't allow my MacPro to sleep. You can set the disk drives to 'sleep' from this panel also. There's no granularity on this. If the system goes to sleep, the drives will also.

That would be perfect, except like y ou sayin the next line.

BUT, if the drive doesn't support this sort of powered down mode, it doesn't matter.

That's very important. Thanks.

Note the drives are not 'turn off'.

Okay.

Thanks Michael and Salvatore.

Message #5 - Posted 2012/08/16 - JF Mezei

USB remains powered during sleep. Your iPhone continues to charge for instance, and a wired keyboard continues to respond to a keypress (to wake the machine up).

I have a USB-Bluetooth dongle and it remains on to listed to the mouse so that if I move the mouse, the machien wakes up.

So if a USB drive is to spin down, it would be because the mac would send it a "spin down" command (if such a thing exists for USB drives) and not because the USB bus is being powered down.

Message #6 - Posted 2012/08/16 - Daniel Cohen

Salvatore wrote:

I know from experience that some external USB 2.0 drives will spin down after a period of inactivity on their own, no matter what the operating system is set to do.

If one does not want that, there are several solutions. For instance, Keep Drive Spinning.

<http://www.decohen.com> The Labyrinth of the Heart: Changed Myths for Changing Lives book and e-book <http://www.decohen.com/labyrinth> Send e-mail to the Reply-To address, not the From address.

Message #7 - Posted 2012/08/17 - Fred Moore

Previously, micky wrote:

BUT, if the drive doesn't support this sort of powered down mode, it doesn't matter.

That's very important. Thanks.

In general, USB drives do not spin down. In general Firewire drives do, if they use the right Oxford bridge board. Ask the enclosure maker about this. While you're at it, confirm that the enclosure can boot the Mac. Some can't.

Remember, I'm pullin' for ya.
We're all in this together.
--Red Green

Message #8 - Posted 2012/08/17 - micky

On Fri, 17 Aug 2012 10:20:31 -0400, Fred Moore wrote:

Previously, micky wrote:

BUT, if the drive doesn't support this sort of powered down mode, it doesn't matter.

That's very important. Thanks.

In general, USB drives do not spin down. In general Firewire drives do,

An important distinction.

if they use the right Oxford bridge board. Ask the enclosure maker about this. While you're at it, confirm that the enclosure can boot the Mac. Some can't.

Well, I called G-Technology a week ago and confirmed that they can boot, but didn't think to ask about spinning down. I hate to call again, but maybe I have too. I wish they would say all this stuff on their product webpages. (For example, Ebay puts questions and answers on their listings automatically (although I think the seller chooses which questions get there.)

Right now my friend is using my USB drive, which spun for a solid week though it read and wrote nothing, , but I'm going to get him firewire soon.

Thanks.

Message #9 - Posted 2012/08/17 - Lewis

In message Fred Moore <fmoore@gcfn.org> wrote:

Previously, micky wrote:

BUT, if the drive doesn't support this sort of powered down mode, it doesn't matter.

That's very important. Thanks.

In general, USB drives do not spin down.

That is not at all accurate.

"Your stepmom is cute"
"Shut up, Ted"
"Remember when she was a senior and we were freshmen?" "Shut up Ted!"

Message #10 - Posted 2012/08/17 - Fred Moore

Previously, Lewis wrote:

In message Fred Moore <fmoore@gcfn.org> wrote:

Previously, micky wrote:

BUT, if the drive doesn't support this sort of powered down mode, it doesn't matter.

That's very important. Thanks.

In general, USB drives do not spin down.

That is not at all accurate.

Then please supply some references/documentation to support your claim.

Message #11 - Posted 2012/08/17 - Lewis

In message Fred Moore <fmoore@gcfn.org> wrote:

Previously, Lewis wrote:

In message Fred Moore <fmoore@gcfn.org> wrote:

Previously, micky wrote:

BUT, if the drive doesn't support this sort of powered down mode, it doesn't matter.

That's very important. Thanks.

In general, USB drives do not spin down.

That is not at all accurate.

Then please supply some references/documentation to support your claim.

How about the USB3 drive connected to my PC which clearly pauses and whirrs up when you first access it after an hour or two of not using it?

"Woof bloody woof."

Message #12 - Posted 2012/08/17 - Fred Moore

Previously, Lewis wrote:

In message Fred Moore <fmoore@gcfn.org> wrote:

Previously, Lewis wrote:

In message Fred Moore <fmoore@gcfn.org> wrote:

Previously, micky wrote:

BUT, if the drive doesn't support this sort of powered down mode, it doesn't matter.

That's very important. Thanks.

In general, USB drives do not spin down.

That is not at all accurate.

Then please supply some references/documentation to support your claim.

How about the USB3 drive connected to my PC which clearly pauses and whirrs up when you first access it after an hour or two of not using it?

Okay, USB 3 is only recently available. I have no experience with USB 3 hard drives. If yours spins down on system sleep, good. Thanks, now I know. Please note that I took the care to preface my remark about USB HD spin down with the phrase 'In general'. The only USB <3 drives I've ever encountered which did spin down with system sleep had special drivers. The run of the mill don't, in general.

Message #13 - Posted 2012/08/17 - Michael Vilain

Previously, Fred Moore wrote:

Previously, Lewis wrote:

In message Fred Moore <fmoore@gcfn.org> wrote:

Previously, Lewis wrote:

In message Fred Moore <fmoore@gcfn.org> wrote:

Previously, micky wrote:

BUT, if the drive doesn't support this sort of powered down mode, it doesn't matter.

That's very important. Thanks.

In general, USB drives do not spin down.

That is not at all accurate.

Then please supply some references/documentation to support your claim.

How about the USB3 drive connected to my PC which clearly pauses and whirrs up when you first access it after an hour or two of not using it?

Okay, USB 3 is only recently available. I have no experience with USB 3 hard drives. If yours spins down on system sleep, good. Thanks, now I know. Please note that I took the care to preface my remark about USB HD spin down with the phrase 'In general'. The only USB <3 drives I've ever encountered which did spin down with system sleep had special drivers. The run of the mill don't, in general.

I have a LaCie Q2 1TB and a Seagate Freeagent 1TB drive. They spin down when attached with Firewire and also via USB 2. So I guess it's the interface inside the enclosure that does this. If it was a cheaper enclosure, like say Western Digital (all three of their drives died within 3 months), that might not be the case. The only way to test this hypothesis is with a large array of drives and enclosures from various vendors.

Why don't I just cut to the chase.

Girls, you're both pretty.

Boys, you dick isn't big enough. Come back when you're older.

DeeDee, don't press that button! DeeDee! NO! Dee... [I filter all Goggle Groups posts, so any reply may be automatically ignored]

Message #14 - Posted 2012/08/17 - Invid Fan

Previously, Fred Moore wrote:

Previously, Lewis wrote:

In message Fred Moore <fmoore@gcfn.org> wrote:

Previously, Lewis wrote:

In message Fred Moore <fmoore@gcfn.org> wrote:

Previously, micky wrote:

BUT, if the drive doesn't support this sort of powered down mode, it doesn't matter.

That's very important. Thanks.

In general, USB drives do not spin down.

That is not at all accurate.

Then please supply some references/documentation to support your claim.

How about the USB3 drive connected to my PC which clearly pauses and whirrs up when you first access it after an hour or two of not using it?

Okay, USB 3 is only recently available. I have no experience with USB 3 hard drives. If yours spins down on system sleep, good. Thanks, now I know. Please note that I took the care to preface my remark about USB HD spin down with the phrase 'In general'. The only USB <3 drives I've ever encountered which did spin down with system sleep had special drivers. The run of the mill don't, in general.

The USB 2 drives attached to my iMac spin down. In fact, the one I use for backup just came up now. I do know if my iMac goes to sleep and I have a USB flash drive plugged in, on waking I get an error that a disk wasn't ejected properly so I assume that doesn't like sleep...

Chris Mack "If we show any weakness, the monsters will get cocky!" 'Invid Fan' - 'Yokai Monsters Along With Ghosts'

Message #15 - Posted 2012/08/18 - micky

On Fri, 17 Aug 2012 22:07:21 -0400, Invid Fan wrote:

Previously, Fred Moore wrote:

Previously, Lewis wrote:

In message Fred Moore <fmoore@gcfn.org> wrote:

Previously, Lewis wrote:

In message Fred Moore <fmoore@gcfn.org> wrote:

Previously, micky wrote:

BUT, if the drive doesn't support this sort of powered down mode, it doesn't matter.

That's very important. Thanks.

In general, USB drives do not spin down.

That is not at all accurate.

Then please supply some references/documentation to support your claim.

How about the USB3 drive connected to my PC which clearly pauses and whirrs up when you first access it after an hour or two of not using it?

Okay, USB 3 is only recently available. I have no experience with USB 3 hard drives. If yours spins down on system sleep, good. Thanks, now I know. Please note that I took the care to preface my remark about USB HD spin down with the phrase 'In general'. The only USB <3 drives I've ever encountered which did spin down with system sleep had special drivers. The run of the mill don't, in general.

The USB 2 drives attached to my iMac spin down. In fact, the one I use for backup just came up now. I do know if my iMac goes to sleep and I have a USB flash drive plugged in, on waking I get an error that a disk wasn't ejected properly so I assume that doesn't like sleep...

IIUC, since the iMac doesn't go to sleep if it's in the middle of doing something, your flash drive data and data structure is still fine, even though you got that error on it whn the computer woke up. Right?

And the bigger question I've had is, "If you know you have NOT copied anything to an external drive for say, 10 minutes -- you have no automatic backups or anything else automatic that would write to the drive without your knowing-- is it it really necessary to eject a USB drive properly?

What about "write behind" or "write ahead" (read ahead?)? Does that apply and cause problems, when 10 minutes or more have passed since you wrote to the drive?

Message #16 - Posted 2012/08/18 - Paul Sture

On Sat, 18 Aug 2012 09:19:22 -0400, micky wrote:

And the bigger question I've had is, "If you know you have NOT copied anything to an external drive for say, 10 minutes -- you have no automatic backups or anything else automatic that would write to the drive without your knowing-- is it it really necessary to eject a USB drive properly?

What about "write behind" or "write ahead" (read ahead?)? Does that apply and cause problems, when 10 minutes or more have passed since you wrote to the drive?

Windows has a setting called something like "safe removal" for USB sticks. I assume this simply flushes buffers ASAP after write operations.

FWIW I was running my old iBook booted off an external Firewire drive. In the event of a power cut the iBook would survive on battery power but the disk would go down. If I was doing anything at the time, the disk wouldn't come back in time and the system would freeze. Sometimes I would get lucky and it would come back, but that was quite rare. I assumed that page file activity was the culprit and OS X (10.4) couldn't cope with that stalling.

Paul Sture

Need Help? Have a Question?

Looking for more help, comments, and answers?

Ask your questions on Ask Different. Ask Different is a community of Apple users ready to help.