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Old 08-10-2009, 10:41 AM   #1
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powering off an external hdd

Hi All,

After I shutdown my machine, the external HDD, USB connected, continues to spin. Can I shut it down before system's power off? Can I restart it afterward?

Thanks for your suggestions,
Old 08-10-2009, 11:08 AM   #2
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I'm not sure. I just let mine spin. It spins down on it's own after about 5 to 10 minutes at which point I shut it off. I think there was some hdparm or /proc/... trickery to spin down a drive. But there's so many quirky drives out there that I never quite got that to work for me. Factor in a USB bus and who knows if it's even possible.
Old 08-10-2009, 11:27 AM   #3
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Can I shut it down before system's power off?
You should not power it down, or disconnect it, until you have unmounted ("Safely removed") it. Often, a R-click on your drive's icon will offer you the option to unmount the drive.
Shutting down your computer will automatically unmount it for you. So, once your PC has shut down, it is safe to power off the HDD.
Can I restart it afterward?
Yes you can. Turn it on, and plug in the USB cable. Most modern desktops will offer to automount it for you.
Old 08-11-2009, 11:20 PM   #4
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Thanks for replies. Of course the drive will be unmounted before powering down. The thing is that my only option is to disconnect the USB connector, which might be a problem if I do it too many times.

If I simply shut down the computer, there is still voltage on the USB, which keeps the harddisk alive (even if unmounted previously by the halt command).

I checked hdparm and am not sure if there is any useful option for my problem. What else should I try?

Thanks again,


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