Hard disks are now coming with huge storage spaces in the order of multi-terabytes. But these hard disks often get so much heated up even when you are not using them. The heat is not good for the hard disks as it decreases their life. It is a good idea to turn off the hard disks if they are not being used for some time to prolong their life as well as save electricity. In Windows 7, you can set options to automatically turn off your hard disks after they have been idle for a pre-specified time. Here is how :
- Open Control Panel from the Start Menu. In the Control Panel, navigate to Hardware and Sound → Power Options. Click on the Change plan settings next to your chosen power plan. For example, I have selected Balanced power plan, so I click on the Change plan settings shown next to it.
- A window would show where you can change settings for your selected power plan. Click on the Change advanced power settings link shown at the bottom in this window.
- This would open a Power Options window with a long list of options. Scroll down and you would find a category Hard Disk. Click on the ‘+’ next to it to expand it. Similarly, expand the Turn off hard disk after sub-category. Here you can set the amount of time in minutes after being idle for which, the hard disk would be automatically turned off. The default setting is 20 minutes, but you can set to anything you want. If you set this setting to 0, then your hard disks would be never turned off (this is not recommended).
- Click on the OK button to save the settings.
I have two hard disks installed in my computer. One of the hard disks is for Windows system and other documents and the other hard disk is for keeping backups. This second hard disk is used rarely for a few minutes everyday. So I have set Windows to automatically turn hard disks off after 15 minutes. This keeps my backup hard disk from being unnecessarily heated up, makes it last longer and saves electricity as well. I am sure you will also benefit from this hidden setting in Windows 7.