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How to turn off an internal hard drive when you’re not using it

Before starting you should know that this tutorial does not make much sense for SSDs due to their low energy consumption, heat produced and that they do not make noise, but on a mechanical disk it makes a lot of sense because you will save energy, you will prevent it from getting hot and wearing out. its moving parts, and you will also reduce the noise made by the PC because even at rest, a mechanical disk always emits noise.

Preliminary considerations to take into account

In this article we are going to propose two options: the first is to leave the hard drive in sleep mode, with low power consumption and almost no degradation, but available to work again when you need it. The second option is to completely turn off the hard disk, and the only way to turn it on again will be to completely turn off the PC and turn it on again, so as you can imagine, the disk always turns on with the PC when you start it.

Obviously, you should also bear in mind that it is not advisable to make these configurations for system disks, since if the PC is turned on and unless it enters sleep or hibernation mode, the storage unit must be available and, in fact, in the second case the system will not allow you to turn it off.

How to put an internal hard drive to sleep

In this first option, what we are going to do is configure the operating system to put the hard disk to sleep when the system is inactive for a certain period of time that we can configure. To do this, what you must do is click on the Start button and write “Edit power plan.” In the window that opens, click on the “Change advanced power settings” option.

Turn off hard drive

Here, we must expand the hard disk menu and in the configuration we can enter the value we want. There is one thing to keep in mind here, and that is that this will only work when the entire PC is idle, not just when there is no hard drive activity. You should also keep in mind that if you set the value to 0 it means that the disk will never go into sleep mode.

How to completely shut down an internal disk

In order to completely turn off an internal hard drive, it is necessary to perform a previous configuration in the BIOS, so the first thing you should do is access the BIOS of your computer. You should also know that this only works with disks that have a SATA interface (which, in the domestic sphere, are all because only SSDs have other formats).

Once in the BIOS of the computer you will have to access the Advanced Options and then the SATA configuration (this, depending on the manufacturer of your motherboard, could be called by different ways such as Integrated Peripherals, etc.). You must configure the SATA mode in AHCI, and activate the Hot Plug mode in the corresponding SATA ports to which the hard drives that you want to be able to turn off are connected.

BIOS Hot Plug

Once done, save the changes and restart the PC. When you start Windows, you will see that in the lower right area, in the icons on the Start bar, your hard drive now appears as if it were a removable drive and will allow you to eject it in the same way that it appears when you connect a pen drive or USB disk .

Eject disc

When you eject an internal disk it will turn off completely, but you must bear in mind that you will not be able to access it again until you restart the PC (or turn it off and on), and that as we have mentioned before, every time you turn it on again the PC the hard disk will be present again.

There is a method, not recommended, to be able to access this disk again once it has been ejected without having to turn off the PC, but you would have to open the computer, physically disconnect the power cable from the hard disk and reconnect it. With this, the computer will detect it again as if you had connected an external disk, but we repeat that it is not at all advisable to physically disconnect anything while the PC is on, so we recommend that you never do so.