USB powerdown - Advice, vendor,device & revision codes needed

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Hardware' started by parishpete, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. parishpete

    parishpete New Member

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    I use a Goflex 2Tb external drive for daily backup. Unlike it's eSATA predecessors it doesn't have a power switch and Win 7 doesn't cut USB power upon safe removal.

    There is no point in it being on all day, but to cut the power properly I have to unplug it from the back of the PC and that's a pain.

    I read USB Port Remains Active for Disabled or Safely Removed USB Device which seems pretty straight forward except that I cannot identify the required id's with absolute certainty.

    Device manager shows the Goflex under Disk Drives but not definitively under USB.

    The Goflex is in addition to NAS drive and internal second HDD backup copies. The sole point of it is that. when I'm not home It gets locked in my safe and cannot be stolen. It's just belt & braces.

    Three questions:

    1). If I do invoke power down on that USB port, will it resume normally upon boot up without the need to unplug the device.
    2). Are the vendor, device and revision id's hidden somewhere in the bowels of my PC. They don't appear in device manager as far as I can see.
    3). Is there a better way of controlling the drive

    regards

    Pete
     
  2. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Devices sold under the USB3 platform and "SuperSpeed" USB3 may not necessarily be more effective than eSATA, but I think this is a whole different argument. There are many 2.5" drive enclosures that can support up to 2TB 7200RPM laptop drives powered by eSATA and a USB cable that are portable, fast, speedy, and highly controllable.

    Typically, with the type of device you have, with no on or off switch, it will be difficult to cut the power without "Safely Removing" the device and unplugging it. On most computers, USB ports are still powered-on unless power management features cut off power to the ports. This complies with the USB standard which allows you to dismount devices but still recharge them using the USB controller. You should take some comfort in knowing that most super-portable enclosures (even ones you assemble yourself) no longer feature on/off switching on the device. There is a pretty good reasoning for this - for one, it's extra money. But for functionality's sake, it is bad practice. Simply stated, most people have a tendency to go for that off switch far more than they will ever navigate to the system tray and safely remove the device. The off switch would be equivalent to cutting power abruptly to the drive or entire computer were it still mounted while Windows was on. Forcing you to safely remove the drive and also unplug it makes it that much less likely you will have data loss or physical damage to the hard disk.

    If your hard drive is SMART compatible and adheres to the standards of most devices, then you should absolutely be able to pull this information. I typically use AIDA64 for these types of diagnostics, and the trial is free. This is not an endorsement, but the simple reality that I use paid software to get a full account of all system resources when I diagnose a system. It is extraordinarily thorough and sufficient enough that you would be able to pull this information. You can try the AIDA64 trial to try to pull this information. There are other freeware alternatives, including Belarc. I don't recommend Belarc due to an incident that took place in the XP days whereas people who posted their system specs online inadvertently had their product keys posted as well. This was searchable on Google for quite some time (although by now this has been fixed).

    To control the drive from Windows, you want to use the Disk Management MMC (Microsoft Management Console). Start -> Search -> diskmgmt.msc

    From there, you can control partitions up to a point. Freeware utilities out there will allow you to run drive diagnostics, perform more heavy duty partition work, and alter things like the boot sector. For full control of external drives for backup purposes, you want to start looking into more commercial solutions.

    Ultimately, the best bet for managing this device when turning it on and off is to safely remove the device and unplug its power source upon safe removal. This will ensure longevity of the drive. Remember, that behind all of the aesthetics and bells and whistles of an external drive, or lack thereof, you simply have a 3.5" or 2.5" conventional hard disk drive installed inside of it. Nothing special is going, besides the conversion to USB, FireWire, or eSATA. I hope this helps!
     
    #2 Mike, Sep 2, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2011
  3. parishpete

    parishpete New Member

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    Mike,

    Thank you for your comprehensive explanation. I fully understand the ramifications of properly removing devices.

    In the end it comes down to two things:

    Is it better to allow the drive to remain on all the while the PC is on. In my case that's about 16 hours a day and of which 12 hours is unnecessary.
    Or
    Is it better to power it down when not required and save electricity and drive life.

    Since it will only be powered up and down only once per day any argument related to drive life on that score is negated.

    If it is better to power it down when not required then I do have a need to control the port power, since getting to the rear USB ports on a regular basis is an issue and tying up a front port is inconvenient. That is assuming that in order for the port to reset to normal, only a reboot is necessary and the usb plug can remain in place.

    I can understand why people just leave them on!

    regards

    Pete
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    This is an argument that is debatable. Either way you will still turn it on or off 365 times a year. Personally, I would leave it on all day. When not in use, it will typically spin-down when no files are locked. This reduces electrical consumption to some degree. If really a concern, keep it unplugged when not in use. However, I believe that the drive life argument is not a big deal if you keep it on all day. The only problem I would think of would be a lack of airflow causing overheating where you would want to keep it off when not in use. If it is going to be used a lot, you don't want to be turning it on or off multiple times per day. If you are going to rely on it as a major asset, you would want to keep it on all day. Similarly, if you are going to schedule automated backups, simply leaving it on with your system might be the best bet.

    With my eSATA backup drives, I leave them off until I use them but I do not use them all day. I have one that I keep on all the time, but I occasionally turn it off when I know I will not use it for quite awhile. It is safe to know that the drives do spin down, and during that period, will consume less electricity when inactive. This is set in Power Options and is universal for all drives connected to the system.

    It it is really a matter of preference. If you are going to perform a lot of heavy duty operations with the drive, especially full and incremental backups of your entire system, I would leave it on and connected. You need that level of reliability. If this is somehow an impediment to you for any reason, I would turn it off. But I do not see any major impact on drive life. The actual impact of turning it on/off multiple times is related more to drive failure than I believe leaving it on does.

    I leave my main system on all the time to protect the hardware from having to be turned on and off 365 days a year. Of course, if I am gone for more than one day or know I will not use the system for several days, I do a full power down.
     
  5. parishpete

    parishpete New Member

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    Mike

    Thank you for your help and advice.

    After long and careful consideration I think it is in my best interest to leave it on. Messing about with USB settings and indeed deviating from the norm does not generally pay dividends.

    The power saving in terms of energy cost is minimal.

    As an aside, I find that for the second time in about two months the external has decided of its own accord that it is no longer a shared drive. Yesterday it was, today it isn't. I haven't made any changes (nor I did I the time before). There have been no unexpected shutdowns, glitches or otherwise.

    I only noticed because I check the back up logs now and again and the PC which writes to it across the network completed the back up with errors.

    I reset the sharing permissions and all was well.

    Any thoughts?

    kind regards

    Pete
     

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