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External hard drive switches off automatically

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Your external hard drives switch off after a few seconds? From time to time this feature is hidden in the energy settings, but rarely. In the meantime, it is mostly the driver of the USB ports that is to blame, which takes over these energy settings. Since this USB driver does not communicate with the Windows energy control, it must be set manually. In this guide I would like to show you how easy it is to prevent external hard drives from going into standby mode. Just follow the instructions.

Note that there are usually three power settings:

  • The energy setting of the external hard disk (usually cannot be changed, is mounted on the hard disk controller)
  • The Windows energy settings (e.g. when the PC switches off the screen, USB devices and ports can also be used be sent to sleep mode)
  • The energy settings of the USB port (this is controlled by the USB driver).

Prevent standby from external hard drives

If your disk / external hard drive regularly switches off after a few seconds and goes into energy-saving mode, you should follow the steps below:

  1. Open the device manager
    – Either via the system controls
    – Or enter Windows key + R and compmgmt.msc
  2. Scroll to the USB controller and the USB connector manager and open them
  3. Right-click on each hub (generic USB hub, USB root hub, etc.)
  4. Click on Properties
  5. Go to the tab “Power Management” (administrator rights required)
  6. Deactivate everything (remove the checkmark)

Your hard drive should then run continuously without any problems. After the Windows settings have been set, it can of course be the case that the disk deactivates itself after 5 minutes to 2 hours. The manufacturer WD also has its own controller in most hard drives, which switches the hard drive off after a certain period of time. Otherwise (as mentioned) it will also be done by your PC via the energy properties. The energy management of the USB driver can and should be left out.

Further information and advice

You can find more information and advice on the guide overview page. There you will also find many other tricks and tips on known problems.

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