Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Drive spinning up every few minutes for no aparrent reason

  1. #1

    Drive spinning up every few minutes for no aparrent reason


    Hi, thanks for having this forum. I can hear a drive spinning up to full speed every few minutes. I have 3 hard drives. One for Windows 8, one for Windows 7 and one for data. I can't tell which one is spinning up. It happens about every 3 minutes or so, all day and night. I don't have any applications running just a browser. Has anyone got a clue what it might be? It's not causing any malfunctions, just annoying. Thanks, Jim

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  2. #2


    Posts : 2,130
    Windows 8.0 x64


    Welcome to the Forums.

    If you have your network set for WMP to share media files it could be scanning the drives every so often looking for files to add to the library. I remember on my first Vista machine it pretty much hogged the drive to do it. I had to turn that off as well as disabling Windows Search Indexing Service to use the machine normally.

    Usually it's either WMP or indexing running the drives on all the time.
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  3. #3


    Thanks Miles Ahead, I'm not sure what I did but I messed with the Indexing settings and it quit. Something else I need to learn about. Regards, Jim
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  4. #4


    Posts : 2,130
    Windows 8.0 x64


    You are welcome. With XP you could kind of just run out of the box afa Services. But since Vista doing so can be a performance killer. Stuff like running Touch Screen service if you don't have a touch screen etc..

    There are sites on the web with detailed descriptions of all the services. In fact searching out how to adjust my first Vista machine got me to this site in 2008: Vista Support Forums

    I've been on the related sites ever since.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Hi MilesAhead, I'm back. This problem never really went away, but I didn't have time to mess with it. Now if you have the time, I would like to investigate further. First of all, I can't find WMP. What does it mean and where will I find it. Thanks, Jim
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 454
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    Quote Originally Posted by okrobie View Post
    Hi, thanks for having this forum. I can hear a drive spinning up to full speed every few minutes. I have 3 hard drives. One for Windows 8, one for Windows 7 and one for data. I can't tell which one is spinning up. It happens about every 3 minutes or so, all day and night. I don't have any applications running just a browser. Has anyone got a clue what it might be? It's not causing any malfunctions, just annoying. Thanks, Jim
    FWIW, ordinary hard drives only operate at one speed, i.e. there is only one speed below "Full Speed", and that is, "Off", and this includes the WD Green Drives, despite the confusing "IntelliPower" terminology they use. There are many things that cause drives to spin up for no apparent reason, but if it's happening "every three minutes", your spin down time must be too short. Try lengthening it, and consider replacing your boot drive with an SSD. That will remove one HD from the equation, and it may be the most significant speed upgrade you'll ever make. If ultimate quietness is the goal, I'd replace the other two drives with a single larger drive, which will eliminate any resonance multiple drives may exhibit, and I'd disable sleep for the single remaining HD. Then I'd use a second PC or NAS if I needed more storage. That's actually what I did.

    This reminds me, I wrote the following back in 2012, which was a recounting of a long experiment I did regarding HD sleep.

    View topic - Turn Off Hard Disk - Good or Bad Idea?

    I never slept the hard drives until about a year ago when I got an SSD and put the majority of my working files on it in addition to the OS. I kept two 2 TB green drives for Recorded TV, music, large downloads, etc, and I decided to try enabling sleep on them to reduce noise even further for my quiet PC, which is my main PC as well as my HTPC. I was curious enough to track the start/stop cycles in a spreadsheet by using the SMART parameters, and I was able to distinguish start/stop due to system sleep (call it "Type 1") from just the HDs sleeping (Type 2). I found that Windows loves to spin up hard drives, even my two purely data drives. After about 8 months, I concluded I don't believe in sleeping hard drives on a primary PC at least. There are too many random spin-up delays, not enough quietness benefit, and there's the nagging concern about wear and tear.

    I started with many Microsoft processes that grovel hard drives turned off, including having nothing in the Music library, Distributed Link Tracking Client turned off, etc, things I routinely do when I install Windows. With the HDs set to the default 20 minutes, I was getting 2 Type 1 and 7 Type 2 hard drive power cycles per day. The Type 1's, which represent System Sleep, remained pretty much constant throughout the experiment, so the rest of this will be about the Type 2's, the HDs sleeping due to power saving. Going to 30 minutes decreased the Type 2's to about 5, which was still too much, as I was wanting them to stay off most of the time for noise reasons, not to mention I was concerned about wear and tear. I used Process Monitor to determine the activities that were causing the spin-ups, and I next turned off Jump List "Recent Files", Explorer Disk Space Checks, removed one of the drives from Indexing, and turned off recent file tracking in programs like Adobe Reader, Notepad++, etc. This got it down to about 4 Type 2's. I got an additional fractional improvement by removing all references to my data drives from the Explorer navigation tree Favorites pane. By this time, I had sacrificed some functionality I consider important, I had not eliminated all unnecessary spin-ups, and I was getting more and more frustrated with the seemingly random 10 sec delays I was experiencing. My breaking point came with the iTunes 10.4 upgrade. Despite having all the info about my music library stored on the SSD and not performing any library updates automatically, iTunes had always spun up the music drive when I merely clicked on a song, say, just to review its metadata, but I could still browse the library without spinning up the drives. With 10.4, iTunes began to spin up the hard drive even when clicking on an album to review the list of songs that are on it, so just browsing the library in iTunes implied spinning up the hard drive. It was just hopeless.

    So, at the end of this experiment, I was back to more than 4 Type 2 power cycles per day and gave up in frustration at all the 10 second delays it caused me for about 8 months. I've since restored the good features I disabled and keep the HDs powered on at all times, as I've done for 20+ years.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 2,130
    Windows 8.0 x64


    Quote Originally Posted by okrobie View Post
    Hi MilesAhead, I'm back. This problem never really went away, but I didn't have time to mess with it. Now if you have the time, I would like to investigate further. First of all, I can't find WMP. What does it mean and where will I find it. Thanks, Jim
    The quick thing to look for is open Task Manager and see if mobsync.exe is running. That used to hog my drive indexing media files for Windows Media Player. If not that then you might look into the info posted by crawfish if you have any powersaver drives. I always used WD Black and kept them spun up all the time just to avoid the side-effects of waiting for drives to spin up.
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  8. #8


    Hi crawfish and milesahead, crawfish, you gave me my strongest clue. That hard drives only have one operating speed. That made me think... maybe it's the dvd or cdrom drives. I went to the control panel device manager and deactivated the dvd and cdrom drives and have not had an incident since. I'll let you know if that works and then we can look at what is making them spin up.
    Milesahead, no mobsync.exe is not running, but this desktop is a HP Media Center PC so maybe we are all on the right track.
    Thanks guys, Jim
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 2,130
    Windows 8.0 x64


    Now that you mention Optical Drive.. I had a string of HP desktop PCs. All Media Center. On one the HD LED indicator would tick every second. On another it kept flicking on the red LED inside where the memory card ports were. If I disabled the Optical Drive in Device Manager, all that went away. Turns out one disk controller did everything. I got the hint from another board. A guy with an HP desktop said deactivate the DVD drive. If the HD access light stops flickering then it was caused by the system checking for media in the drive.

    It might have something to do with it. Maybe not.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    I'm still having the problem. I have completely uninstalled the dvd and cdr through the controll panel but something is still spinning up. Is it possible that the spinning up that I hear is from a cooling fan or something like that? I'm stumped. Thanks for all the help. Jim
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Drive spinning up every few minutes for no aparrent reason
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