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Old January 29th, 2008, 12:08 AM   #1
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WD My Book WARNING.

Is this new? I've got 3 Western Digital My Book external drives.

When the computer is powered off, the WDs go into a sleep mode, they don't power off, you can see their blue roundels wink every now and then. (looks great in the dark BTW)

At last call I hold their power buttons on till they do power down for the night, then cover them over.

Early this morning I shut the house mains off to install some new lights. When I turned it back on, all the WDs came on in sleep mode while covered over. Must have been about 2hrs before I saw them, and damned hot they all were too.

Summary, when I cover them I won't go out without disconnecting my My Books from the mains.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 05:12 AM   #2
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I've been involved with computers since the early 80's (Tandy model 1) and I never switch them off and I would never consider covering them up.

If you're in a particularly dusty environment then maybe but even then you're only protecting the power supply, fan etc - the hard drive itself is a sealed unit.

I seem to recall a thread discussing the merits of leaving computers on vs switching them off but I believe the current thinking is - leave them on (confirmed by my son, a tech writer for PC user)

I would check with some others but my advice is never cover computer equip up.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 07:28 AM   #3
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Power down...

I never cover them, but I also recommend powering down the MyBook the way you did. I have the same experience, I must first eject from the MAC and then hold the MyBook Power button for 5 seconds so it powers completely off, then remove firewire, then power source. Pain, but its the only safe thing I know to do so it doesn't set the house on fire at night!

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Old January 29th, 2008, 08:05 AM   #4
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I have one of these attached by firewire, and I notice that occasionally (well, more than occasionally, actually) I try to access it and the system can't see it. I have to power it off and on or play some other kind of game before it can be accessed from the system. I also get the occasional warning that Windows hasn't been able to complete a delayed write to the drive.

Does anyone else see this problem?
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Old January 29th, 2008, 08:15 AM   #5
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Leaving computers on is a significant waste of energy and hence worth avoiding for that reason, plus the heat of keeping them on seems contradictory to prolonging hardware life. Has any reliable study ever demonstrated any advantage to keeping computers running?
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Old January 29th, 2008, 09:12 AM   #6
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Depends on the computers. I used to work for IBM in Japan where they turned the mainframes off at night and weekends to save power. We had more failures due to power supply issues than you could shake a stick at. In the US where the same machines were never powered off for a year or more at a time, such failures were unheard of

Clearly there are differences between multi million dollar mainframes and PC's.

But the same issues arise in both - ie the thermal stresses of powering up and down, contraction and expansion of connectors, etc etc. If machines are designed for a lot of on/off cycles, then there shouldn't be any problems. Are consumer PC's designed this way? I doubt it unless you have really high end power supplies and components etc.

I never turn my machines off. Energy saving is a worthy goal, but I believe that doing so shortens the life of the machine more than leaving it on and the lost time involved in recreating software environments, hardware repair costs, etc tip the scales in my economic model toward leaving the machines on.

Your mileage may vary and/or you may have different beliefs about the question. I think it's a religious sort of thing - you either believe it's better to leave the machine on or not.

In the end we all have to follow our beliefs.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 09:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
Energy saving is a worthy goal, but I believe that doing so shortens the life of the machine more than leaving it on and the lost time involved in recreating software environments, hardware repair costs, etc tip the scales in my economic model toward leaving the machines on.
I was thinking more in terms of the environmental consequences of unnecessary energy use, but now that I think about it that could be lost if you have to replace the equipment more often. Then again, I usually replace computer equipment before I wear it out anyway, so for me turning computers off makes as much sense as leaving them on. Plus I'm mostly on laptops now anyway, which are at least in standy mode rather than at full power when I'm not using them. To each their own seems to be the best advice on this issue...
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Old January 29th, 2008, 10:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw View Post
Leaving computers on is a significant waste of energy and hence worth avoiding for that reason, plus the heat of keeping them on seems contradictory to prolonging hardware life. Has any reliable study ever demonstrated any advantage to keeping computers running?
The advantage to keeping computers and other electronics running is so that you don't power cycle them so often. Ever notice that most light bulbs blow right when you switch them on?

The answer, is called current inrush. Paul's example of the IBM mainframe systems is a great example. When you power down equipment for an extended period of time, the filter capacitors in the power supply will bleed off their charge. When you power the equipment back on, there is a large current inrush until the capacitors become charged.

In my younger days working as a disc jockey, the station's transmitter had two power buttons, the filament on/off and the transmitter on/off. We were instructed to never turn off the filament switch as it would shorten the life of those expensive power transmitting tubes.

What Paul said about thermal expansion and contraction is also true. After college, I worked many years as an equipment tech in a semiconductor wafer fab. It runs 24/7 and the equipment runs well with the periodic maintenance. But once or twice a year, the fab goes dark while the plant facilities crew works on and maintains the electrical switchgear, etc. It doesn't matter how carefully you shut that equipment down, when it comes back on, there are weird and unusual electronics failures for weeks to follow. Many are fixed by re-seating the boards in their edge connectors.

I like the energy saving compromise of hibernation. This keeps the power supply energized, while reducing its load current as displays go dark and the motherboard shuts down.

-gb-
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Old January 29th, 2008, 01:27 PM   #9
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Hi Guys..........................

Jim (specifically).......

You MUST dive into Windows Control Panel and disable "Write Behind Cacheing" for that external drive. Failing to do so can lead to a world of pain.

Windows XP SP2 (and W 98 SE) will hang on to quite important last writes till well past their use by date otherwise, and can kybosh entire file systems in the process when the drive is powered down.

It will, however, slow the access path, so, either never turn it off, or disable this function.

As for the subject under dicussion, I agree with most of what's been said.

Power cycles definately DO cause earlier equipment malfunction, however, leaving a 3 - 6 hour use per day machine running 24/7 really isn't doing the planet any favours.

Another of those "no win" situations I guess.


CS
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Old January 29th, 2008, 02:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
I have one of these attached by firewire, and I notice that occasionally (well, more than occasionally, actually) I try to access it and the system can't see it. I have to power it off and on or play some other kind of game before it can be accessed from the system. I also get the occasional warning that Windows hasn't been able to complete a delayed write to the drive.

Does anyone else see this problem?
Yes, I have this problem and it is very annoying. Mine is both USB and Firewire and frequently I have to switch to the opposite connection to get the computer to see it again. I haven't gotten the warning about the delayed write, but I have write caching disabled.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 04:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw View Post
Has any reliable study ever demonstrated any advantage to keeping computers running?
Google did a white paper on it..

Google's study, imaginatively titled "Failure Trends in a Large Disk Drive Population", has drawn comment because of two conclusions it draws that go against conventional wisdom. It is widely believed that hard drives are more likely to fail after extended periods of continued use, and that warm temperatures are detrimental to their performance. The latter is certainly accepted wisdom in the datacentre community, where air conditioning management is just as important as capacity planning.

However, Google's study of its own hard drive failure rates -- drawn from the seemingly endless array of bog-standard drives it uses to index and cache Internet content -- suggests almost the opposite. Drives which are only used infrequently are just as likely to fail as those used continuously, and temperature does not appear to influence drive failure rates anywhere as much as we think. "Surprisingly, we found that temperature and activity levels were much less correlated with drive failures than previously reported," the study noted.

research.google.com/archive/disk_failures.pdf

a gripping read.. well maybe more of a spinning read? hovering? oh shutup!
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Old January 29th, 2008, 09:30 PM   #12
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I would personally rather turn my computer off than leave it on. It's going to save on power and I so very rarely have parts fail on me its pretty much not worth while. On my last computer which I had for about 4 years the only parts that failed on me were a hard drive and power supply. With both I purchased better/larger ones. So it was basically the same as upgrading the computer, while saving on power. The processor was overclocked from day one. Still runs to this day(I powered it up earlier).
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Old January 30th, 2008, 02:53 PM   #13
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I used to leave my equipment running, along with the room's AC. I'd been doing that for years... until electricity costs started climbing.

Now I shut down everything overnight. Monthly electric bills dropped by 25% to 30%. And so far no failures. I've been doing this for the past several months.
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Old January 30th, 2008, 03:50 PM   #14
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Hard disk = light bulb (either way it will eventually fail) but have you ever left a light bulb on all the time vs. one you turn on only at night? Which one fails first? My aunt used to have this theory that the action of turning on and off creates more break points in the bulb than simply leaving it on all the time (similary to how cracks in rocks grow larger from freezing and thawing water inside the crack). So she'd never let us turn off the basement light -and it lasted seemingly forever.

Power and environmental trends aside:

I've had more problematic issues with turning my PCs off every night than just leaving it on all the time -fans start to make more noise or seize, capacitors start to buldge and hard disks fail to initialize the first time. A hard disk WILL go bad from non-use and inrushes, we see it here at work ALL the time. So for my critical files, I use external drives and give them power once or thrice a week. All other non-critical files sit on the constantly spinning disks of my workstations and server. I DO use my PC at least 4 hours a day however.

If you're the type that doesn't use the PC all that much, of course turn it off!
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Old January 31st, 2008, 12:38 AM   #15
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I still think parts breaking is a good excuse to upgrade.
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