A special option in Windows 10 allows the user to turn off hard drives automatically after a specified period of inactivity. This feature is helpful for those who need to save energy, i.e. if you have a laptop with an HDD.
The option called Turn off hard disk after is a part of power management options of the current power plan. The user can enable or disable it. Depending of the selected power plan, it can be enabled or disabled out of the box. For example, it is enabled in the Balanced and Power Saver power profiles, and disabled in the Performance power plan.
When enabled, your HDD will be turned off after your PC being idle during the configured period of time. The hard drive engine will be stopped and its disks will not spin. Next time your software access the drive, it will take a few seconds before the drive start spinning and give access to files.
Note: This option doesn't affect solid state drives (SSD). They have no spinning parts and more power efficient than the classic HDDs.
To turn off the hard disk after idle in Windows 10, do the following.
- The required option is located in the Advanced power option applet. You can open it directly as described in the following article: How to open advanced settings of a power plan directly in Windows 10
In short, execute the following command from the Run dialog or in a command prompt.
- Alternatively, you can open Settings and go to System - Power & sleep.
- On the right, click on the link Additional power settings.
- The following dialog window will be opened. There, click the "Change plan settings" link.
- In the next dialog window, expand the Hard disk group and open the Turn off hard disk after option.
- Set how many minutes of idle should gone before the drive will be turned off. Set it to never to disable this feature if you want.
The default value of the option is 20 minutes.
Warning: Do not set the idle period to a small amount of minutes. It will wear out your HDD and trash its heads.