Turn Off Hard Disk After Idle in Windows 10

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.

  1. 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.
    control.exe powercfg.cpl,,3
  2. Alternatively, you can open Settings and go to System - Power & sleep.
  3. On the right, click on the link Additional power settings.Settngs Additional Power Settings Link
  4. The following dialog window will be opened. There, click the "Change plan settings" link.Disable Power Throttling In Windows 10
  5. In the next dialog window, expand the Hard disk group and open the Turn off hard disk after option.Windows 10 power plan advanced settings
  6. 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.

That's it.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

10 thoughts on “Turn Off Hard Disk After Idle in Windows 10”

  1. My Hdd never stops spinning, even though it is in idle and not doing anything. It is set to stop after 15 minutes, – never stops.

  2. I own a laptop with no HDD, only SDD. The “Hard Disk” category does not appear on the advanced power settings item list. I often plug in external HDDs , which stop after a few minutes (2? 3?).

    Any idea about how to access the corresponding parameter?

    Thanks in advance,


  3. I have set it to 3 minutes.

    Too often the hard disk comes online again.

    There is no better software with which you can set this. Really offline until the user needs the hard disk again.

    now the hard disk comes Too often online again for nothing.

    I am thinking about a switch between the power wires, is that not an option?

    The question is which wires should you interrupt with a switch?

    Lex A.dam NL.

    1. Check if you might have a program that has an open file from that drive. Perhaps the program is set to auto-save every few minutes and that is what’s triggering your HDD. Or a video on pause… could be anything of that sort.
      (I realize this reply is way too late by over 3 yrs, but perhaps it can help someone else who happens along…)

  4. Turn Off Sleep Function Of HDD

    1. Install “CrystalDiskInfo”

    2. Choose:
    “Function” ->
    “Advanced Feature” ->
    “AAM/APM Control”

    3. Select your disk
    and set the bottom slider
    [below “Advanced Power Management (APM)”]
    maximally on right side.

    Choose – “Enable”

    4. Choose:
    “Advanced Feature” ->
    and select “Auto AAM/APM Adaption”

    5. Choose:
    and select “Startup” and “Resident”


  5. I’m trying this for my external hard drive. But I have no hard drive drop down in that settings box.
    What can I do?


    1. This means the option is not available for your external drive. It is not possible to do anything against it.

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