June 17th, 2005 at 02:18pm
While fixing a computer last night, I got quite a scare when the computer stopped booting. I could see the Windows 98 splash screen, but it just stopped on that. It wouldn’t boot from the HDD, the floppy drive or the CD drive. After a lot of pulling my hair out I discovered that it seemed to stop around the time it wanted to check the HDD, which didn’t make sense as the HDD was fine.
After a lot more hair pulling and tugging I decided to have a look at the BIOS power saving, it was on, which isn’t an issue as such, but after I turned it off, the computer booted properly. On further investigation I have discovered that the power saving went nuts and turned off the HDD when it was in use…great fun.
Now, if you have power saving turned on, I have to ask you why.
When your hard drive is on, it is spinning, and the heads are being held aloft over the magnetic surface of the HDD by the air cushion created by the spinning, your HDD also has a landing zone for the heads, the reason it has this is that when the Hard Drive slows down and the air cushion disappears, the heads crash land on the hard drive and drag for a little while…the same thing happens in reverse when the hard drive starts up again, the heads drag for a while until the air cushion builds up. The landing zone creates a safe area for the heads to crash and drag.
The more you turn your HDD on and off, the more damage you do to the heads, and if they don’t hit the landing zone, the data on your HDD. Your HDD doesn’t use much power…in fact, an absolutely minimal amount. You would be well advised to leave your HDD running when you computer is running as it creates less wear and tear on the heads, the magnetic surface and the motor. It also provides faster access times.
The only decent reason for using power saving on your HDD is if you are running a laptop on batteries, otherwise, turn off power saving.