To save power, turn off the hard disk after a period of inactivity

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We have seen how we can use the PowerCFG tool to know the health and condition of a laptop’s battery. Its bug report shows you many causes of errors, some of which can be easily fixed to improve your laptop’s battery.

We have already seen many tips on battery life in Windows 7. Some of you may even have read the guide on how to use and optimize laptop batteries.

Again, some of you have tried this automatic troubleshooting solution that helps you adjust power settings to improve battery life and reduce power consumption.

But there is another thing you can do, namely turn off the hard disk after some time of complete inactivity. If you are connected, extending the battery life is out of the question – but you can save energy. When you’re on battery power, it helps reduce power consumption and extend battery life. As already mentioned, you can run’Powercfg’ to get the energy efficiency diagnostic report of your laptop.

When our Windows computer is idle, it is designed to perform certain general maintenance tasks to improve performance, such as defragmentation, search indexing, paging operations, event logging, checking Windows updates, automatically creating recovery points, performing scheduled tasks, over extracting, third party activities, such as loading drives or services, DHCP or Autonet, or discovering the network, etc. These are usually executed the first time your computer is idle and can take several minutes.

Once all these steps are complete and your computer is completely idle, you can set it to disable disk activity. Turning off the hard disk helps prolong battery life and would be useful if you are working with a low battery.

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And there’s nothing to worry about here, because even if you set your hard drive to turn off after about 5 minutes, it won’t turn off when background maintenance is performed – instead, the system will reset the hard drive’s idle timer.

To turn off the hard disk after a period of inactivity, enter the power options in the boot search and press Enter. Once the Control Panel applet opens, choose Edit or change the plan settings. Then click Change Advanced Power Settings.

Here, under Hard disk, you can set that it turns off after a certain time in idle mode. Click both options and set them to whatever you want. I double-clicked’Never’ and changed it to 30 minutes in my case. So I set mine to 10 minutes in battery mode and 30 minutes when it’s plugged in. You can decide for yourself and set a number.

When you wake up your computer, it may take a few more seconds because the hard disk needs time to turn on.

If you want to know more about disk inactivity detection, configuring disk inactivity detection policies and using PwrTest to observe disk inactivity detection, and more generally about the infrastructure supporting disk inactivity detection in the Windows operating system, you can download this white paper from MSDN via Windows Disk Idle Detection.

You may also be interested in the advantages and disadvantages of the different power plans available in Windows 7.

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