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Laptop hard drive turning on and off

  1. Feb 15, 2015 #1
    I've got a Lenovo y510p laptop, and I can hear the hard drive spinning up and spinning back down about once every 30 seconds to once every 2 minutes while I'm using the laptop normally. It's starting to drive me crazy and it's distracting. I'm wondering if this is affecting the lifetime of my drive? I thought it might be the "Lenovo Energy Management" software, so I tried turning off the "Hard Disk Power Saver" in that option but it makes no difference. Any idea why this is happening and if it's harming my hard drive? (or if it is even the drive in the first place?)
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 15, 2015 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Is it the hard drive or the fan? As an example, you do something that requires some cpu power and the fan turns on to keep the cup cooler.
  4. Feb 15, 2015 #3
    I don't think it's the fan. The fan maintains a pretty constant level when I'm not doing anything intensive. But when I'm just surfing the web or reading pdfs I can hear a distinct high pitched, but soft sound which to me sounds like the hard drive spinning up and down. And sometimes, if I click on something in firefox right as it's happening, the computer will lag for a second.
  5. Feb 15, 2015 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    Usually when you suspect a hard drive it's good to seriously backup everything like right now.
  6. Feb 15, 2015 #5
    Good point, I'll do a backup overnight tonight. It's been doing this for quite a while. Not sure if it's normal or if it's meant to do it, but better safe than sorry.
  7. Feb 15, 2015 #6


    Staff: Mentor

    Another thought is to do a scan for malware.
  8. Feb 25, 2015 #7


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    Gold Member

    I would try running a process manager and see what is running in the background. If Windows, you can also type msconfig.exe in the Run box. Something is probably scheduling itself to run without you wanting it to.

    OTOH, there could be issues with the drive itself; if it isn't large enough, it could be fragmented, or nearly full. Or if you open a gazillion programs at once, the OS could be paging back and forth from memory to disk to accomdate all the programs simultaneously trying to occupy memory.

    If you'll post the particulars of your system--hardware, mem size, OS, age, and what you typically run--we could get a better idea of what is going on.
  9. Mar 8, 2015 #8
    You should also check the time delay for your disk drive to power down after no use. It's in the Power Options of windows, in the Advanced setting for Windows 8.1. It can usually have a different setting for when you are running on batteries, i.e. a laptop/tablet, or AC power.

    If your hard drive is starting and stopping a lot, you maybe should increase the time a bit so it can stay on longer and cycle on and off less. This does increase the power draw when on batteries but probably is less stressful to the hard drive and you if the off time is pretty short.
  10. Mar 8, 2015 #9


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    Staff: Mentor

    I've had CD rom drives do this, but if your hard drive was doing it, your computer should have already crashed, so I'd be shocked if it was actually the hard drive.
  11. Mar 11, 2015 #10
    If the problem only occurs when you're connected to the internet , it could be some program trying to download an update , and failing repeatedly, (caught in a loop).
    The offending program may be unwanted crapware running in the background , which could be uninstalled.
  12. Mar 23, 2015 #11


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    Science Advisor

    Go to Control Panel →Power Options→Edit Plan Settings→Change Advanced Power Settings. Look at Hard disk→Turn off hard disk after. Choose "Never" and see if there is any difference.
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