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Using toggle switch to power-off (non-boot) internal drive?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I am going to buy large (2-3TB) hard drive to use for backups, but I don't really want to make it external if I can help it. I don't have much desk space, spare outlets, and it just means more wire mess everywhere.

I don't need the drive on except for backups which I do once a week. Could I put the drive in my tower (ambient temps are very cool, I have an intake fan blowing right on drive bays) and use a toggle-switch to only power on the drive when I need it and then power it off, after safely removing it/ejecting it?

I was looking up this exact topic on Google, and several people said things like "they don't recommend it" and a molex cable with built in toggle switch from performance-pcs.com says in the description that it is intended only for use with fans/leds and not hard drives. However, I don't see how this is much different from using a hot-swap bay..?

I would obviously get a heavy-duty 12v+ rated switch, and run through the ground connection of the molex. So if I safely eject the drive first, is this safe, ok, and a good idea? It would for sure be more convenient and clean. That way I'd always have my backups when I transport my tower without having to carry extra gear. It would also mean less wire-nests behind my desk.
Edited by EliteGamer83 - 10/23/12 at 11:37am
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post #2 of 6
Hard drives aren't PnP in the sense that you are stating.
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post #3 of 6
I wouldn't do that. Cutting power to anything via physical switch seems like it would be a huge risk to the drive. That being said, you know there are power options in windows that cut power to drives when they are not in use for a specifed time, right? I have a noisy old IDE drive that I use in my kid's HTPC as a live tv scratch drive and you can hear it whining when the pc wakes from sleep, but 10 minutes later the drive spins down and is technically "off" until I either try to access it or start watching tv, which of course starts writing to it.
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post #4 of 6
sounds a lot like what my esata drive dock does, although it might have more circuitry than just a power switch, but I can turn the dock on and off while the pc is on and Windows detects the drive fine and when powered off it removes the drive from my list of drives
I did have to enable AHCI for the hot swapping to work

does this mean a power switch on a molex cable is safe? I have no idea
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post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
I too use AHCI (no IDE drives at all) and I don't see why you say that hard drives aren't PnP? Does that mean when I use my hot-swap bay that it is damaging the drives?

Since I enabled AHCI, if you right click that little usb icon in the taskbar, it will actually allow me to "Safely Remove" my boot drive that I am using.
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post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Perhaps I should have started by saying that my motherboard does support hot-swapping. I'm so used to it that I forgot not all motherboards have that capability.
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