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Hard Drive activity AFTER machine shuts down

By moriarty
Dec 15, 2008
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  1. When I shut down my system there is audible disc activity and a flickering HD LED at, and immediately after, the point at which the machine turns off. This is scary because I have always understood that turning off power while a HD is active is more than likely to kill it, and I haven't noticed this on other machines. The mainboard is a QDI Advance 5-133E and the O/S Windows 2000 Pro.

    Is this dangerous? Is there any way I can get back the good old "It is now safe to turn off your computer" message?

    I would like to get the message back anyway, because I always turn off at the mains socket immediately I shut down, but all I can find online is questions from people trying to get rid of the message!
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    That's a Power Management issue
    The computer should really just fully shutdown (unless really old)

    Try running Bios setup defaults (usually press DEL or F2 or some other key to get into bios setup screen, when the computer first turns on)
  3. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 3,556

  4. moriarty

    moriarty TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 28

    I'm not getting the " It is now safe...." message. I never have on this m/board, and I realise that it is meant to shut down automatically. It's just that IF there is a fault that is causing the HD to run at the point of shut-down and risking damage, it would be a way of avoiding this. I'm sure other machines I've used have ceased HD activity before shut-down.

    It certainly is possible to get the "It is now safe..." message on an ATX m/board judging by the number of people who have put questions in to forums asking how to get rid of it! I get the impression that this message appears if you install the O/S without APM capability enabled.

    I've already tried going into BIOS and disabling ACPI (result continuous reboot) and disabling PM by APM (no apparent effect).

    Is the HD activity risking damage? If not I won't worry about it.
  5. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 3,556

    'Is there any way I can get back the good old "It is now safe to turn off your computer" message?'

    That is what you asked and the link I provided explains you don't 'get' that message unless there is a problem.

    If anything, I think the explanation is in this link;
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/132063 , the key words being "any additional disk activity is the result of multiple hard disk reset commands.".
  6. mflynn

    mflynn TS Rookie Posts: 2,793

    It is probably Write Caching!

    In Device manager open the Disk Drives Category and Rt click the HD for properties then click Disk properties TAB. If Write Cache enabled is checked then you are hearing the Cache (from Ram) being flushed to disk.

    Write Caching is only advised when you have UPS battery backup because if it don't get flushed in some cases you will have problems.

    To prove it uncheck the Write cache box and shut down. It will still flush on this shutdown but after a reboot the next should not be heard or seen.

    It does increase performance so it is your choice to re enable it. But now you know what it is!

    Mike
  7. moriarty

    moriarty TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 28

    Thanks CCT,

    I guess that could well be the explanation. The machine may have always been doing this, though I only started noticing it a couple of weeks ago, and the hard-drive hasn't exploded yet!

    In retrospect I probably confused the issue a bit in my original post by mentioning the "It is now safe..." message. I just thought that it if I could get this to appear on an ATX m/board it would remove any danger. Really I just wanted to know whether the disc activity was likely to cause HD failure and the data loss this would cause.

    Also, thanks, Mike! Your message appeared while I was writing the one above. I'll look into that.
  8. moriarty

    moriarty TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 28

    Tried that, but there still seemed to be some disc activity after shut-down. Anyway, wouldn't it flush the cache before it turns off the PS?

    I'll just have to forget about it and assume the thing knows what it's doing! I may try to increase the frequency of my back-ups, though.
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