Leaving an external hard drive powered on all the time

Western Digital recommends that external hard drives be powered off when not in use, although it is safe to leave a hard drive running continuously. Please see Answer ID 15058: How to Safely Remove the USB device from Windows or macOS. The hard drive should be placed away from any electronic devices and in a well ventilated area to allow airflow to the hard drive. Western Digital also recommends that the drive's power supply is connected through a surge protector. In the case of a power surge, or brown/black out, the hard drive's sensitive electrical components will not be damaged.

The initial power-on process is generally harder on the internal components of a hard drive than spinning for extended periods. However, Western Digital drives are designed to handle either scenario. Most users outgrow their drive before repeated turning on and off becomes a problem. Turning on the drive a few times per day is considered normal usage and should not pose any problems. If a drive is turned on and off excessively on a daily basis, this could affect the longevity of the hard drive’s components.

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