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hard drive sleepThis must have happened to you often enough: while working on something from your hard drive (no matter if internal or external), the system eventually puts it into a “sleep mode” where it’ll take a while to wake up again before it’ll finally be able to do what you actually want it to do. Or even worse could happen.

So you think to yourself, “Well I can go into Window‘s system settings and change it, right?” Well, yes and no. While Windows lets you change the sleep behavior of your internal hard disk, there is no guarantee that the same will be applied to something Windows identifies as a removable device. Additionally, what if you’re working on a different computer, say a friend’s or public computer, where you have no access to (or at least shouldn’t) change any of the settings. What do you do now?

About KeepAliveHD

hard drive sleep
This problem is now solved thanks to an open source developer who had a simple idea that honestly works quite well. This idea has been now realized into KeepAliveHD. It’s best explained when you have it installed and can try it out for yourself, so head over to this page, click on Downloads at the top, and choose the only option that is available. Go ahead and install it normally.

Note that if you would like to have the program placed onto your external storage device, you can choose to have the installer do so. Finally, in order for it to work correctly, it seems you need to run it using administrative privileges, but the software is currently in “alpha”, so hopefully this will be fixed by then.

Configuration

hard drive sleep mode
When launched, the interface is quite clean and I find it easy to use. Configuring the tool is just as simple as it looks. First you’ll add the drive that you want to “keep alive”, choose how often it should do something with the drive in order to keep it awake, and whether the action should actually be enabled or just dormant. Hit OK, and add any other drives you wish to include.

Note now that even though you have one or all drives enabled, the status will still say “DISABLED”. The “Enable writing mode” checkbox seems to be the master switch, so once you enable that little box things will start to go into motion.

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More Options

Below all the included drives, you’ll see a few more options that you can use. You can have the program automatically run at startup (if it’s installed on your own system), hide in the icon tray when minimized, minimize when the close button is clicked instead of out-right quitting, and whether KeepAliveHD should stop its operations if the user is inactive for a certain amount of time.

Other Tabs

hard drive sleep
In the Drive Info tab, you’ll see some basic information about your drives, such as the drive letter, the Volume Name, the amount of total space, and whether it is a fixed or removable device. Finally, the About tab will give you a description, version, and contact information.

Conclusion

While KeepAliveHD may not be a program in high-demand, it is sure to be helpful to a number of people who need something that can do this. No matter what the setting, I’m sure there will be someone who will much appreciate what this app will do for them in a simple way. It’s great to know that there are developers who think about the little things that could make working on a computer just that much better. Personally, I’d love to see something similar like this for Linux, because it is a pain in the butt when I have Linux on an external hard drive, the drive goes to sleep, and then the system can’t even retrieve the wakeup function from the drive.

What’s your favorite “trick” program? Tell us what it does and why you need it in the comments below!

Image Credit: Shutterstock

  1. nigel adams
    October 20, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    How about mouse jiggler or am I on about something else

    • Danny Stieben
      November 1, 2011 at 3:54 am

      nigel,

      Assuming that the name says what it's supposed to do, "Mouse Jiggler" will help keep your system in general awake so that it won't go to sleep, turn off your monitor, go to a screensaver, etc. Your hard drive won't be kept awake by simply moving the mouse, but rather by creating some form of activity on the hard drive, which is what KeepAliveHD does.

  2. Matt
    October 18, 2011 at 6:29 pm

     This is great! I've been looking for a program like this. Thanks!

  3. Fik_of_borg
    October 18, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Good idea, but the same effect should be achieved with a simple scheduled task that runs a BAT file with something like "dir > X:keepalive.txt" where X is the relevant drive.

    • Fik_of_borg
      October 18, 2011 at 2:19 pm

      BTW, a cron job should have the same effect in linux.

    • Smumdax
      October 19, 2011 at 2:16 am

      Sure... but the "normal" user doesn't know much about .bat files... this program is user-friendly. You might want to consider that.

      • Danny Stieben
        November 1, 2011 at 3:53 am

        Not only that, but, depending on the system, scheduling tasks or creating cron jobs may not be a user's privilege.

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