External hard drive - 24/7 use?

Hi All,

I am looking at repurposing an older mini tix pc build as my dedicated, always on machine to run Channels DVR and server. It is super power efficient, has an Intel CPU with quick sync and best of all it is free (to me). Better option in my book than buying a new stand alone NAS.

But it is in a small enclosure - only has room for 1 SSD for the OS (think Intel NUC size but slightly larger).

So I am thinking of just getting an external hard drive. I presume that is what others do when they talk about using mini PCs (like the NUC, Rpi4, mac mini etc).

Does it work well to have an external drive plugged in 24/7? Does it matter if that drive is a 3.5 inch enclosure versus a 2.5 inch portable? Are there any issues with the drive going to "sleep" in Windows 10 (the OS I will be using)?


I've been using a 2012 Mac Mini with an external 1TB USB3.0 drive for nearly a year now as my ChannelsDVR server.

The only issue I've had is that, after several weeks of uptime, the external drive would randomly disconnect from the Mac, causing me to miss recordings until I could unplug/re-plug the drive to get it re-mounted, or until I rebooted the Mac altogether.

I wound up setting up an automatic reboot once a week, and that has completely solved the problem for me. (although, there was once an issue where the machine didn't properly start back up after the reboot, causing me to miss a recording or 2)

Once Windows 10 is installed and the USB drive is connected, you need to modify the power plan that the machine is using so the drive and USB controller do not go to sleep.

Here is a link that will step you though the process: https://technicallyeasy.net/fix-prevent-hard-drives-from-going-sleep-windows-10/

Only issue I experienced before changing the settings was very, very slow start to anything I tried to watch.

Not sure what a mini tix pc is, but I prefer to use eSata enclosures vs USB enclosures.

I have two eSata enclosures housing 3 external drives under Windows and haven't had any issues with them running 7x24 for years.

If you have an eSata port on that thing or can add one it's the way to go.

I'm pretty sure it's a typo of Mini-ITX, which is a standard motherboard size. Although, they typically don't have enough ports, including eSATA.

I am using a similar SFF machine, and have no problem with multiple USB3 external drives. Although, I am using Linux (currently a 5.4 kernel), but have no issues with drives going to sleep/power-saving mode causing problems.

Agree, depends on the OS and how well you know it.

You're more experienced with *nix and I with Windows.

For me an eSata enclosure was easier for Windows, in that it made them appear as internal Sata drives, where external USB drives are more complicated to control with too many settings for power, etc.