Risky to d/l DVD torrents, I guess, but otherwise
I'm certain that for the drives themselves it's better to leave them running all the time. Heads crash when started, or the electronics are murdered by the sudden power surge. Of course, if you do have power outages, spikes or surges (I don't, didn't have one single power outage or any electrical problem in the 15 years I live in the same place), you could end up with a bunch of fried chips. This summer I didn't switch off my computers during the six weeks I spent abroad (forgot to).
I had a few drive crashes, but only with brand - new drives (easy to replace), and with lots of old drives - but only during the powering-on cycle. OK, it drives the electricity bill up and /or drains the batteries, but the first thing I do when I get to a laptop is to disable the power saving features for the HD.
Now if any consumer product would still be allowing for a very nice gradual spin - up, as old SCSI drives did, or had surge protection built in, I would be a happy person. Having to trash the occassional DVD player or VCR just because these things don't even have a power switch and love to go poof as soon as you move them to the next room drives me mad. Yes, a DVD player is a dirt cheap thing, often cheaper than the (retail, non torrented) DVDisc, but still - why can't the Chinese raise the price by 50 cent and build in a switch?
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