Windows is designed to automatically perform maintenance tasks to improve performance and reliability. When your computer is on AC power and is idle, system maintenance tasks may be able to run for a few minutes. These system maintenance tasks include disk-layout optimization to improve performance and preparing automatic system restoration points to increase reliability. Typically, these tasks occur the first time you leave your computer idle after you start it. These tasks ensure that the system maintains its performance and reliability even after long use. Because these tasks involve reading and writing to the hard disk, the hard disk idle time is reset regularly during this maintenance period.
There are other items that can reset the hard disk idle timer. These items can include:
- Paging operations.
- Windows Update checking the system state.
- Event logging.
- Network detection such as DHCP or Autonet.
- Third-party services such as quota software or an antivirus program.
- Scheduled tasks.
- The loading of services or drivers.
You can use the Power Options tool in Control Panel to configure your computer to turn off hard disks after your computer has been idle for a specified amount of time.
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Article ID: 313300 - Last Review: Sep 23, 2011 - Revision: 1