Is it safe to leave my external drive plugged in to the NUC 24/7?

Hello everyone,
I’ve had a NUC for about a year now, and so far everything works perfectly well. My music library is backed up on a 4TB LaCie Rugged external hard drive plugged into it, and as it’s no SSD I was wondering if it was a good idea to leave it running all the time?

I obviously have a backup on another hard drive, which I update frequently, and I shut down the NUC from time to time, but I’m really hesitant to leave everything running for extended periods (I use Roon ARC quite a lot when I’m away from home).
Thanks for your feedbacks!

Does the drive spin all the time, as you could verify when listening closely?
If so, that’ll not help to extend its lifetime!

Probably true - but before I changed it, I would make sure I had a copy of all of the files on it just in case. This should be easy because the LaCie drive is the backup according to the statement made by in the original post by @Zabriskie although he also talks about having another backup - either way he should already have (at least) two copies.

It is not completely unknown for drives, as they near end of life, to work quite happily until they spin down and then never spin up again.

Since, the LaCie drive belonging has been spinning continuously for about a year, it could fall into that category :worried:

Have a 4 tb external drive plugged into the NUC running 24/7 since 2017, no issues.


Same here. I’ve been running an external 2 TB USB HDD continuously now for four or five years. This drive contains a copy of my music, which is backed up elsewhere, including the cloud.


I too would say no problem , I have an internal SSD in my NUC and a “few extra files” on a USB HDD, plugged in for 2 years now . I have seen no issues .

I also have multiple powered USB HDD as my primary back up not constantly plugged in.

Just be aware that a HDD will fail at some stage , they are not invincible but as long as you have proper back ups that’s just money !!

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I’m not entirely sure, but it seems to be spinning all the time yes :confused:

Truth is, you can’t really predict drive failure. It should last, but one day it might just wakeup dead. 20 people saying “mines been spinning fine for 10 years” doesn’t mean yours won’t break tomorrow. Personally, I’d unplug it when not in use, especially if it doesn’t sleep (spin down), but YMMV.


I’ve had several Seagate hard drives die on me within weeks. But that was years ago. I also have a hard drive here that has been with me for nearly 20 years.

It is impossible to tell how long each hard drive will last.


From perspective of the server, I do not see any problems with an external HDD running 24/7.

What I would be concerned about is what will happen if the drive fails? Personally I would not really trust these high-density 2.5" units. Had a 4TB WD Elements running almost permanently but one day it refused to access certain sectors, getting stuck when I was trying to read data from it. Had to throw it, not scannable, not repairable.

As mentioned, you always have a risk. And these 2.5" drives are not meant for 24/7. They get hot, they produce vibration without being properly damped. To minimize the risk, I would always opt for a NAS-grade drive if I am planning to have it running 24/7 for years. Or switch to SSD.

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No reason not to do it, in general. The only issue could be an electric spike.
On the other hand, if you don’t need it regularly, no reason not to unplug it and plug it in as needed.

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There should be zero risk to your data if these drives hold a copy of your music library. Moreover, the drive isn’t stressed. It’s doing reads for the most part, and accessing a single track takes a matter of seconds. A 2.5" drive is fine, doesn’t run hot, and you can expect years of continual operation.

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Is it safe to leave my external drive plugged in to the NUC 24/7?

Yes, it is safe

As others state, a drive failure can occur at anytime.

As @Martin_Webster states, have a backup, and a backup to your backup.


And of course SSD drives can fail as well. My non-statistical sample among a group of friends sees more SSD drives failing than HDD drives.

p.s. I have a 4TB HDD drive attached 24/7. No issues. About every 3 or 4 years I replace all my HDDs (ones in use, backup drives, etc.). None have failed, but just in case, I like to move all my stuff to newer drive, run a verification check on all the copied files (FLAC), etc.

Yes, some think SSDs are immune to failure. One thing about using HDDs, if you needed to you could spend money and potentially get the data reconstructed.