My HD has a power switch, I use it for data storage, then unplug the USB cable when finished. I then turn off the HD. Question is if turning off and on the HD is worse or beter then leaving it on al the time.
You should use the Safely Remove Hardware icon in the system tray to release the drive before powering it down. I don't pull the plug on my USB/Firewire drives after I use them, I just safely remove them and turn them off.
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