simply setting power options in Windows will often not work to spin down a hard drive automatically after a specific time. However, it is very desirable to do exactly that because you can decrease the noise in your room significantly depending on the hard drive.
The software on the hard drive (yes, a hard drive has a software, too) most often has an option to spin down after a specific time. In Linux, you can simply set this time with
hdparm -S 25 /dev/sda
, while the number after -S depends on the hard drive.
Windows power settings do not allow to set this time which is a pity. The reason for this might be that too short spin down times might damage your hard drive and Microsoft wants to protect users from doing dangerous things. However, if you know what you do, I still recommend setting the spin down time yourself.
The tool which I found wortwhile is HDDScan: http://hddscan.com/
When you use that tool, select your hard drive and click on the button next to the hard drive drop down. Then, select “Features” and choose “IDE Features”. There, you can set an idle time on the right hand side.
You should make sure to choose a time such that your hard drive does not have to wake up often. Waking up takes a few seconds and this might slow down your performance a lot and might make working uncomfortable. Like stated before it might even damage your hard drive. Depending on your device, it might be necessary to run the tool again if you pull the power plug.
Maybe, this is helpful for others, as well. If you have comments or ideas, do not hesitate to let me know.
All the best,