Friday, 11 November 2011

What is meant by Zero-Power Optical Disk Drive

With the focus lying heavily on optimization for low screen resolutions, touch devices and mobile devices in general, Microsoft had to find ways to optimize the operating system’s power consumption and saving features. During the introduction of the Windows 8 developer preview Microsoft did not really reveal that many information about battery life, power consumption and new power saving options that the company build into the operating system.

One of the new features that we have not seen mentioned explicitly yet on the Internet is called Zero-Power Optical Disk Drive. It refers to a feature of the SATA Revision 3.1 specification (or short SATA 6GB/s). The official feature description is as following:

Zero-Power Optical Disk Drive (ODD) – eliminates the power consumption of an idle SATA ODD, resulting in increased energy savings

Microsoft supports SATA ODD in Windows 8. This basically means that optical drives will not consume any power when they are idle. It has to be noted though that the feature is only available if the computer supports SATA 6GB/s. If it does not, Windows cannot make use of the feature to reduce the power consumption of the operating system.

We have not seen any data yet on how much power this new feature will save on average. It is however likely that Microsoft will eventually publish an article on the Building Windows 8 blog that details all the improvements the company made when it comes to making the operating system more power efficient.

It will also be interesting to see if the new technology has an impact on the responsiveness of the disk drive.

Windows users who want to disable the feature in the operating system can do so in the Registry. For that they need to open the run box with Windows-r, type in regedit and hit enter.

They then need to display the Registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\cdrom\parameters\ and locate the responsible parameter ZeroPowerODDenabled on the right side. Changing the value of the parameter to 0 disables Zero-Power Optical Disk Drive on the system. A restart is required afterwards.

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