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How to "hide" mechanical hard drive from macOS

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I have installed a mechanical 2GB SATA6 HD in my HackMini8,1 for TimeMachine and other backup storage. An annoying side effect is that some simple actions are delayed while waiting for the drive to spin-up (e.g. when I click Safari > File > New Window, the new window doesn't appear until the HD spins-up).

Is there a way to disable macOS search for the mechanical HD while it remains "visible" to TimeMachine and "visible" in Finder (so I can still use it a storage for my hack)?
 
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This site suggests "Deselect Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible" for macOS 10.6 and later. Seems rather drastic, but willing to try it. Hopefully, the drive still goes to sleep on its own.
 

Feartech

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This site suggests "Deselect Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible" for macOS 10.6 and later. Seems rather drastic, but willing to try it. Hopefully, the drive still goes to sleep on its own.
maybe try and exclude the drive from spotlight? not sure if that would work but may be a better choice than having your drive spinning all the time?
 
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Thanks, @Feartech ! I do have Spotlight disabled for all volumes (in Privacy) and all Spotlight Search Results are unchecked. A habit I got into with older hacks running Mojave and Catalina. The issue isn't a Spotlight issue.

The two articles listed below indicate that this is an Apple issue with external hdds. Maybe I need to do something to make macOS recognize my hdd as internal? I checked and diskutility shows my hdd as "internal SATA," so it's not an internal/external issue.
 
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