USB – The External Hard Disk Resets When Opening Windows Explorer

I have an external hard drive connected to my laptop with USB v3. Whenever I open Windows Explorer, the drive will reset itself, apparently when Windows draws asset inventory to display the drives tree, and so on.

What is this process going on and how can I prevent it?

It's not a matter of being driven to sleep. I can have a file transfer in progress and it will fail on this event. I run VMware with external drive data (active use) and the virtual crashes when that happens.

But if I open Windows Explorer at the root opening other instances of the Explorer seems to have no effect. So I can just open an explorer window on E: , leave it open and the problem disappears. But if Explorer is open to a subfolder, this beneficial anomaly does not occur.

My best guess at the moment is that, if a window is opened on E: foo and that a new instance of Windows Explorer opens, it scans the root of all devices and can force by default a reassembly. Whereas if E: root is already open in another window, he recognizes that he does not need to go back.

Is there a forced reassembly of devices when Windows Explorer opens? … unless the device is already recognized in another case …
Does Windows 8.1 Pro have configuration settings to change the behavior?

Thank you.