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Old Oct 27, 2009, 11:49 AM   #1
frannbug
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My files are being turned into aliases

It started with a USB drive attached to my Airport BaseStation. It was mounted on the desktop but whenever I clicked on it I got the message:'The alias "Maxtor Basic" can't be opened because the original item can't be found.'

I have three options underneath:
1.to delete the alias - which gives me a message: 'The item "Maxtor Basic' can't be moved to the Trash because it can't be deleted.';
2.to fix the alias (this option doesn't work because if I get the network up on a Finder window all the drives show as available except the one in question, which is greyed out; and
3. to press 'OK' which basically does nothing.

I can eject the icon on the desktop but when I try and connect again I just get another icon that thinks it's an alias (there's no little arrow at the bottom of it, though). I've tried restarting the computer, disconnecting the drives and switching them off, disconnecting all users from the Airport disks page and none of these works. Is it possible the disk itself thinks it's an alias?

Following on from that I've found that some of the files in my other remote disks (attached with FireWire and USB directly to the computer) are doing the same thing. Have I caught a bug? Is this a Snow Leopard issue? Please don't tell me to format any hard drives - I've had to start again so many times recently I'm beginning to consider giving my computer away and living without it!
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Last edited by frannbug; Nov 9, 2009 at 06:29 PM. Reason: typo
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Old Nov 1, 2009, 10:59 PM   #2
frannbug
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Problem worse - can anyone help, please?

I've run DiskWarrior on all my external and internal disks and found very little wrong. I then took all my USB AirPort disks and plugged them straight into my Mac, convinced that I'd get at least temporary access to my Maxtor disk.
No such luck!
I still just get the option to delete or fix the alias when I click on my disk's icon. I've even upgraded my copies of OnyX and TinkerTool in the hope that one of those might have a fix residing in a rarely used tab somewhere. But still no luck!
Strange thing is that if I get info on the volume, it correctly identifies it as a volume. I've even seen the contents in a 'find file' operation within an application. But all my attempts to open the volume in the finder meet with the same 'fix or delete alias' message.

I've run out of ideas. Can anyone help, please?
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Old Nov 1, 2009, 11:19 PM   #3
SAdProZ
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hmmm...

I'm not quite sure what the problem is. Its kind of hard to imagine it. Can you post a screenshot?

What hardware are you using (ie, Macbook, iMac)?


Also, make sure your Option+Command keys aren't stuck. Try a different keyboard if you have to. Option+Command clicking and dragging creates aliases....although it sounds like that is not your problem.
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Old Nov 2, 2009, 08:36 AM   #4
frannbug
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Screenshots as requested

As requested, I have uploaded four screenshots.
No. 1 is showing the alert I get whenever I double click on the icon for the Maxtor disk.
No. 2 shows the greyed out icon that appears in open and save dialogue boxes and also when I open a Finder window and click on the name of my computer.
No. 3 is the result of running Disk Utility on the drive. I have rearranged the contents a little but the info is all there.
No. 4 is the Get Info window for the disk.

You probably notice that I've deleted or rearranged some parts of these screen shots for privacy reasons.

Does that clarify what I'm saying?
Lastly, the disk says that it has 1.5tb free. That's a bit of a surprise as I've used almost all of it and 1.5tb is the complete capacity of the disk, not the useable capacity. However, I've also noticed another 1.5tb drive on my desktop which has half been used up and that also says it has 1.5tb free. Fortunately that one works OK (good job too because the Maxtor is backing this other disk up - if both of them went I'd lose everything!).

Thanks for trying to help.
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Old Nov 2, 2009, 08:39 AM   #5
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Also…

I've tried opening a different log-in on my computer and the disk still won't open.
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Old Nov 2, 2009, 09:44 AM   #6
SAdProZ
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This seems really unique. I don't know if anyone knows an answer or will see this thread and answer your problem. I would do a little bit of trouble shooting, if you haven't already done this:
Step 1. See if problem occurs on another mac (Go to Apple store/Best Buy if needed). If so, its the external HD. If not move on to step 2. But it seems its not the external HD as its happened to other external HDs too, right?

Step 2. Reinstall OSX on top of your existing installation to see if that doesn't fix what's wrong. If it fixes it, it was the OS and hopefully you won't have any issues. If not...

Step 3. Fresh install OSX and see if problem occurs. You never know if its some program your using or something that got screwed up in the past and you're not seeing its consequences until now.
It may be annoying to think that you have to fresh install OSX to fix this one—but significant—problem but take it as an opportunity to backup everything and start fresh. Good luck!
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Last edited by SAdProZ; Nov 2, 2009 at 09:51 AM.
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Old Nov 2, 2009, 10:58 AM   #7
frannbug
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Thanks!

Thanks for the suggestions.

I will try number 1 as my daughter's old PowerMac Mini is languishing in her room while she's at Uni. If it works on that it'll be quite a miracle as it's a bit sick and slow at the moment.

Number 2 - well first I'll see if I can open it starting up from one of my external disks that IS working properly. I've got loads of old system folders on them. if I don't get anywhere with that then no. 2 proper will have to happen.

Number 3: PLEASE NOOOOO! I do hope it doesn't get that far! Because I've already done that twice this year and it takes an absolute age to get back to normal (that's why I have so many external disks - bits and pieces of old backups are all over the place as my disks have failed).

But thanks for the advice, anyway - I was really wondering if there was anything left I could try!
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Old Nov 5, 2009, 10:02 PM   #8
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Tried a few things…

Well, so far I've tried the first few suggestions. I was pleased to find my drive working well and easily recognised by the old Mac Mini when I plugged it in directly via USB.

I was hoping that would mean that if I connected to it from my computer as a disk attached to the Mac Mini rather than a network disk on my Base Station it would force it to start again and recognise the disk. Unfortunately that wasn't to be.

I could connect to any disk attached to the Mac Mini except the one in question - which led me to try the second suggestion.

I'd already tried connecting using a different login but that didn't work.
So I tried using a different version of the system on an external disk. It worked.

I've re-installed the system on my hard drive - which has had so little impact I did wonder whether anything had actually changed.

Then I thought I'd had a brainwave and changed the name of the drive on the Mac Mini. I thought it would force my Mac to see the drive as a new one and make a new presence for it on my computer. No such luck. At first it continued to call it by the old name, and once I'd restarted both computers it had exactly the same problem as before only this time with a different name.

So now I suppose I'm left with the dreaded 'wipe the disk and start again' thing on my internal hard drive. I've backed it up but at the moment I can't quite bring myself to relinquish all the things that do work and I know will immediately cease working as soon as I wipe the disk - like my networked printer for a start. Then there are all the applications that will want a password again, broken links and lost preferences. A day spent not being able to get on the internet. My eyeTV recording schedules not happening. Apple Mail being blank and wanting to be set up all over again. The list goes on and on - and I've already done this twice in the last few months!

Just as a last gasp attempt to avoid this - is there anyone out there who knows a more pain-free way of sorting this?

I'll be soooo grateful!
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Old Nov 6, 2009, 04:50 AM   #9
frannbug
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…and made a discovery:

Well now I know it's a Snow Leopard issue. Just to check it out, I upgraded the system on the external boot disk that had no problem mounting my backup disk from Leopard to Snow Leopard.

Now it won't mount the disk any more.

The boot files on this disk were made with either SilverKeeper or Carbon Copy Cloner a couple of months ago (as a backup the last time I wiped my internal HD), before Snow Leopard came out.

It wasn't a completely new install, so it's possible it wasn't entirely free from corruption. I suppose the next step is to get yet another drive and install a pristine copy of the system and see if the problem still transpires.

Thinking about it, this is totally illogical! For the time between making the backup (probably some time in late July, early August) until a couple of weeks ago, this disk showed up fine in Leopard and then in Snow Leopard when I upgraded. So why is it not mounting on a copy of the Leopard system I had then that has similarly been upgraded to Snow Leopard without being used for anything else in the meantime?

Makes me think that something has happened to the disk that makes it not able to mount in Snow Leopard any more. It hasn't been dropped or anything like that - it's been sitting, unmolested, at the back of a shelf. As I said, the only way to find out is to get a new drive and install a clean copy of Snow Leopard.
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Last edited by frannbug; Nov 6, 2009 at 04:58 AM.
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Old Nov 6, 2009, 02:31 PM   #10
Ashka
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Try a powered USB Hub.
Maybe it's a problem with the USB port not the drive.
S.
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Old Nov 9, 2009, 06:27 PM   #11
frannbug
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Is there a little bit of code out there somewhere?

I finally got a disk I could put the system onto and installed Snow Leopard. My disk was still attached to the Mac Mini. I managed, on this pristine system, to get into the Mac Mini and its other attached disks; but the same problem showed up with the problem drive.

So I now know that it's a problem with my drive and not my computer (glad I didn't format my hard drive!). And I know it only shows up in Snow Leopard.

I have a nasty feeling the next step is one I will not want to hear - back up a 1.5TB disk and reformat it. Where am I to find that kind of space? It's way over two thirds full!

I have a little sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere has a little bit of code I could put into terminal that would solve this one at a stroke.

Anyone? You would have my undying admiration and gratitude!
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Old Nov 9, 2009, 06:49 PM   #12
frannbug
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USB Hub

Sorry Ashka, I didn't get an email about your post and I've only just noticed it. Thanks for reading this rather lengthy and tedious description of my problem and trying to find a solution for me.

I don't think it could be the USB socket, though. When the problem first arose it was on a USB hub attached to my Airport Base Station. Then I plugged it directly into my Mac. Then I hooked it up to the Mac Mini. In every case it has worked when I've used a Tiger installation of the system and not worked when I have used a Snow Leopard installation.

I think for the time being my only solution is to install Tiger on the disk I've just put Snow Leopard on and boot up in that every time I want to use the disk. It's not ideal, though - backup is supposed to be a seamless operation that happens behind your back so you never forget to do it. It shouldn't involve a reboot from an external drive!
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