Can't Select Firewire Drive as Startup Disk

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by jasonbdesign, May 2, 2005.

  1. jasonbdesign macrumors newbie

    May 2, 2005
    Bellflower, CA
    Here's the background:
    I have an old 350MHZ G4. I had begun to notice that the computer was running a little slow when I installed OS 10.3 on it. I do a lot of audio recording, and it began to get annoying. So I decided to make a few changes.

    I installed a 7200 40GB Drive in the Computer and loaded OS 9.2.2 onto it. I figured it'd help the computer to go backwards to an earlier OS. It starts up fine and works like a charm. It's quite fast actually.

    I put the OS 10.3 Drive into an external firewire enclosure, and put another drive with just free space for my documents into another external firewire enclosure. I formated everything, and it is all set up and connected.

    Here's the problem:
    The computer boots from the internal OS 9.2.2 startup disk. When I go to the 'startup disk' control panel to change it to the external firewire OS 10.3 disk, I can see the disk, but it is greyed out and I can't select it.

    SOOO I thought, hmmm. I'll switch the disks and see what happens.

    I put the OS 9.2.2 Drive in the External Firewire enclosure, and put the OS 10.3 drive inside the mac. I went into the startup disk system preferences, and couldn't select the External 9.2.2 disk (I could see it but it was grey).

    This has led me to believe that the computer won't let me start from an external firewire drive no matter what the operating system is on it. . .

    Is there any way to force the computer to bypass the internal drive? I know some people have said to hold down the option key to select where to boot from, but I tried that and I don't think you can do that in OS 9.

    I am totally confused. Ideally, I would like to have 9.2.2 internal with just a few audio programs on it, really streamlined down to the bare bones. Then if I need to do graphics stuff, I'd change the startup disk to my external firewire 10.3 and work from that drive.

    Any advice would be appreciated.
  2. Layer34 macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2005
    re: Can't Select Firewire Drive as Startup Disk

    Its probably due to the make/manufacturer of the external drive, it may use a chipset that apple doesnt support - i have had a similar problem and using a different enclosure fixed it for me!
    hope it helps?
  3. jasonbdesign thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 2, 2005
    Bellflower, CA
    It says it's Mac Compatible

    It is a METAL GEAR BOX enclosure. It says it is compatible with MAC and has the little logo on the box. You had the same problem? Could you see the Firewire drive in the startup control panel, you just couldn't select it?

    Actually, when I am in OS 9 the firewire disk is greyed and I can't select it at all.

    If I put the OS 10.3 drive inside and go through system preferences, I can select the drive and I restart but it defaults to the internal drive.
  4. jasonbdesign thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 2, 2005
    Bellflower, CA

    I did some reading and apparently my Metal Gear Box enclosure uses a Prolific Chipset. There is a huge debate over Oxford chip sets and aparently they weren't compatible with 10.3.6.

    However most recommend the Oxford chipset and don't recommend the Prolific one. BUT people say the Prolific chipsets are fixed as of 2004.

    Anyone have any other ideas before I go buy another external enclosure and set it all up to see if it works?

  5. Rocksaurus macrumors 6502a


    Sep 14, 2003
    I remember reading in MacAddict years ago when Firewire first came out that it wasn't bootable. Is this still true?
  6. Jo-Kun macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2003

    I can boot from my LaCie D2 80GB drive,
    I did it last year with my ex-TiPbG4 allso just to try ;-)
    I never tried with my B&W G3

    but anyway you can boot from firewire, but all depends on the chipset that is been used so it seems...
  7. jasonbdesign thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 2, 2005
    Bellflower, CA
    Update on Original Post

    Here's an update on what I did last night:

    I stopped by Frys and bought a completely different External Enclosure with the Oxford 911 chipset.

    I decided to put two drives internal (40gig and 60gig) OS 9.2.2 on one and OS 10.3.9 on the other so I can switch back and forth. (I could do this since I didn't go past the 137gig barrier, otherwise I'd need a ATA133 card).

    I put all of my documents on the third drive, the 120gig, and popped it into the new external enclosure. I didn't bother installing an operating system on this disk, and I am not going to try to start up from a Firewire drive anymore.

    I also heard somewhere that with a PCI 350 G4, you can't start from a Firewire Drive. Maybe that was the problem.

    I am excited about this new setup though be cause I can keep the internal drives optimized with nothing but the applications on them. AND it will also be great to have all my documents already on an external drive for when I upgrade to a new Mac.

    Good luck to all of you who are trying to boot from a Firewire. . .after dealing with this for a couple days, I'd ask these questions:
    1. Why do I want to do this and is it really necessary?
    2. What model computer do I have? PCI, AGP? Processor speed?
    3. What chipset is in my External Firewire Enclosure?
    4. If I have the Oxford Chipset do I need to download new firmware from the Enclosure's production company (note: the Oxford Chipset only had problems with 10.3.6 and if you are upgraded to 10.3.9 or even 3.7, I think you should be ok.)
    5. If you DO buy an external enclosure, buy one with the Oxford chipset. The other ones I bought had a Prolific chipset. I AM NOT SURE if these are bad, but I've read bad things about them, but good things about the Oxfords.
    6. Take into consideration more than price. Keeping your drive cool is VERY important. Some of the nicer ones have quiet fans built in.
    I bought the:

    AMS Venus DS3 3.5" USB 2.0/Firewire External Hard Drive Enclosure
    It uses Cypress and Oxford chipsets, and includes a cooling fan.

    I am returning those Metal Gear Box Enclosures today. They're not as nice and have trouble staying cool.

    Good luck with your Firewire Booting. I gave up.

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