External Hard Drive Error Code: -50

Discussion in 'OS X' started by imgonephishin, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    #1
    Hi all. I have an external 2TB Western Digital Caviar drive hooked up to my 2006 iMac through a docking bay and USB 2.0. I'm running 10.6.6 and the drive is formatted as Mac OS Extended.

    It's my media and backup drive and I'm always copying stuff to and from it. All was well and good with the setup and I had no problems for probably 5 or 6 months. Just around Christmas, though, I started getting alerts when trying to copy files over to the drive. Error Code: -50.

    Basically, I can still view/read files on the drive and play songs in iTunes, but if I try to rip a CD, iTunes hangs and dies. If I try to copy any file over using the Finder or empty the trash with files from that drive, I get the -50 code and alert.

    A restart will fix the problem for a little while but then it's back after maybe 30 minutes or so that's obviously not a good long-term solution. This page claims it is an "Error in user parameter list" but I have no idea what that means.

    I've done a bunch of Googling, but people are saying it's anything from problems with networked NTFS drives (which it's not for me) or that it's a disk permissions issue (no bootable system on the drive).

    Has anyone else experienced this code and found a solution to permanently get rid of the problem? Thanks for any tip. :confused:
     
  2. macrumors 68040

    iLog.Genius

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #2
    What was the exact error message? I've been having problems lately with my external (none since I've got the drive almost two years ago) but it looks like its OS X related because the same action done in Windows doesn't throw any errors (I have my external setup as NTFS).
     
  3. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    #3
    Sorry, I wish I remembered exactly but I'm at work and can't duplicate right now. IIRC, it was just one of the pretty short and straightforward alerts. Something like: "The operation could not be completed because an unexpected error occurred. (error code -50)"
     
  4. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    #4
    Have you tried the basics?

    Run disk utility and verify permissions and verify the disk

    To be honest what you describe sounds like a permissions issue.

    Cheers
     
  5. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    #5
    How can I verify permissions on an external drive that doesn't contain a Mac OS X install? AFAIK that's not possible. Checking the Get Info dialog box shows that it's set up with the same user permissions as my other external drives but those have never had this problem. The sub-directories on the problem drive have the same inherited permissions.

    I did verify the disk through Disk Utility and everything looked OK according to that. Any other suggestions? Thanks for the help.
     
  6. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    #6
    I'm sorry I was not clear. What you did was right. The other thought I had is can you try the drive on another computer to see if the issue persists? Also try another user. The idea is to see if you can isolate the problem to some particular factor/s.


    Cheers
     
  7. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    #7
    imgonephishin - Same issue here, except I have a 3TB Toshiba drive hooked up to my Time Capsule as a media hosting drive. Same thing happens, after 30 minutes or so from a reboot, it will lock up, restricting access to read only. Very frustrating to have to climb under my desk to unplug and replug it in.

    Just thought the additional information about another use and exact same issue may assist in a solution.
     
  8. macrumors 601

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #8
  9. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    #9
    satcomer: Thanks for the article, but it unfortunately to iDisk issues and the -50 error code. The problem that imgonephishin and I are having is related to an external drive connected to either the mac, or in my case, a time capsule.

    We've both run the fix disk process on the affected drives, and it does not help. 30 minutes or so later, the computer (or computers in my case) can not write to the drive any longer.
     
  10. Mactrillionaire, Jan 18, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2011

    macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    #10
    Sounds like the disk has a defective media surface. I would recommend getting all of your data backed up immediately and replacing the disk ASAP. By the way, some of your data may be mangled. Continuing to use this disk is only going to make the problem worse. There is an outside chance it could be strictly a mechanical problem with the hard disk if you are only getting the error on delayed writes. You could try mounting the volume from terminal with the option of noasync to see if this is the issue or not. In any event, there is something definitely wrong with this disk that you should not ignore. If it is a Black Caviar then it has a five year warranty which you should look into getting honored by Western Digital. You can use their Advance RMA service so that you get a replacement hard disk before having to send this one back.
     
  11. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
  12. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2011
    #12
    Hi


    I'm having the same issue. has anyone find the fix? I can access whatever is on the drive just fine, even able to create folders. Problem is that I cannot copy anything to it.Would hate to reformat the disk and end up losing everything =(

    Device is an airport extreme, with a 2TB hard drive connected to it. When i attempt to copy any files onto this disk. it fails with error 50.


    thanks in advance!
     
  13. mlibrescu, Aug 9, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2011

    macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    #13
    Same problem

    Don't listen to the guy who said the problem is due to a damaged HD. Too many people are reporting this issue. In my case, it started when I recently bought a new iMac. My external drive didn't have this issue when it was connected to my Mac Mini.

    When the problem occurs, diagnostics say the drive is fried. If I eject the drive, turn off the power, disconnect the USB, and then plug it back in, the drive works fine and diagnostics say it's fine.

    I'm not at home in front of the Mac, but I'm wondering if the problem isn't related to the power settings. I'm going to check my settings and see if the HD is set to sleep because the problem may occur when the Mac comes out of sleep. Just a guess.
     
  14. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2011
    #14
    docking bay?

    I'm using thermaltake docking bay. I had same problems but only when i'm using docking bays:confused:.
     
  15. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    #15
    Not a Sleep Issue

    I stopped my iMac from sleeping but the problem didn't go away. I've backed up the drive, updated the firmware, erased it, and am now restoring the data. I fear that is the only possible way to fix the problem, and that may not work. I'll post again with more info.
     
  16. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2011
    #16
    Anyone find a fix?

    I don't tend to believe my drive is bad. It displays the same issues as mentioned above - works for ~30 minutes after a restart, and then locks out all write operations with a "An unexpected error occurred (error code -50)."

    In fact, it 1) doesn't have the same issue on two other Macs (works as expected on them), and 2) displayed the issue for several months, STOPPED doing it for 2 months, and then, in the last week, has started doing it again.

    Onyx, Disk Utility, etc. say the drive is fine. It did it under 10.6.8 and now 10.7.2. while connected to a Core 2 Duo Mac Mini. I've had it connected via both USB and FW 800.
     
  17. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    #17
    "Fix"

    My fix worked. The drive was corrupted. Backing it up and reformatting it fixed it. It hasn't had the problem since. I wish there was an easier solution but I don't think there is.
     
  18. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2011
    #18
    Set Mac OSX settings to put HD to sleep

    I know it sounds backwards but to work around this error you'll want to go into System Preferences->Energy Saver and for both Battery and Power Adapter tick the box next to "Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible". Yes that means the OS will put all of your drives to sleep when it can but that's the only way I've found to fix the problem.

    What seems to happen is that some external drives have firmware which detects inactivity and spins the drives down. If OSX is not configured with the energy saver setting mentioned above then OSX is not expecting the drives to go to sleep. When accessing the drive after it puts itself to sleep obviously something gets messed up and the error -50 is thrown among other problems.

    By configuring the OS to put disks to sleep the OS will issue spin-up commands. This totally resolved my -50 errors.

    My reproduction scenario: Without the energy saver setting enabled after 5 minutes of inactivity my LaCie P'9231 external USB 2.0 2TB drive would spin down. Accessing drive via finder and trying to create a new directory or perform any write action would reproduce the -50 error. Drive would not eject properly and had to force eject. After the force eject unplugging the usb cord from my MacBook Pro (running Lion 10.7.2) and plugging it back in restored the drive's normal operation.

    Troubleshooting Performed: Downloaded latest LaCie Firmware updater and updated firmware on external drive. This updated firmware allowed the OS to control the spin-up/spin-down (but does not disable the ability for the drive to put itself to sleep after 5minutes). This update also disabled the "EcoMode" settings within the "LaCie Desktop Manager" software. With this update the repro scenario above continued to reproduce the error -50 failure.

    I ran DiskUtility and noticed that although I had reformatted the drive to "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" I had not set the partition scheme. It was still set to the older "Apple Partition Map". I set this to "GUID Partition Table" and reformatted (one 2TB partition). With this change the repro scenario continued to reproduce the error -50 failure.

    I then configured System Preferences->Energy Saver for both Battery and Power Adapter to "Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible". With that change I am no longer able to reproduce the failure.

    So, I don't really like the idea of spinning down ALL of my drives (including the internal one) so with that objection aside the resolution above provides me with a suitable workaround.
     
  19. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2012
    #19
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!!! Thanks for troubleshooting this and posting this! I actually made this login to thank you. God I was going insane with the same exact errors. Apple folks on the phone were of course telling me to reformat and all that - knew there had to be a fix.

    You rock Wheelson!
     
  20. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    #20
    Energy Settings Worked for Lacie Rugged Mini

    Yes! This is what was happening with my Lacie Rugged Mini USB 3.0 5400RPM Drive. After doing everything, including erasing the drive (and zeroing out the data!) it still was throwing the -50 error on all write functions (no new folder, no dragging data on, and trying to eject the drive was impossible).

    After disabling the "Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible" for both the battery and power adapter (I had mine on for battery!) it solved the issue.

    After contacting Lacie, they say that it isn't a major problem with the Rugged drives, but they did release that firmware update for the desktop externals. BS Lacie, if the exact same error is happening in more than one of your drives, maybe you need to fix your drives.
     
  21. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Location:
    Adelaide, South Australia
    #21
    Have just followed your advice.

    ... and awaiting proof of the fix. Mine was a 1 TB Toshiba Canvio Basics 3.0 - bought from a chain called Officeworks - Australia. This was after my Samsung 1 TB SATA drive failed inside my Macmini after only 3 months - the orig. 320GB is back inside for now.. So if the new Toshiba is reliable, I am tempted to teardown the plastic case and put the raw drive inside. (assuming physical & electrical compatibility). The Samsung 1TB was bought from OWC but they are not interested in 'supervising' the warranty return - just sent links to Seagate. New to this forum so thanks to all for their efforts in resolving this issue. (PS. my time machine 2TB ext. but powered USB HDD is Western Digital and has never reported the error code in the 1.5 years I have had it connected to macmini. Interesting eh ??? )
    Regards, Jimbo.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    By configuring the OS to put disks to sleep the OS will issue spin-up commands. This totally resolved my -50 errors.

    My reproduction scenario: Without the energy saver setting enabled after 5 minutes of inactivity my LaCie P'9231 external USB 2.0 2TB drive would spin down. Accessing drive via finder and trying to create a new directory or perform any write action would reproduce the -50 error. Drive would not eject properly and had to force eject. After the force eject unplugging the usb cord from my MacBook Pro (running Lion 10.7.2) and plugging it back in restored the drive's normal operation.

    Troubleshooting Performed: Downloaded latest LaCie Firmware updater and updated firmware on external drive. This updated firmware allowed the OS to control the spin-up/spin-down (but does not disable the ability for the drive to put itself to sleep after 5minutes). This update also disabled the "EcoMode" settings within the "LaCie Desktop Manager" software. With this update the repro scenario above continued to reproduce the error -50 failure.

    I ran DiskUtility and noticed that although I had reformatted the drive to "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" I had not set the partition scheme. It was still set to the older "Apple Partition Map". I set this to "GUID Partition Table" and reformatted (one 2TB partition). With this change the repro scenario continued to reproduce the error -50 failure.

    I then configured System Preferences->Energy Saver for both Battery and Power Adapter to "Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible". With that change I am no longer able to reproduce the failure.

    So, I don't really like the idea of spinning down ALL of my drives (including the internal one) so with that objection aside the resolution above provides me with a suitable workaround.[/QUOTE]
     
  22. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Location:
    Adelaide, South Australia
    #22
    [/quote]
     
  23. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2013
    #23
  24. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2014
    Location:
    St Louis, MO
    #24
    Error 50 solution - .AppleDouble package

    I had similar problem with a new Buffalo NAS. Copying EyeTV recordings to the NAS, some copy without problem, others fail with Error -50. Problems occurred with a given file regardless of which system I originated the copy attempt from.

    Upon examination, I found that the EyeTV recording is a package (folder) with contents not unlike contents of an app. On problematic recordings, the main package contains another folder (invisible) named ".AppleDouble" (text between double quotes).

    When I removed the .AppleDouble folder from the package, the package's icon suddenly becomes the proper graphic icon instead of a generic EyeTV icon, and the package can be copied to the destination NAS drive.

    To remove the .AppleDouble folder, I used (from the Terminal app) the 'find' command. I did not explore further, but 'find' complained because the folder was removed before 'find' could go all the way into it. There are other find options that would eliminate this confusing/alarming error message, but I will leave that for other commenters. And, I will publish more details if others are interested.
     

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