Firewire 400 Data Loss with Panther

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by michaelrjohnson, Nov 6, 2003.

  1. michaelrjohnson macrumors 68020

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    #1
    DO NOT DISREGARD, THIS IS FIREWIRE 400, NOT 800.

    http://maccentral.macworld.com/news/2003/11/05/firewireissue/index.php?redirect=1068054545000

    This article details the fact that there is currently a new error with Firewire 400 data loss in panther that is "hard to reproduce". The Firewire 800 data loss issue has been noted, and been fixed with a firmware patch. However, the FW 400 problem is much more mysterious.

    I have just ordered panther and all of my personal documents are on an external FireWire 400 Drive, How should I go about installation and usage with this bug still amiss?

    Just wanted to inform the general populus of this issue.
     
  2. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

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    #2
    Just back up.

    Michael,

    My obvious suggestion would be to backup everything (as we all do already, right :D ) and then proceed. If you lose you data, you can restore it.

    Since I haven't turned to Panther yet, thats all I have to offer.

    I notice you are in Racine? I am in Union Grove. Good to see someone close on the ol' forums.
     
  3. michaelrjohnson thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #3
    Very nice to hear from you! I'm currently up at school in Stevens Point, but Racine is home. Never met someone this close to home in a forum.
     
  4. Foxer macrumors 65816

    Foxer

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    #4
    I'd back it all up. I've got a FW400 as well and haven't had a probelm since upgrading.

    By the by, I'm in Racine, too. (Caledonia, technically.) We seem to be coming out of the walls.
     
  5. michaelrjohnson thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #5
    Holy Cow! Nice to meet you all... Any other Racine lurkers?

    Thanks for the advice.


    Foxer, does hard, daily usage of the drive impair performance? I have all my files on the external, and the OS and apps on the internal. I'm REALLY glad to hear you haven't had any troubles, and I'm thinking that i can just do a CD backup, and then go about business as usual.

    Any data loss would be obvious and/or dramatic, wouldnt it? (as in, i would know it if it started happening?)
     
  6. jxyama macrumors 68040

    jxyama

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    #6
    man! i just RTFA and geez, the "F" is really appropriate! :(

    now i am quite paranoid. my ext. FW400 disk contains all the pictures i've ever taken with my digital camera. it's more precious than the camera or the PB...

    it *sounds* like restart will cause the problem. i haven't had to restart since the install and i sure will not be doing that, if i can help it. and i certainly will not be using my FWHD after a restart and if possible, even before a restart... in the meantime, i will probably make another copy of my backup FWHD somewhere else.

    i really hope apple will resolve this as soon as possible.
     
  7. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #7
    Well, I'm not from Wisconsin and have never been there. ;)

    However, I have a Maxtor FireWire 400 drive and have re-booted a few times and still have all my data. I disconnected the drive during the upgrade and subsequently connected it when Panther was running.
     
  8. pncc macrumors regular

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    Jul 23, 2002
    #8
    The trick to avoid any data loss for FW400 or FW800 drives is to not have the drive mounted when you Restart. Dismount before hitting Restart and all will be well.
     
  9. evolu macrumors regular

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    #9
    I've also had trouble with my iPod, an external, and CDs not showing up on my desktop - I have to mount them thru disk utility.
     
  10. michaelrjohnson thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #10
    EVERY time? or just the initial restart?
     
  11. daveL macrumors 68020

    daveL

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    #11
    I see some of the same posters from the other FW/Panther threads, so sorry for the repeated info.

    Anyway, I have a Mercury Elite FW400 enclosure (Oxford 911 bridge) with a Deskstar 120G/7200 RPM drive. I have two *boot* partitions on the drive, one Panther, one 10.2.8. I can't eject the drive before rebooting, since it's the boot drive. I have YellowDog Linux on the internal drive. I've been rebooting many, many times, as I switch between Panther, 10.2.8 and Linux. I've been doing this for a couple weeks without incident.

    Another poster with the same enclosure said they had had two drives corrupted, but later posted that the problem was the power strip the enclosure was plugged into.

    HTH
     
  12. Foxer macrumors 65816

    Foxer

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    #12
    I keep all my video, iPhoto and iTunes library on the FW drive. Fairly sizeable chunk of data. ITunes is almost constantly running, so there is almost always data going back and forth. Like I said, no problems.

    I've never unmounted before shutting down, and it is always plugged in at start-up. However, I usually only go through the shut-down routine when I have to for software updates.

    Your actual mileage may vary.
     
  13. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #13
    First, I'd suggest reading the report on today's http://macfixit.com -- it goes into the same issues in even more detail.

    I've been very closely following reports of this issue since Day 1, since I've already installed Panther and I own one (soon to be two) FW400, 911-based drives.

    For one thing, it's worth noting that the FW400 problems are almost certainly much more rare than FW800 problems--it'd be hard to imagine (due to both cost and newness) that there aren't a huge number more FW400 drives floating around compared to FW800 drives, and yet the large majority of problems reported are with FW800 drives. This, based on my hokey and completely made-up statistical analysis, would mean that FW800 drives are a whole lot more succeptable.

    That said, the reports of FW400 failures with very similar symptoms are real. Furthermore, I think the most interesting piece of information so far is that the folks at MacFixIt lost a 911-based FW400 drive to Panther in a very similar way, and upon a low-level examination of the drive, they found that the actual data damage looked essentially the same as what LaCie said was happening to FW800 drives--a chunk at the begining of the disk was overwritten with zeros, destroying either directory or partition information.

    What you can take away from this is that there's some issue in Panther with out-of-order or improperly issued commands overwriting a chunk of data on the drives causing the corruption, and it only seems to happen on restart. One way to cause this seems to relate to a timing bug in early 922 firmware, which has now been fixed, but it would certainly seem that there is some other issue--be it in firmware or just Apple's OS--that is capable of causing the same thing to happen with other drives. It's apparently less common, but it sure looks like it can happen.

    I'm going to be exercising extreme caution until somebody figures out something more concrete.
     
  14. jxyama macrumors 68040

    jxyama

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    #14
    good observations. macfixit's article is very good. i too will be quite cautious.

    btw, i have a cloned jaguar on my FWHD. anyone trying booting off of external HD? one poster above said he has two partitions on the FWHD, one jaguar, one panther and had no problems... anyone else?
     
  15. daveL macrumors 68020

    daveL

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    #15
    I'm the poster, above. I also cloned my bootable Panther FW400 partition onto a partition on my internal drive. I then selected the cloned partition as the startup drive and rebooted. No problem.

    Anyway, I was wondering if perhaps, since FW400 drives have been around a lot longer, the FW400 problems are related to some older firmware versions floating around out there. It's possible that the FW drivers in Panther have been further optimized and are now tickling firmware bugs related to timing issues brought about by higher performance on the host side. <ugly sentence>

    Of course, it doesn't help the Oxford and the drive suppliers don't have a FW update utility that works on OS X (or the Classic environment). You have to be able to boot into OS 9 to update your FW400 firmware!
     
  16. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #16
    Ugly sentence, but a good point. Oxford et al insist that the timing bug that can happen as a result of the 922 firmware cannot occur with FW400, since the way it works is different, which I'm quite willing to believe, but that doesn't mean there's not some other, somewhat similar bug in existance.

    About the update, though, Oxford's Java-based, OSX compatible firmware updater is quite capable of updating the firmware on 911-based drives (even 900-based drives, I think), but I don't believe any of the manufacturers have released 911 firmware that they guarantee to be compatible with their drives yet. At least, they haven't been making a big point of it.
     
  17. daveL macrumors 68020

    daveL

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    #17
    Thanks for the firmware updater info. The stuff on the OWC site makes you think that the OS X updater for the 922 is different and not compatible with the 911 firmware.

    The LaCie site basically said to update the firmware on the 922 for stability and update the 911 for performance. From what I've seen, though, it doesn't look like there's been new 911 firmware since the spring.
     
  18. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #18
    That's probably because they haven't released any new firmware for their 911 drives. And if they haven't, I sure as heck wouldn't try to install some other firmware--you run a serious risk of disabling features on your enclosure or killing the thing entirely, and permanantly.

    Repeat, for those feeling brave: Unless your drive manufacturer has released a version of the firmware--any Firewire firmware--specific to your drive, do not update it. Oxford chips use programmable firmware (its one of their advantagees), and vendors can and do add additional features or special versions to go with additional hardware present in their enclosures (it's not just an Oxford chip and a drive in there).

    Installing one not intended for your specific drive case MIGHT fix things, if the problem was even the firmware to begin with and the vendor doesn't tweak anything from Oxford's standard firmware, but it also might disable useful features in the drive (big drive support, for example), cause Kernel Panics, or kill the enclosure entirely.

    At this point, it's just not worth the risk to start doing extreme, unsupported, and rather stupid things.
     

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