MB Drops Connection to External Hard Drives...Help!

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by ScottC7, Apr 20, 2008.

  1. macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2008
    Here's my situation:

    I have an Intel-based MacBook (purchased in December, 2006). I also have a Windows XP desktop that I use as a server. I have connected, via USB, two Western Digital 500 Gb MyBook external hard drives to the XP server. On the server, I've mapped each of them to a drive letter (J: and K:).

    On the MacBook, I can wirelessly locate and connect to each of these drives in the Finder window (click on Network; then select the desktop machine; then, select the drive letter to which I wish to connect). In fact, I keep all of my iTunes music and iPhoto images on these hard drives.

    The problem is that each time I close the lid on the MacBook and then (later on) reopen it, the connection to the external hard drives is automatically lost. In other words, I have to manually reconnect to each of the drives every time I use the MacBook. Very frustrating, considering I have to remember to do this prior to opening iTunes or iPhoto!

    I've searched this and every other Apple forum I've come across for a way to get the MacBook to maintain the connections, but I have yet to come across any solutions.

    I can't begin to tell you how grateful I would be if someone (anyone!) would be able to help steer me to a solution to this. Honestly, this is one of two issues that is seriously causing me to wonder if I should go back to a Windows laptop. I don't want to do it, but this is getting very frustrating for me.


  2. macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2008
    Hey Scott.
    Not sure if this what you are looking for but if you bought an airport extreme and hooked the disks to that then it will(/can) automount them when your mac wakes form sleep.
    AFAIK windows will also auto-mount them too.

    You can add a usb hub to the extreme and add more than one disk.

    You could also create an alias of each disk and leave it on the desktop, it might be more convenient to mount from that.

    thats all I can think of..
  3. thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2008
    windowpain, thanks for those ideas - great suggestions. I am curious by what you meant when you said "AFAIK windows will also auto-mount them too." The windows server to which the hard drives are connected does keep them permanently connected (mounted); but my MacBook via the wireless connection won't keep them connected. Did I misunderstand what you meant?

    Do I have to purchase an Airport Extreme to keep the external hard drives mounted? Can't I keep them mounted using my current equipment? It just seems crazy to me that they don't stay connected.

    BTW, I have Verizon FIOS internet, and have been using the Actiontec modem/router/wireless access point (all in one box) that Verizon provided. I wanted to make sure that it wasn't the problem, so yesterday I purchased a Netgear G router/access point and am using that for the wireless connection. It doesn't appear to matter; the external hard drives won't stay connected using either box.


  4. macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2008
    no probs, guess i should be clearer. (apologies if its overly simplistic, I'm just being clear.)

    ok, I'll explain my situation. I've got an airport extreme base station, which is basically just a wireless router that allows the connection of an external hard drive. (then called an airdisk)
    I have a macbook and an ibook, and I can access the attached disk with both. It pops up in the finder under the shared section.

    The base station comes with an app called airport disk utility. This allows you to automount (if desired) to any airdisk it finds. So if i sleep my ibook take it to work, come back and open it up, it will automatically find and remount the drive. As far as I know the windows version of airport disk utility will also automount them. (I'm using 10.5, and occasionally 10.4 on my powerbook)

    Also I have time machine on leopard which I use with an airdisk. So every hour it will mount, back up, and then unmount. Basically doing what the new time capsule does.

    I'm now using the airdisk solely for time machine, so I'm not sure it's able to be a 'normal' disk and a backup disk at the same time. but you can connect more than one disk and even a printer if you have a usb hub.

    I'm afraid I don't know anything about netgear routers, It might be possible to do what I've described above with one, but you should try for other's opinions.
    Similarly with XP (server..?) I'm not the guy to ask.

    but as far as;

    The problem is that each time I close the lid on the MacBook and then (later on) reopen it, the connection to the external hard drives is automatically lost. In other words, I have to manually reconnect to each of the drives every time I use the MacBook. Very frustrating, considering I have to remember to do this prior to opening iTunes or iPhoto!

    The airport extreme base station (the new square one) will do what you need.

    Like I said, its not ideal as it would need you to buy more kit. But I should do what you need.

    Hopefully others can help you to use the stuff you have in the way you want to use it. good luck! :cool:
  5. thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2008
    Thanks for that further explanation. It now makes sense to me, though I'm still shocked that it would require a $100 additional purchase to get my MacBook to maintain its connection to a couple of external hard drives on a Windows network. That's crazy! It's these kinds of things that cause me to question (just a little bit) the purchase of Apple computer products.

    It's just very hard to believe that this MacBook laptop, which I really like in so many ways, can not maintain the connections!
  6. macrumors 68000


    Aug 21, 2007
    I wonder if it's a bug? People have been complaining about Wi-Fi problems that are supposed to be fixed with the 10.5.3 update. Since Apple just seeded a new build to developers last week, we should be seeing the release of 10.5.3 really soon. Maybe that will fix it. I'm hoping it fixes my problems too. My Mac Pro gets full bar 20' from my Airport Express, but as soon as I hop on the internet, it drops to 2 bars and I can't get on. All the while, my MacBook sitting right next to it gets full bars.
  7. macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2008
    found solution

    Hello Scott,

    I was having the same problem (more or less):
    • MacBook OS X 10.4.somethingmore
    • HP Win XP sp2
    • Airport Extreme
    • Synology NAS with 2 750 Gb drives, connected with ethernet to Airport (not with the USB)

    In the HP laptop I was able to reconnect to mapped network shares on the NAS by simply checking the box in the map network drive/share dialogue of Win Explorer. With the Mac I couldn't get the same thing done, which was frustrating as iPhoto and iTunes make use of the resources saved on the Synology NAS.

    I just found out how it worked for me: Go to https://engineering.purdue.edu/ECN/Support/KB/Docs/MacOSXConnectingToSMB. I don't believe you have to purchase the Airport Extreme to get it done. It's possible to auto-mount or autoconnect to these shares by:
    1st: mount the shares
    2nd: drag the shares from your desktop into the box that you can find following: Apple icon >> System preferences >> Accounts >> Login items tab

    I hope it helps for you as well.

  8. thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2008
    Thanks for that idea, J. Unfortunately, I stumbled onto those same instructions a week or two ago, and tried them with no luck. I was certain it would work but no dice. It seems to take a long time for my MacBook to recognize that there are external hard drives connected to an XP desktop being used as a server. By the time it does realize they're there, the MacBook has already tried (with no success) to do an auto-login.

    Back to the old drawing board, as they say. Truthfully, I don't have faith that this seemingly simple task is possible with an Apple computer. Disappointing, to say the least.

    Thanks again for the post; I really do appreciate it.

  9. macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2008
    Dear Scott

    I'm a little sad to say that my previous 'solution' also was not given a long life in my situation. It's odd at the least to find out that in the forest of all praise of MacOS and it's superiority over Windows, this 'autoconnect' to mapped drives isn't that easy to realize on the Macs.

    What happened in my situation is that when I woke up my MacBook from hibernation, it would not automatically reconnect/recognize/find the mapped/mounted drives with the solution I described earlier. Windows on the other hand has no problem with it at all.

    Alse, when the Mac can't reconnect to a mounted drive, it automatically unmounts it. Windows keeps the mapped drive visible and available for possible future connections. This I find quite handy in the multiple network environments that I use my Win based laptop in. I think I would go mad if I had to use my MacBook for these.

    I'm determined to find a real solution, though it's not one that keeps me awake at night. If I find an alternative, I'll post about it here.


    P.S. Sorry for mixing all Win-Mac terminology.

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