OS always waiting for Ext Drive to spin up.

Discussion in 'OS X' started by Pigumon, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. macrumors 6502


    Aug 4, 2004
    I don't know what's going on, but my newest external hard drive Seagate 1.5 tb USB seems somehow connected to my OS.

    I can be doing almost anything and if the drive is asleep, the OS gives me a beach ball as it waits for the drive to spin back up.

    Any ideas?
  2. macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
  3. macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2007
  4. macrumors demi-god


    Jul 24, 2009
    What is stored on the drive. Is there something the os needs? My externals behave like this if for example I've watched a movie on vlc from my external before sending it to my drobo. Vlc being open seems to spin the drive up. Like it's checking the file is there ready to play.
  5. macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    I'm not going to read the thread for you. The OP got their answer, even if it might not be the one they wanted, or the one you want. You're not going to change the behavior. Mac OS X is working as designed.
  6. macrumors 68020

    Feb 2, 2007
    Pasadena CA
    IF the question is how do I stop my HDD's spinning down, then no - the OP did not get an answer.

    I'm waiting for an answer for the same question but regarding my UBMB's HDD.
  7. macrumors 68040


    Feb 24, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario
    It's this randomly or if you're accessing something on the drive? If it's the latter, that's the way it is and you can't change it unless you change the HDD and/or the firmware for that HDD. All external HDD's that I've used all act the same whether it be external HDD or if it's a normal HDD placed into an enclosure (Vantec).
  8. macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    That's not the question you asked:
    Your question suggests you wanted to know why the OS is waiting for the drive to spin up, or possibly, why the drive is spinning up. The thread I posted explains why that happens. You can't stop the drive from spinning down or up, unless you turn your computer off.
  9. macrumors 68000


    Jan 21, 2008
    Melbourne, FL
    LOL--well I had to go back and read it a couple of times myself since I too was curious about this as I have several external drives connected, and yes the OS does seem to like to wait until the drives spin up--but when I saw your example about the save dialog box, yes--that would be me. Not sure if the OP is talking about the same thing or not, but your post does cover the wait time for drive spin-up.
  10. macrumors 604

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    I think the thing to remember is that the external drives are stand alone entities. They don't usually allow the host computer to reprogram/adjust their firmware. The external drives spin down to save wear and tear and also to save power, especially useful if you have a bus powered usb drive connected to a laptop.

    The internal drives used by Apple would seem to have firmware that allows OSx to tell them when to spin down/spin up.
  11. thread starter macrumors 6502


    Aug 4, 2004
    Thanks all.

    Yeah it seems it's when I get to a point where it might want to have all drive available whether I need them or not.

    Kinda sucks. I'll post some of the beach balls that don't make much sense next time they happen.

    GGJSTUDIOS Your replies seem to me like you're replying to others as if they are me-

    "That's not the question you asked:"

    he didn't ask that question, I did.
  12. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    Whakatane, New Zealand
    I agree that the problem is frustrating, and I would even go as far as saying that it's unnecessary.

    If I try to save a file to the internal drive, I need to wait for the external to spin back up when the Save sheet opens. There's no need for that; the OS should wait until I select the external drive before trying to access it.

    As sammich says in the other thread, "if you want to use an internal drive waiting for the externals to spin up then it's OS X's fault". I fully agree.
  13. macrumors 68030


    Oct 3, 2009
    I have this problem as well, with a 500GB Western Digital USB 2.0 MyBook. It's very annoying, especially when you're not even saving or opening anything, like just when I'm browsing the web, I want to type into the search bar, and the whole system just freezes for 5 seconds while the drive spins up, and then I can type again. There is absolutely NO need for that, the drive only contains movies, it's ridiculous!

    I'm no computer engineer, but I know for sure that searching the web doesn't require an external drive containing movies to spin up, and even if it must spin up, it doesn't require my entire system to freeze during that period of time. It's like when on Windows you eject a CD, the system freezes for a few seconds while the CD tray is being ejected, it's retarded! But that actually makes some sense since you DID ask the CD to be ejected... But it still shouldn't freeze...

    Bad programming!
  14. macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2010
    Worcester, MA

    Hi all,

    I came across this thread after trying to find a way to prevent my internal CD drive from spinning up every time I opened a save dialog in any program. I think I found a simple workaround.

    Open a finder window or save dialog (Apple-S), look under devices, and just click & drag that drive outside of the window and let go so that it disappears. It worked for my CD drive and I'm postulating that it will work for any external drives as well. It's great because you don't need to unmount anything, and you can always access the drive from the desktop or drag it back to finder.
  15. macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2010
    Tried this and no go.... All my external devices are gone from finder under devices (on the left), and also from the file open dialog, but my drives still spin up when I perform any open/save operation...

    I may try just un-mounting the drives...
  16. macrumors newbie


    Aug 10, 2010
    I seem to be having very similar issues.. I have a 24" imac with 1TB external Lacie D2 drive (FW800) for iPhoto, Movies etc. and a 500GB Seagate drive (USB) for time machine only.

    If I'm away from the Mac for a while, maybe a hour or so.. When I return and open a window in Safari, the Mac waits until both drives have spooled up (The Time machine drive taking slightly longer to spin up) before actually opening the safari window.. this can be 10-15 secs.. but the it can do it for almost any other action.. opening a jpeg, opening a local folder....

    Could it possibly be a spotlight indexing issue?

    Many thanks,

  17. PNW
    macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2007
    At least in the case of seemingly random beach ball attacks, it looks like it's spotlight spinning up the external drive to index it. I added my external drive to spotlight's ignore list (System Preferences -> Spotlight -> Privacy) And I've stopped getting the random beach balls. i.e. sit down to do a Google search and have the whole computer lock down while the external drive spins up. Why spotlight needs to lock up the whole OS while it waits to index an external drive is beyond me. It really does seem like a major fail on Apple's part.

    Edited to add:
    I also wanted to say thanks to Cotswold, who put the spotlight idea in my head.
  18. macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    In the case of a File > Save As dialog, it's not spinning up the drive to index it. It's spinning it up to make it available as an option on the dialog box. Also, indexing may slow things down, but it won't lock up the OS.

    You can determine if Spotlight is indexing by the Menu Bar icon: [​IMG] (not indexing) [​IMG] (indexing)
  19. thread starter macrumors 6502


    Aug 4, 2004
    Yeah, that is the problem, it's obvious to me now, but it just doesn't make sense that it stalls the entire system while waiting for the drives to spin up. Well I can deal with it now that I know the reason. :eek:
  20. macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2008
    San Diego
    I have this problem as well, I know many others have discussed it but here's my setup:

    2007 Intel iMac 2.4ghz
    External FW 800 Western Digital MyBook Studio Pro 2TB

    Like others, these common tasks lead to the beachball of death and total system lockup for about 5-7 seconds:

    -Spotlight click (naturally it's parsing all available and connected devices)
    -Single click on a file in iTunes (naturally, as only mp3's are stored on external)
    -Opening a finder winder
    -Downloading or updating apps in iTunes (would assume because the drive is associated with iTunes, though zero apps are stored there, --however XML file is)
    -Downloading an app on my iPad or iPhone when option is selected to automatically download apps to itunes OTA

    The above seem normal I suppose, but it seems like no matter what I need to do on my mac whether it pertains to the external or not - requires a full spool up.

    *EDIT* I will keep adding to my post as I see useless spoolups of the drive
    1 Clicking "get info" on a file that is not located on the drive

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