Can't boot off Firewire drive

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by imrazor, May 19, 2016.

  1. imrazor macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    #1
    I have an Iomega Mac Companion that in a previous life had a 3TB drive in it that I've replaced with a 256GB SSD. The drive has Firewire 800 and USB 2.0 interfaces. It will boot off the USB interface, but for the life of me, I can't get it to boot off of Firewire. I've tried holding down the Option key while booting, and the drive does not appear in Firewire mode, but does appear when attached via USB. When connected via Firewire, the drive is visible in the Startup Disk preferences pane, but still will not boot via Firewire.

    I have a mid-2007 24" iMac with OS 10.11.5. I've tried resetting the SMC and PRAM, but it still will not boot off Firewire. I'd prefer Firewire 800 booting because the interface is twice the speed of USB. It's still surprisingly snappy even on USB 2.0.

    So does anyone have any experience with this enclosure? Does the Iomega FW800 interface just not support booting? Does El Capitan support booting off Firewire? Would downgrading my OS help?
     
  2. imrazor thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    #3
    That looked promising, but sadly did not work. I tried to boot it with the Alt/Option key held down twice. I tried holding down the key for about two minutes after the boot menu appeared, but the firewire drive never appeared. I then unplugged the Firewire cable, plugged the USB cable in, and the drive popped right up.

    EDIT: I took a closer look at the review, and it's actually for something called an Iomega eGo. My drive is an "Iomega Mac Companion".
     
  3. chscag macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Fort Worth, Texas
    #4
    The Iomega FW800 and FW400 both support booting, however, it's likely that your SSD is not compatible with the FW interface in that enclosure. I don't believe downgrading OS X will resolve the problem.
     
  4. imrazor thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 8, 2010
    #5
    That sounds so odd. If the SSD is bootable via USB, why would it not be bootable for Firewire? Do you really think if I dropped a spinning platter into the enclosure it would boot? Doesn't the Mac just see a drive (whether HD or SSD) as a block device?
     
  5. hwojtek macrumors 6502a

    hwojtek

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    A small rural village in western Poland
    #6
    Absolutely.
    I highly doubt there is an issue with the drive itself.
    Two things that I stumbled upon in regards of Iomega is that in general they do not seem happy with FW booting. The other thing is that somebody had a success with FW booting when the USB cable was unplugged from Iomega enclosure (unplugging on the Mac side didn't signal the enclosure to switch to FW).
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #7
    OP:
    Sometimes certain hardware is just "not compatible" with -other- hardware, no matter what one tries to do about it.

    My advice:
    Can you boot the external using USB?
    Yes, I realize it's only USB2.
    However -- even though the actual boot-up may take longer, things will probably run pretty quickly once you're "up-and-running".

    Sometimes the only option is to "go with what works" ...
     
  7. Waragainstsleep macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    If you plug it in via Firewire to a Mac that is already booted, does it show? Is it possible the firewire chip is blown?
     
  8. imrazor, May 20, 2016
    Last edited: May 20, 2016

    imrazor thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    #9
    The drive is visible via Firewire connection, it just won't boot over FW. It *will* boot via USB 2.0. The results aren't bad at all. Boot time is not that much better than the internal drive, but apps start a lot faster and I don't get the spinning beachball of doom nearly as much. But Firewire 800 is nearly twice as fast, and I'd like to get the speed this enclosure is rated for.

    EDIT: I've also made sure that the USB cable is unplugged from the enclosure when trying to boot over FW800.
     
  9. imrazor thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    #10
    After I good bit of Googling I found this article: http://blog.poettner.de/2012/01/22/external-firewire-800-hard-drive-comparison/
    It seems to confirm what I've found: my enclosure simply will not boot via Firewire. That's a real disappointment. I'd return the enclosure if I could, but it isn't worth the cost of return postage.

    Can anyone suggest a low-cost Firewire 800 enclosure that is known to be bootable?
     
  10. hwojtek macrumors 6502a

    hwojtek

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    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    A small rural village in western Poland
    #11
    I got a WD MyBook 1112 upgraded to a 3TB hard disk, boots like a champ.
     
  11. imrazor thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    #12
    Hmm, I found several threads like this one: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3938565?tstart=0
    They seem to suggest that a number of WD drives don't do Firewire booting. Anyway, I was hoping for something I could drop an SSD into. How easy is it to tear down a MyBook?
     
  12. hwojtek macrumors 6502a

    hwojtek

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
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    A small rural village in western Poland
    #13
    I had to go look for the very same putty knife I used for opening my first Mac Mini, but it handled the task in an excellent way. The body is surprisingly flexible, so even I couldn't break it. The best way was to use the putty knife inch by inch AND simultaneously block the silver part of the enclosure from locking on back again to the white part. On a scale 1-10 it's about 3 to 4.
     
  13. Richdmoore macrumors 65816

    Richdmoore

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    Jul 24, 2007
    Location:
    Troutdale, OR
    #14
    I just send a PM to imrazor, the OP about some empty FireWire mybook 1112 enclosures I have available.
     

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