Can't Boot With External HDD Attached

Rian Gray

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 13, 2011
172
24
NJ, United States
This is a bit awkward problem I'm having right now.
**not trying to boot from external HDD**

On my iMac, (probably late 2012) I usually work with 3~4 external HDDs attached. And when I do a reboot, it simply doesn't boot up and stays in the grey screen until I remove all the external HDDs.

Not only that, I can't even type passwords in as I login, so pretty much either I end up with grey screen or login screen where I can't type unless I remove HDDs. (just on the side note, both HDDs and keyboard is attached via USB)

Another odd problem is that I can't use my mice, Logitech MX Master, on the login screen. I can only maneuver with the Apple bluetooth trackpad.

Has anyone encountered these sort of issues? What was your solution other than disconnecting all the drives?
 

Floris

macrumors 68020
Sep 7, 2007
2,381
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Netherlands
I've heard this was semi common on Maverick systems, and should be fixed in Yosemite.

Or perhaps try this:

  1. From the Apple menu choose System Preferences.
  2. Click the Startup Disk icon in System Preferences, or choose View > Startup Disk.
  3. Select your startup disk from the list of available volumes.
 

Rian Gray

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 13, 2011
172
24
NJ, United States
I've heard this was semi common on Maverick systems, and should be fixed in Yosemite.

Or perhaps try this:

  1. From the Apple menu choose System Preferences.
  2. Click the Startup Disk icon in System Preferences, or choose View > Startup Disk.
  3. Select your startup disk from the list of available volumes.
I'm on El Capitan right now. Now that I think of it, I think it did start with Mavericks.

And as for Startup Disk, no other disks are showing up as an option. I don't use bootcamp, and there is no bootable HDDs connected either. I think there shouldn't be any problems with finding which one to boot from, but then again symptoms suggest exactly that. That's the weird part.
 

Floris

macrumors 68020
Sep 7, 2007
2,381
1,451
Netherlands
I'm on El Capitan right now. Now that I think of it, I think it did start with Mavericks.

And as for Startup Disk, no other disks are showing up as an option. I don't use bootcamp, and there is no bootable HDDs connected either. I think there shouldn't be any problems with finding which one to boot from, but then again symptoms suggest exactly that. That's the weird part.
Very strange, maybe there's just too many usb devices requiring power, causing issues?
Does it work if you remove 1 hdd, and boot with 3, instead of 4? .. Just thinking outloud.
 

Rian Gray

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 13, 2011
172
24
NJ, United States
Very strange, maybe there's just too many usb devices requiring power, causing issues?
Does it work if you remove 1 hdd, and boot with 3, instead of 4? .. Just thinking outloud.
I thought that was original, so I tried. Unfortunately, missed the jeopardy! All of the drives have its own external power, and its connected via a USB hub that also has its own external power. So I guess it makes it unlikely to have a power issue. At this point, I'm looking into the HDD dock's manual, just to be sure it doesn't have a weird feature.
 

Rian Gray

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 13, 2011
172
24
NJ, United States
Never mind "the evil dock company" theory. It wasn't the dock, I just checked with the older dock I had. Supposedly, the problem has to do with the Mac, but I can't even start to imagine what.
 

Rian Gray

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 13, 2011
172
24
NJ, United States
Okay, sorry to revive an old thread of mine. Just got off from Apple Support, they say it's recommended to have the drives removed during the startup, since it seems the machine is confused with the number of drives. Here we have the official solution: don't try to boot with external HDDs attached.