External Hard Drives and Mountain Lion

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by ZVH, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. ZVH macrumors 6502

    Apr 14, 2012
    I just thought I'd make a post about something I found out recently about Mountain Lion and a fair number of external hard drives:

    A lot of them won't work! :eek:

    I'm in Herndon Va. and we work with a company name Software and Computer Systems Company, LLC out of Reston Va because they sold our company a suite of drive testing (Scannerz) and security (FSE) tools. I know Scannerz has been mentioned before on this forum before. In any case, since they're obliged to answer my questions as a customer, I had a client that updated to Mountain Lion and used a Seagate external drive for backup and all of a sudden what was working fine under Snow Leopard is now extraordinarily problematic.

    After contacting SCSC, they directed me to the Seagate website, and there were TONS of listings of problems with external hard drives. The worst offender is what I'd call a "narcoleptic drive." It just decides to take a nap, right in the middle of operations - it literally goes to sleep during a read or write, leaving the end user with spinning beach balls. This problem can occur on both FireWire and USB units. I would think it might cause file system corruption as well. I believe Seagate has updated their drivers to fix this problem, but for some sort of reason, from what I've seen, these problems occur for the most part on Mountain Lion. My own theory is that these companies HAD kernel extensions loaded into the system based on an old 32 bit vs. the new 64 bit model and they either don't load properly, they don't align properly, or they flat out don't work. I'm speculating here, so feel free to chime in.

    In any case, one of the things I observed is that all the drives that seem to have problems also have drivers installed. I have an old SmartDisk external 2.5" FireWire drive, a cheap USB case that I use with different drives for backups, and an old Maxtor one-touch FireWire. They're all, oddly enough, old, with the Maxtor being the newest in the group at 5 years old and I have no problems with Mountain Lion.

    If you're looking at buying an external drive to use with Mountain Lion, do a web search and make sure it's compatible and has all the appropriate updates.
  2. bratman91 macrumors newbie

    Jan 26, 2013
    I bought a Seagate 1Tb external hard drive about 4 years ago for backups of a Windows PC. I switched to an iMac 18 months ago and, after formatting the hard drive for Mac, used it without problems running Snow Leopard through to Mountain Lion. A few months ago, I reformatted the hard drive to give two partitions - one for Time Machine backups and one for storing various files. The Seagate has been flawless throughout and, given its low price, I am very pleased with it. Watch for a post tomorrow reporting that it has totally failed and gone up in smoke!!!
  3. TheBSDGuy, Feb 11, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013

    TheBSDGuy macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2012
    This is a link from Seagate:


    Notice at the bottom of their table it says:

    "Seagate Diagnostics will disable the built-in sleep function on the drive when installed. This will solve drive disconnect issues seen with some older GoFlex series drives."

    Clearly some Seagate drives had some sort of problem with "narcolepsy."

    Doing a web search using something like "Mountain Lion external drive problems" brings up a lot of problems, and it's not just Seagate, either.

    I don't have a Seagate, but when I got my external drives they almost always come with some sort of a drivers disk, which has enhanced drivers, usually some sort of lame backup software that they want you to pay more money for the get the real version and loads of other junk someone is trying to make money off of. My approach has been to skip the drivers disk all together and just use the drive as-is. If it works, then that's the way I use it. If it doesn't, then I try the drivers (and if they don't work the drive gets returned). I have yet to see a FireWire or USB drive that didn't work out of the box without adding any drivers or kernel extensions. But then again, I don't own every type of backup drive available on the market.

    I would speculate this type of problem has little to do with the actual hardware and everything to do with the incompatibility of the add on drivers or kernel extensions with a new operating system.

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