External HD Locking Up My iMac

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by packgrad2000, May 29, 2009.

  1. packgrad2000 macrumors regular

    Sep 19, 2007
    I have a LaCie Rugged HD (the one with the orange bumper) connected to my new 2.93Ghz iMac via FW800, doing daily backups via SuperDuper! However, lately it will sometimes not respond when I click on it in the Finder, and then I'll get the forever spinning Beachball. It's been locking up Finder (which won't respond to a Force Restart), iTunes, pretty much everything, and until I figured out what it was, I was having to do several forced restarts on the computer. Finally, I figured out it was the LaCie HD, and physically unplugging its FW cable was the only way to unlock my entire iMac. It would not respond to ejecting it via Finder.

    Is this normal? Which one is typically at fault, the iMac, or the HD? Of course, I'd love to try a different cable, but don't have another FW 800 cable, and of course the new iMacs don't have FW400 now. I haven't had any issues with my external WD drive connected via USB. I'm just curious if my FW port on my iMac could have an issue.
  2. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    The described behavior isn't "normal", but it is exactly what happens when an external drive stops responding to the OS. The "fix" is, as you figured out, to physically unplug the external, which will "unlock" the OS (which was stuck waiting for a response from a drive that was still connected but misbehaving).

    It definitely shouldn't be doing this. If it were once in an extremely rare while, I might chalk it up to random quirks, but if it's happening that frequently there's something wrong. Could theoretically be your FW port, but I'd be much more inclined to blame the LaCie drive.

    I've read an unusually large number of reports of LaCie drives having flakey power supplies (though admittedly most were with different models from yours). I'd probably try calling LaCie if the drive is still under warranty, or if not tracking down a power brick with the correct voltage, current rating, and connector (RadioShack can help, or your local electronics junk store probably has a heap for a couple of bucks each). If it's not the power supply you could also try a new cable and see if that makes any difference. If none of the above, could just be a failing drive/drive case.
  3. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007
    Do yourself a favour, if the LaCie drive is fairly old, start making backups of it's content if at all possible (ideally to DVD or another drive) the sooner the better!! Judging from your description, it sounds like the LaCie is on it's way out!! As it your mac seems to have trouble communicating with it, so much so. it's physically stalling the finder.

    If I'm wrong, at least you have an backup of your LaCie. :)
  4. packgrad2000 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 19, 2007
    It's not old, only about a year, and I believe it has a 3 year warranty. I'm going to try to see if I can just get another FW800 cable first. On my old MBP, I seemed to also have some problems, and IIRC when I used the FW400 cable I didn't experience any problems.

    It IS my backup for my iMac, so if I lose it, nothing is lost, I'll just have to get another backup ASAP.

    Just seems kind of silly for an external HD to lock up the OS so easily, just because it can't communicate with it.

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