Flash Drive Burnout?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by BinaryWizard, Apr 6, 2015.

  1. BinaryWizard macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2014
    Why-oh-why does Apple have to poll a flash drive 3 or 4 times a second?

    If you have an R/W LED on your flash drive, its like a beacon in the night 24/7. Tried it on Imac and MacBook Pro under Mavericks and Yosemite same result, continuous flashing.

    Not only is it distracting, but as most of us know, Flash Drives have a finite life based on the number of R/W cycles. It would appear Apple is running a test to see which drive can last the longest and take the most punishment!

    Apple Tech Support says "That's the way it is, but we will have our engineering group look at it".....yeah right!

    My guess is that their fix may be a 1/2" length of masking tape!

    Anyone else suffering the same malady or know of a fix?
  2. JTToft macrumors 68040

    Apr 27, 2010
    Aarhus, Denmark
    Options that will fix your issues to varying extents:

    1. Don't leave your flash drives plugged in when you don't need them.

    2. Place them out of sight from your bed.

    3. Take apart your flash drives and disconnect the LED.

    4. Buy flash drives that don't have stupid LEDs on them.
  3. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    It seems to have a lot to do with the Flash controller being used. I have one USB flash drive that seems to run constantly when plugged in... but it does this in Windows, too. Meanwhile all of my other flash drives don't do this.

    In any case, it's the write cycle, not so much a read cycle, that really ages SSDs. Are you sure writing is happening? What does the "Disk" section of your activity monitor say?
  4. BinaryWizard thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2014

    With Windows, these drives do not exhibit the same behavior as they do under OS-X. With Windows, there is nary a blink except on an actual R/W operation. I have tried it with both PNY and Corsair drives.

    I checked the activity monitor and when the drive is plugged in, the Writes Out/Sec jumps to 10-18 and stays in that range. Once the drive is dragged to the trash, the Writes Out/Sec goes to zero.

    That tells me that the drive is being written to, I have no idea why the OS-X would want to writes on such a frequent basis.

    Hopefully Apple will have a look at this.
  5. BinaryWizard thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2014
    Problem Solved!

    OK, I found the problem and it is rather interesting.

    Whenever you introduce a new drive into the OS-X system, it begins to create a SpotLight index file on the media. The constant R/W of the Flash Drive LED is the OS scanning the entire drive to build the SpotLight Index.

    The larger the drive, the longer it takes. In this case, with a 16GB Flash drive, the time to build the index was in the range of 30 minutes, hence the constant R/W cycles while it performed this operation.

    I really have no need to SpotLight my Flash Drive; so, how do you stop it?

    1) Go To System Preferences.
    2) Choose "SpotLight".
    3) Click the "Privacy" Tab
    4) Drag the Drive ICON from the Desktop into the "Privacy" Window" The drive volume name should appear. This exempts it from SpotLight.
    5) Close the Window.
    6) Drag the Flash Drive to the Trash.
    7) Unplug and re-insert.

    A couple of flashes as the system registers the device and then......nothing!

    I spent 2 hours on the phone with Apple Tech Support and even the "Senior Advisor" should have picked up on this issue.

    I Hope this information is helpful to others that are concerned about the longevity of their flash drives.

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