Leopard, Time Machine and External HD: Bad Behavior

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Future Blues, Dec 12, 2007.

  1. Future Blues macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    #1
    So I recently bought a 500Gb drive to use with Time Machine, however, rather than making my life simpler, it's instead caused me considerable stress. I can't tell if it's a bug with Leopard and Time Machine, or if it just doesn't play well with my USB hub, or what.

    I partitioned it into two separate partitions (both HFS+), one for Time Machine (and other back-up) and one for general use. I attach it to my MBP using a small cheap ($16; cheap for Japan anyway) USB hub (which I also use with my iPod without a problem).

    When I connect it, it's recognized without a problem and Time Machine updates all its files and all that. The activity light goes on and I can hear it seeking. After a while it quiets down and the light usually goes off. Sometimes however, the light will come back on while the drive remains silent and this is where the problems start. If I try to shut down or restart my computer when the "activity light" is on, my MBP will quit all applications but hang right before shutting down completely. It will sit there (and if I try and click or bring up a dialog with Apple+Option+Esc) and sometimes just beachball without a single indication of what's happening. I haven't waited it out to see if it will go away, but when it hangs for 5+ its a problem. To fix it I have to unplug the drive (which sometimes throws up the don't unplug non-ejected drives! error) in order to have the computer finally finish shutting itself down. I haven't lost any data this way I don't think and I'm pretty sure the OS isn't actually writing anything to the drive (since I can't hear it seeking at all) at this time.

    Additionally, I've also had the Finder hang (and fail to relaunch) several times after waking the computer from sleep. The HD displays the same behavior then also.

    Is this a bug with Time Machine? Does it not play nice with partitioned drives? Is the USB hub the problem? (I haven't tried to see if I can replicate this bug when the HD is plugged directly into the computer, but I'll post the results of that later) Is this a Leopard bug? Is it the HD? Is there any way to test it for defects?

    Further: Does it matter if Time Machine is on a partition where other data exists? Or should I keep a separate partition for Time Machine like I'm doing now?
     
  2. overanalyzer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Boston, MA USA
    #2
    Time Machine works fine with multiple partitions as well as sharing a partition with other data, which it will leave untouched and use space as available. So it sounds like it's a problem with the hub or the drive. Have you tried connecting directly without the hub or a different drive?
     
  3. GRuizMD macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2007
    #3
    Something similar happens here... My External drive hangs and stops working after a shor period of inactivity... It's like it has some sort of Sleep timer and after it stops does not come back.... Only thing that works is shutting it down and starting again....:confused:
     
  4. Future Blues thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    #4
    So I tried plugging it directly into my MBP and there's still weirdness going on.

    I plugged it in, and it spun up (and wrote new changes to it, I imagine) and then went idle as expected. However, about 10 minutes later I get a notice from OS X about "Unexpected Device Removal" and blah blah, and when I glance at the Finder I see that the drives are no longer mounted and the access light on the drive itself is now solid green (instead of just off, which means no activity). Fixing it required an unplug and then replug. Still experimenting.

    Hmmm... my Time Machine partition seems to have disappeared. This may be a drive problem.
     
  5. overanalyzer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Boston, MA USA
    #5
    It's sounding like it. Have you tried running Disk Repair on the drive? If possible I'd also try the drive on another computer and see if it does the same thing, just to eliminate it being a hardware problem with the computer.
     
  6. Future Blues thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    #6
    Well, I don't have another computer to try this on, so that's out.

    I think the drive got wonky one of those times when the drive was removed from the desktop. I ran Disk Utility on it and repaired it without a problem, then re-partitioned it into a single drive. I've been using it for some time now without Time Machine enabled and so far haven't had a single problem. So I'm going to turn on Time Machine soon and see if the good behavior continues unabated.
     
  7. Future Blues thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    #7
    Bah. I knew it was too good to be true. Before I even had a chance to enable Time Machine the drive went back to it's old tricks again (this time even while being directly plugged into the computer). So I've narrowed it down. There's no problem with the USB hub and Time Machine isn't the culprit. Either the drive is weirding out Leopard or Leopard is weirding out the drive. Disk Utility says the drive is A-OK. So I don't know what to do.

    Is there anyway to monitor what the drive is doing when the activity light is lit from the OS side of things? I mean, there has to be something going on if it's enough to send the Finder into a beach ball state that lasts forever, right?

    I want to exhaust all my options before I try and return the drive, because I have to return it in Japanese and that might be difficult (I don't know, I've never had to try and return anything here yet.) :D
     

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