Mac Pro stalls while ext (FW) drive spins up

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by qveda, Nov 14, 2010.

  1. qveda macrumors regular

    Sep 8, 2008
    I have a 2009 MacPro with an OS/apps main drive, and internal Data drive, and Firewire external backup drive .

    Time Machine points to the backup drive (partitioned for main and data), and SuperDuper clone/copies to it at night.

    At occasional and upredictable times, while I'm working, the backup drive spins up. The Mac Pro waits. The TimeMachine icon is not turning. Not sure why this happens, but its very frustrating since I have to stop and wait for the Apple 'pinwheel' to stop before I can continue what I was doing, or typing.

    Any ideas for stopping this?
  2. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    You could try going into energy saver and turning off "Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible." That might stop it.

    Otherwise, this is pretty normal behavior.
  3. dissolve macrumors 6502a

    Aug 23, 2009
    Yeah, it's definitely happening because the drive is spinning down. The stall is waiting for it to spin back up and become operational. Unfortunately, this can often be a random occurrence, not always happening only when Time Machine is about to start a backup.

    What type of drive is it? If it's a WD MyBook, the above preference doesn't always work. There's a workaround that forces the system to access the drive periodically, but I've read that this greatly reduces life of the drive.
  4. cutterman macrumors regular

    Apr 27, 2010
    If you havent done so already, try disabling spotlight on that drive.
  5. Courthold macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2005
  6. qveda thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 8, 2008
    Interesting, never thought of that . Now that I think of it, it may be when I'm searching or navigating that this backup drive (OWC firewire) decides to spin up. I'll see if I can turn off Spotlight on just that drive.

    seems like I wouldn't want the drive to never spin down. Its a backup drive. don't really want it spinning, or seeking etc unless I'm backing up or retreiving.
  7. timbloom macrumors 6502a


    Jan 19, 2002
    It can shorten the life of drives. Just be aware of that when enabling this option. Consumer-grade drives are only really rated to run 8 hours or so a day, but enterprise or raid edition drives are built with the presumption that they will be running 24/7.

    It sounds like you have a pretty good backup strategy in place, so it may be a non-issue other than replacing the drive more often.

    All that said, you still aren't guaranteed a failure during the useful life of the drive by doing this. Hard drives are notoriously unpredictable and it's still a gamble if it will fail at all with or without this feature or because of this option.
  8. dissolve macrumors 6502a

    Aug 23, 2009
    Ideally, it would only spin up when you need to back up. I remember trying to disable spotlight on my WD and it didn't work, but hopefully you'll have better luck with an OWC drive. My (poor) solution was to just unplug the drive after a backup. This left open a wide window for human error in forgetting to back up, but that spin up lag was incredibly aggravating.
  9. zurdyo macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2012
    I've been having this problem since forever and still do (was honestly hoping Apple would solve it in the newer versions of the OS).

    What the OS does, whenever I'm accessing the finder looking for something, "in case" this something might be on the external disk, it spinwheels everything until the external disk (4 HD's in an OWC RAID Array) has spun up. At that point, it allows me to go on getting that something I was after, even if it was in the internal HD.

    I would expect Apple to modify the OS in order for me to be able to access every part of my internal HD without needing to spin up every external HD in my chain. IF what I'm looking for is in such HD's, THEN spin them up and spinwheel me.

    Pointless to keep 4 HD's spinning all day for that occasional access to the HD or hourly Time Machine backup, IMHO.

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