Prevent additional Drives from waking up "randomly" in Lion and for Spotlight

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by lilabila, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. lilabila macrumors member

    Mar 27, 2011
    Hi Macrumors Members,

    I hope sincerely you can help me with the following problems:

    There are several external HDD's connected to the Mac and an additional internal HDD. All Disks have one HFS+ partition for Data only. These Disks put themselves to sleep automatically. The Computer runs OS X Lion 10.7.1. Spotlight setting: When performing a search -> Search the current folder.

    The Problem is, when using Lion, sometimes the Datadisks "randomly" are waking up. That's very often the case when using Mail or Safari for instance.

    This is really annoying, it speeds down the system for some seconds and the sound of the awakening disks many dozen times a day is driving me crazy somehow as well.

    There is really no need to wake these disks up by Lion, except for the itunes and iphoto library (which I can controll by myself very well), there are absolutely not connections for the system, at all, to these disks and I would be so happy if they were sleeping until I want them to wake up.

    The other problem occurs within the spotlight search function (Command + Space) which I'm often using for launching applications or looking for frequent files stored on the system disk.
    After hitting Command + Space all additional Disks wake up.

    Actually, I like spotlight and don't intend to deactivate it for the Datadisks but would prefer it prevents scanning these Disks generally.

    So, my questions are, does anybody know how to:
    -Prevent the system from waking up these disks uselessly
    -Prevent spotlight from waking these disks without disabling it's indexing and the manual finding possibilty

    Thank you for reading and best wishes from germany!
  2. lilabila thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 27, 2011
    Ok, now, even after disabling spotlight for the externals, it is still waking the disks...

    and after some observation it really seems to be randomly!
    watching console didn't spot the problem.

    I remember very well that this wasn't the case with Snow Leopard and below.

    Please help! It is so annoying!
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    They're not randomly waking up. Finder will spin up all mounted drives anytime you do anything that might require them. This includes any File > Open or File > Save operations, searches, etc. The only way to prevent them from spinning up is to unmount them. This has always been the case with Lion, Snow Leopard, Leopard and probably earlier.
  4. baryon macrumors 68040


    Oct 3, 2009
    This problem is extremely annoying. My new external takes 20 seconds to spin up and during that time my system is completely frozen. It spins down automatically every 15 minutes, so it keeps spinning back up every 20-30 minutes because chances are something will "need" it even though there is absolutely nothing on it that any part of anything on my computer would need from it.

    What's the point of doing this unless I'm accessing the specific drive? I don't see the point...
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Read my post, just before yours.
  6. lilabila thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 27, 2011

    thank you for your reply!

    In my case before the Lion upgrade, the disks were only woken after you specifically chose the disk in finder to save anything, or just for browsing, but not when I didn't.
    When I was performing a search, I knew they're going to spin up, because spotlight was active for the disk.

    It's really totally strange! When I'm launching Safari it will spin up! That was never the case before.

    I'm suspicious that it could have something to do with the new Mac App Store environment and it's deep in the system integrated services. There are also some people staying at 10.6.5 because they are saying that Apple is scanning all your Data for apps and that there is a possibility that information could be sent to apple. Macintouch confirmed a worry concerning these claims some time ago.
    But that's just a guess, I actually can't tell what is the reason!
  7. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    There are a great many possibilities for drives spinning up. Finder is the most common, but there can certainly be other apps that would cause that. For example, I have my iTunes library split between internal and external drives, so that could spin the external up. Other apps may contribute to this issue. While I don't think it's the case, iStat Pro reports information on mounted external drives, so it could possibly spin drives up to collect such info. It's a matter of isolating which apps cause that activity, which isn't worth the trouble to me, but you may find it useful.
  8. lilabila thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 27, 2011
    Thanks for the hint, but I'm totally aware of these possibilties, we can exclude all non-system services, apps, widgets... and spinning up by user request

    That's because I said there was never this problem below 10.7
    At 10.6.6-7 I removed the MAS environment with the nuketheappstore app, so I can't really tell of spinning up had occured since then because of MAS.

    Sometimes it seems like it's coming out of nowhere!

    But, I would be happy as well if someone with a SSD + Optibay HDD or External HDD can tell me their HDD stays asleep, so the problem can be prevented at all.

    Best regards
  9. mac-milos macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2011
    I have a similar configuration and can confirm the problem. My solution for now is to unmount the drive when its not needed, that keeps the drive asleep.
  10. lilabila thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 27, 2011
    Thank you for the information, milos, much appreciated!
    Indeed, I know about the unmounting, but then it's annoying the other way around, at least for my needs.

    Were you having your configuration in Snow Leopard as well? It was like a dream... I remember reading PDF's at night in my bed and there was not a single noise from the machine as long as I didn't access it deliberately

    Too bad one cannot just simply deactivate/remove these annoying services.

    BTW, Nuketheappstore helped a little, it's better now, but didn't resolve the problem

    Best wishes
  11. bwana macrumors newbie

    Sep 6, 2001
    Well, I have a macbook pro running lion on an ssd. I took out the dvd drive and put a hard there for additional storage. On snow leopard, i could dismount my secondary hard drive and the laptop was quiet and cool. The drive would remain absent and off even when waking from sleep. However, after upgrading to Lion,the drive spins up every time the laptop wakes from sleep, although it does not mount. I use the following applescript to toggle the hard drive:

    set vol to "HD2"

    tell application "Finder"
    if (exists disk vol) then
    do shell script "diskutil eject /Volumes/" & vol
    set device to do shell script "diskutil list |grep " & vol & " |awk '{print $6}'"
    do shell script "diskutil mount /dev/" & device
    end if
    end tell

    it's saved as an application and resides in the user scripts folder. I can thus easily run it from the applescript menu. When I wake the laptop and i hear the drive, i need to invoke this script twice to shut the drive down-once to mount it and then again to dismount it and spin it down.

    Is there any way to squash this bug? Why does lion spin up all hard drives when awakening from sleep? Is this apple's way of making the system appear more responsive? Or are they trying to tell us to ditch all rotational drives for ssds?
  12. MagnusVonMagnum macrumors 603


    Jun 18, 2007
    Sadly, it does 'appear' to be random. I'm sure there's something waking my external 'media' drive up, but I don't know what. The same drive connected to my old PPC PowerMac server only woke up when I or a program actually wanted to access something on the drive (e.g. playing a song in iTunes or streaming it around the house to another device). In Mountain Lion on my new Mac Mini Quad i7 Server, that same drive will spin down and sleep and then 30 seconds later wake right back up again, even if I'm doing NOTHING on the computer. It repeats this pattern all night long. Maybe it's something in the server software checking the drive for some odd reason, but it's putting excess wear and tear on the drive for no good reason.

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