Problems with Leopard and external hard drives...

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by .:r32, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. .:r32 macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2008
    Hi everyone,

    I've been a longtime reader of MacRumors and decided to make an account because I need help with a problem my friend and I are experiencing. We both have relatively new (current generation) MacBooks (mine is black, his is white) and we are both experiencing issues with our hard drives. I will separate the problems to make it easier to read:

    1. Me: I have a 500GB SimpleTech external that I use for my entire iTunes library. My iTunes library is relatively large (almost 400GB) and lately I have been having problems where if I use iTunes for an extended period of time (i.e. to watch movies or TV shows) then stop using it for awhile, then go back to try and use it again, it "crashes" my hard drive. By this, I mean the following: the hard drive is idle (i.e. not spinning) because it hasn't been in use for awhile. Then when I double click something in iTunes, it tries to start spinning again (I can hear it) but it just continually tries to seek but to no avail. This causes iTunes to hang (won't even force quit), which then causes my Finder to hang (won't relaunch), and then I have to manually power off, because if I try to restart, the restart process just hangs.

    2. My friend: My friend has the same type of problem but in a different manner. He has a 19" Sharp monitor and 320GB Western Digital external which he has some media on but they are in .avi so are not in iTunes. Anyway, he'll use VLC Media Player to watch one file, then if he tries to start another one, his Finder hangs, and he has to manually reboot like I do. He thinks it may be a problem regarding the monitor, because he claims it's "not as bad" when the monitor is not attached, but I really feel like it has to do with Leopard and external hard drives.

    I don't know if this information helps, but maybe it does:
    - Neither of us are using Time Machine (although I previously did and it worked fine, but I've since turned it off)
    - If I plug in my external right after turning it on, it works 100% normally; it only messes up after it's been sitting idle for a few hours

    If anyone has any insight on this, please, please, please enlighten me. It's driving us crazy.
  2. GlossyIsBad4U macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2008

    I can't evalute what the cause is, but I would clone that iTunes drive to another working drive as another backup.

    Sometimes bad sectors on a drive can cause problems, it's always best to Erase with Zero any new drive. Only need o do it once to eliminate bad bits/sectors.

    It could be you've set the hard drives to sleep. Check "Energy Saver" in System Preferences.

    Hope that helps. :)
  3. .:r32 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2008
    Ok so I checked the Energy Saver settings and the box that says "Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible" is currently checked. Does that mean it will put external hard disks to sleep too? Should I uncheck the box?
  4. richard.mac macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2007
    51.50024, -0.12662
    yep if you uncheck that option the external drive will always be spinning. this will prevent it from taking a while from spinning up and crashing when you use iTunes after a period of time. overtime a hard drive whos disk platters are kept spinning will have a greater life span than one whos platters are spun down all the time.
  5. .:r32 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2008
    I tried doing what you said, but the hard drive still spins down. Any other suggestions?
  6. benlangdon macrumors 65832


    Jan 13, 2008
    what kind of connection are you using.

    i had a similar problem with my esata express card. i could listen to music but after a while i couldn't. turned out it was a bad node in the drivers for the card. i just returned it and need another and am using usb which is holly mother of god slow as ****.

    try running disk utility and see if anything comes up.

    what happens if you exit itunes and then come back in a while?

    you know the genius bar is there just for this stuff. in pages i couldn't get the first letter of the sentence to capitalize and i just had something not checked in pref. but they helped me. i have been in there 4 times in the past 2 weeks because of that faulty card and other stuff

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