MP 7,1 'Users' folder on External Drive - 2019 Mac Pro - Kernel Panic!

jjhny

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 16, 2005
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940
Seems the 2019 Mac Pro with Catalina doesn't like having an external 'Users' folder (on an external drive via Thunderbolt 3 (OWC ThunderBay 4). I think this is mainly a Catalina bug from what I have researched, but it is ridiculous to limit a Users folder to internal considering the paltry boot storage Apple offers internally. Also I just wish they released the Mac Pro with a stable, later version (xx.xx.6) OS like Mojave (with the early version OS bugs fixed). Even a special patched Mojave would have been nice (I'd prefer High Sierra, actually).

So far on testing it seems to do with sleep. If you don't sleep the machine (and uncheck sleep options in energy saver) it doesn't kernel panic. Once it sleeps (and wakes) ta-da, kernel panic, consistently. Here is what I am seeing over and over in crash report:
dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOAHCIFamily(290.0.1)
dependency: com.apple.driver.AppleEFINVRAM(2.1)
dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOStorageFamily(2.1)

If anyone has a trick to fix this issue I'd appreciate it. Otherwise I think we have to wait for another iteration of Catalina.

Also, a weird thing... no boot chime with this Mac Pro.
 

jjhny

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 16, 2005
253
940
if it is the same as 5.1, then all external devices are unmounted in sleep mode
Exactly, and I think Catalina doesn't like (or has depreciated) the code for external IO - and a user folder has dependencies on the system that a plain data drive does not. Look at the T2 chip, it doesn't let you boot off of an external unless you turn that part of it off in recovery mode - they really still aren't thinking of power users, or facilities who may have multiple users with a lot of data in their users folder working on the same machine.

So I think the bug is in the IO drivers tied to waking from sleep, and it isn't expediting a connection to an external drive. I just hope this gets fixed soon as i have an expensive paperweight and/or render node for the time being.

Finally, I'm not alone, have seen this behavior all over different forums, on MacBooks, iMacs, etc. Even where they aren't depending on an external drive. Catalina really needs fixing ASAP

Again I wish someone had a good trick that would fix this....
 

jasonmvp

macrumors demi-god
Jun 15, 2015
310
249
Northern VA
Again I wish someone had a good trick that would fix this....
I have my user directory an an ejectable drive (NVMe RAID blade; shows up as external). But the difference is: I do not now, nor ever will let the Mac sleep.

As an aside: I wish folks would migrate away from sleep/hibernate. The difference in heat produced and/or electricity burned is basically nil. If you're not using it, you're not using it. Let it sit there and run.
 

IndioX

macrumors 6502a
Oct 1, 2018
824
329
austria/europe
apple will not fix this as this behaviour is present in every macOS version.

so it is not intended to put the user directory on another drive than the startup volume.

but you can create the document folder, music folder and the photo library wherever you want,
but the user must be on the startup volume.

this is also the moment where a small boot volume is useless,
and apple expects that buyers will choose the option of 1TB or larger.
 
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AidenShaw

macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
18,627
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The Peninsula
so it is not intended to put the user directory on another drive than the startup volume.
What a crock.... The other desktop operating systems have the home directory as a path in the user's login record. It can be anywhere - even someplace non-existent.

(In Windows, if the home directory is not accessible when you log in, it will create a temporary directory on the system drive and warn you that any changes are non-persistent.)
 
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jjhny

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 16, 2005
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I just started a thread to discuss ways to Hack Mojave onto a 2019 Mac Pro. Looking at "macOS Mojave Patcher Tool" as a starting point. Until they fix Catalina (maybe by 10.15.4 or .5) and its bugs, this may be a possible solution. I am not happy having an expensive, sleepless doorstop.
 

goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
7,141
1,162
What a crock.... The other desktop operating systems have the home directory as a path in the user's login record. It can be anywhere - even someplace non-existent.

(In Windows, if the home directory is not accessible when you log in, it will create a temporary directory on the system drive and warn you that any changes are non-persistent.)
The problem, as hinted above, is that in every single version of macOS that external media is disconnected during sleep, and then reconnected at wake.

I don't think this is even a software issue as much as a hardware/firmware issue. The only reason it's connected to software is because having immediate access to a home folder is kind of important at wake.

Going back to Mojave won't change this. This behavior is present in Mojave as well. And like I said, it's likely tied up into how the hardware works as well. Your external disk doesn't stay active/spinning when the machine sleeps, which is usually a good thing. It's just the timing disparity between the internal drive being active and the external drive not yet being active.
 
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lizurd

macrumors newbie
Feb 5, 2013
21
11
Seems the 2019 Mac Pro with Catalina doesn't like having an external 'Users' folder (on an external drive via Thunderbolt 3 (OWC ThunderBay 4).
Do you really need to have the entire /Users directory structure on the external drive? Why not just have an external drive with /USERS_BIG_DATA/ and then symlink to it from your /Users/<home_dir>/ where appropriate.

Which files/directories in the user home directory is the OS relying on when waking? I doubt that it is all of them probably the system or library directory is all.

I agree that Apple should "fix" this issue to be more seamless, however they don't seem nearly as concerned with "it just works" as they used to.
 

goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
7,141
1,162
Do you really need to have the entire /Users directory structure on the external drive? Why not just have an external drive with /USERS_BIG_DATA/ and then symlink to it from your /Users/<home_dir>/ where appropriate.

Which files/directories in the user home directory is the OS relying on when waking? I doubt that it is all of them probably the system or library directory is all.

I agree that Apple should "fix" this issue to be more seamless, however they don't seem nearly as concerned with "it just works" as they used to.
macOS actually has an official way to do this (Users and Groups, unlock, option right click on user, advanced options, home directory path option.) No idea if this is what OP was trying to do, it sounds like he just moved the whole Users folder.
 

jjhny

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 16, 2005
253
940
Do you really need to have the entire /Users directory structure on the external drive?
Yes, unfortunately. I have some rather large files just in the library. 70GB just in mail (don't ask but we have to keep it). Also documents folder (which the apps need to use is running at about 150 GB). Some apps won't store things elsewhere, or if you do they have tended to crash. For many pros we're stuck with this paradigm. It wasn't until Apple decided to solder in (or offer) tiny boot drives that this bcame a problem. And it's fine for people who play games and surf the web, and send poo emojis and post on Facebook and are typical consumers. But it is not good for the people who actually make things. On a my workstation I have about 15 TB of drives in an enclosure attached so I can work. Editing machine is worse (multiple TB's of data and arrays, etc.) - But at least I am running High Sierra on it, and it wakes up with an external users folder with no problems whatsoever. Runs significantly better that Catalina.

This trend of emasculating the MacOS is not good. IOS is fine for the kiddies.
- - Post merged: - -

macOS actually has an official way to do this (Users and Groups, unlock, option right click on user, advanced options, home directory path option.) No idea if this is what OP was trying to do, it sounds like he just moved the whole Users folder.
We do exactly what you wrote above - and it has worked flawlessly for us - until Catalina.
 

26139

Suspended
Dec 27, 2003
4,315
371
What a crock.... The other desktop operating systems have the home directory as a path in the user's login record. It can be anywhere - even someplace non-existent.

(In Windows, if the home directory is not accessible when you log in, it will create a temporary directory on the system drive and warn you that any changes are non-persistent.)
UNIX has been like this forever and Mac OS since X, so nearly 20 years.
- - Post merged: - -

Yes, unfortunately. I have some rather large files just in the library. 70GB just in mail (don't ask but we have to keep it). Also documents folder (which the apps need to use is running at about 150 GB). Some apps won't store things elsewhere, or if you do they have tended to crash. For many pros we're stuck with this paradigm. It wasn't until Apple decided to solder in (or offer) tiny boot drives that this bcame a problem. And it's fine for people who play games and surf the web, and send poo emojis and post on Facebook and are typical consumers. But it is not good for the people who actually make things. On a my workstation I have about 15 TB of drives in an enclosure attached so I can work. Editing machine is worse (multiple TB's of data and arrays, etc.) - But at least I am running High Sierra on it, and it wakes up with an external users folder with no problems whatsoever. Runs significantly better that Catalina.

This trend of emasculating the MacOS is not good. IOS is fine for the kiddies.
- - Post merged: - -



We do exactly what you wrote above - and it has worked flawlessly for us - until Catalina.
Do the same not good things happen if you use aliases for the folders in the user directory and point them to the external drive?
 
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retta283

macrumors 68000
Jun 8, 2018
1,771
1,569
Kingman, AZ
If I remember, all Macs with T2 have no startup chime. This started with the 2016 MBP, and has spread to the other Macs.

Shame really because it gave Macs personality and was a useful tool when troubleshooting.
 

bxs

macrumors 65816
Oct 20, 2007
1,105
479
Seattle, WA
Yes, unfortunately. I have some rather large files just in the library. 70GB just in mail (don't ask but we have to keep it). Also documents folder (which the apps need to use is running at about 150 GB). Some apps won't store things elsewhere, or if you do they have tended to crash. For many pros we're stuck with this paradigm. It wasn't until Apple decided to solder in (or offer) tiny boot drives that this bcame a problem. And it's fine for people who play games and surf the web, and send poo emojis and post on Facebook and are typical consumers. But it is not good for the people who actually make things. On a my workstation I have about 15 TB of drives in an enclosure attached so I can work. Editing machine is worse (multiple TB's of data and arrays, etc.) - But at least I am running High Sierra on it, and it wakes up with an external users folder with no problems whatsoever. Runs significantly better that Catalina.

This trend of emasculating the MacOS is not good. IOS is fine for the kiddies.
I've been keeping my large data storage requirements that typically reside in the home folder on a Pegasus 12TB RAID-5 unit.

My large data storage that typically would reside in the home folder is

  • Documents
  • Photos library
  • Music data
  • Apple TV data
  • MobileSync backups
  • Handbrake movies
  • Quicken financial data
The above at this time amounts to some 4.1 TB.

On my MBP13,3 with a measly 256GB SSD typical uses 150GB leaving me with some 100GB free.

I sleep my Mac(s) with this type configuration and waking does not encounter problem(s) as you've mentioned.

On our MP7,1 none of the above data stored on an external unit will be present (simply not used or required as the MBP can deal with all that), so a 1TB internal SSD for the MP7,1 will be more than adequate.
 
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profdraper

macrumors regular
Jan 14, 2017
111
86
Brisbane, Australia
I have my user directory an an ejectable drive (NVMe RAID blade; shows up as external). But the difference is: I do not now, nor ever will let the Mac sleep.

As an aside: I wish folks would migrate away from sleep/hibernate. The difference in heat produced and/or electricity burned is basically nil. If you're not using it, you're not using it. Let it sit there and run.
Exactly, totally agree & has been this way for donkey's years: eg, All DAW vendors recommend turning off computer sleep, disk & display sleep for both Mac OS and Windows workstations. Ditto for NLEs. For laptops of course, these are built to work with batteries, conserve energy etc and that is a different scenario.
 

jjhny

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 16, 2005
253
940
UNIX has been like this forever and Mac OS since X, so nearly 20 years.
- - Post merged: - -



Do the same not good things happen if you use aliases for the folders in the user directory and point them to the external drive?
Good suggestion. Have not done this yet as was hoping to find a fix first (lotsa data to copy). I would just like it to work like it has since the beginning of OSX. Is that too much to ask Apple for?
 

jjhny

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 16, 2005
253
940
Interesting... Apple called me directly and spent 2 1/2 hours asking me detailed questions on every detail of my setup down to the detail on the brand and model of my Thunderbolt 3 cables. They had me go through detailed steps to reproduce the kernel panic and dump log files right after. It was hinted that all this info is going up to the top of the foodchain (likely to programming). So Apple appears to be aware of the problems with their IO drivers and sleep conflicts with external drives on Catalina. Seems to be acknowledged as a system software issue. I mean it obviously is the case.

I also asked about a Mojave build for the new Mac Pro - apparently there is such a beast, but it's internal at Apple - would love to get a hold of that!

More calls will be coming and wanted to make sure I was available to continue going over this - obviously I said yes. So let's see what happens...
 
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Flint Ironstag

macrumors 65816
Dec 1, 2013
1,145
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Houston, TX USA
Yeah, there's an official method for doing this as @goMac outlined. Any consultant will tell you that a combination of non-standard home folder locations, sync, and sleep is just asking for trouble though. It's been like this for a long time - thought they had given up on trying to fix it. Surprised they called you, @jjhny - maybe they're taking it seriously again.
 

demani

macrumors newbie
Jun 9, 2003
4
0
Are people seeing this with internal non-T2 storage as well? I was considering an NVMe drive on a PCIe card with one of the better priced mainstream drives as a home folder repository for a trio of Mac Pro 7,1 units that are arriving next month. I have this set up on a 5,1 with Mojave and it has worked fine throughout sleep and wake, and the drive does show up with a default yellow removable drive icon, so the system sees it that way. Maybe the time to "spin up" that is so small that the system doesn't time it out? Or is that a separate case from actual external, removable storage?

But yes, having user data on a separate drive also makes sense to protect rotating users (like freelancers) from not paying attention and filling up the boot drive.
 

IndioX

macrumors 6502a
Oct 1, 2018
824
329
austria/europe
the only correct way to outsource the user folder is via the advanced settings in the user preferences

but also here is the problem with the unmounted drives while sleeping

Screenshot-2020-01-23-at-19.47.58.jpg
 
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