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9/28/01 Friday's News: Story DetailReturn to News Page

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OS X 10.1 and Firewire Drive Mount/Sleep Issues?
Results with my VST and Oxford 911 Drives:

Published: 9/28/2001
Last Updated: 11/14/2001
(Added FW Drive Mounting Tips)

OS X 10.1.1 Update: This update released 11/13/2001 seems to have addressed the Oxford911 bridge issues with OS X 10.1 noted below, even without the firmware updates. See this page for reader reports.

Firmware Update for Oxford 911 Drives: (from the 10/19/2001 www.xlr8yourmac.com news page)

" Other World Computing is pleased to announce that as of 10/19/2001, all OWC FireWire Storage solutions have 100% compatibility with OS 10.1. Customers that have purchased an OWC Mercury solution with Oxford 911 prior to 10/20/2001 may contact OWC tech support for a free, user installable updater. "

I was told OWC customers should include their Customer number and invoice number for the drive purchase in the email. For portable drives, you should still unmount the drive before putting the system to sleep I'm told.

Jamie Dresser of OWC sent comments on performance tests he made with the firmware update using a G4/466 (digital audio) Mac:

    Time to Copy 171MB folder (320 items):
  • OS 9.2.1: 49.83 seconds
  • OS X 10.1: 10.21 seconds

If you bought a drive from Macway (France), they also have a firmware update for their customers.

(original article follows)

Jamie Dresser of OWC called me tonight (9/28) to let me know Apple has a TIL titled
Mac OS X 10.1: FireWire Drives Do Not Become Available (Mount) When Connected that says:

    " Third-party FireWire drives do not appear on the desktop or otherwise become available when you connect them to the computer.

    Products affected
    Mac OS X 10.1

    Check the drive vendor's Web site to make sure the FireWire drive's firmware is up to date. "

[See below for another TIL of hangs when copying files between two Firewire devices.]
Jamie mentioned Oxford 911 bridge based drives were affected, saying he had seen the problem personally after putting the system to sleep with the drive connected and then waking the system from sleep. (Error reported on waking from sleep, the TIL above seems to imply this is a general drive mounting issue, not just waking from sleep.)
I asked Jamie if the drive in his Oxford911 bridge based case had Apple drivers, and he said yes. He also said an older case with a pre-911 bridge did not have the problem.

I have seen zero problems mounting my portable VST 12GB drive (firmware v56) and my AC powered Oxford911 bridge based case kit drive with onboard IDE formatted IBM 75GXP 60GB drive (the one used in my review and build guide posted here on the Firewire articles page.) used with my G4/500 DP system running 10.1. No problems with them after waking from sleep either. (I repeated these tests over half a dozen times.) The drives were still mounted and usable.

However I did see a problem with a portable/bus powered Oxford911 bridge based case with 48GB IBM Travelstar drive (the one used in this build guide) after putting the system to sleep and then waking it with the drive connected. A dialog box popped up with a warning the drive had not been put away properly, etc.. Once this happened I had to restart the Mac to get OS X to mount any Firewire drive. (Even Apple System Profiler "beachballed" in limbo trying to launch).

Note: During testing I did as I always do - I connected the drive to the Mac after OS X 10.1 was loaded. I did not test with the hard drive connected at cold boot. If you had problems with a FW drive mounting or the system booting with the drive powered/connected, try connecting the FW drive cable to the drive after the OS has booted. (This may be a workaround for some until this issue is address either in a OS X update or a firmware update for the drives. I suspect the former is more likely than the latter.)

When the portable Oxford911 FW drive was connected/mounted and the system woke from sleep, after the dialog box error message was dismissed the drive was then unmounted from the desktop. Disconnecting and reconnecting it did not mount it again. In fact, no firewire drive would mount after seeing this error until the system was rebooted.

To test if there was a wake from sleep problem with my two most used Firewire drives, I connected my VST portable (bus powered) 12GB drive to my Dual G4/500 system running 10.1 and then put the system to sleep. Waking from sleep the drive was still mounted and usable.
I then tested the early model AC powered/3.5" drive OWC Oxford 911 case I bought and assembled myself this spring. I saw no problems with this drive either. (I had previously used it for the OS X 10.1 vs 10.0.4 performance tests article posted yesterday, but had not put the system to sleep with the drive mounted before tonight.)

As I noted in the build guide and performance tests pages, I bought the OWC Elite911 case kit (no drive) and installed an IBM 75GXP 60GB drive I had formatted on the G4's internal IDE bus. (I prefer running Apple drivers on FW disks, just for compatiblity reasons, especially with future OS versions.) This case kit was an early model that they no longer sell, so I can't say if the current drives are affected or not. Also the disk driver used may be a factor as well as the firmware and make of the bridge.

With the cover off the Oxford911 (AC powered) firewire drive case, when I put the system to sleep I could verify the drive spun down (I felt the drive to verify this). When the system was awaken it was still mounted and usable (OS X 10.1 had cached the root directory apparently, as opening a subfolder caused the drive to spin back up). I repeated this test more than half a dozen times without any problems.

As I was typing this, a reader sent a note he also has the problem with a travelstar drive (portable firewire case) but gave no details on the case bridge, etc. I've asked for those details

Post Your OS X 10.1 Firewire Drive Experiences:
If you have a problem with a drive mounting (after waking from sleep or just in general) - please post a drive database report with your system and drive details. Also note what drivers you're using and what was used to originally format the drive (a 3rd party utility/driver, or if the drive was formatted with a Mac's onboard IDE as I do for my case builds).

Apple notes this is a firmware issue with some Firewire drives, but I have not updated the firmware in the Oxford911 case since last spring. The VST 12GB drive has their latest firmware (v56) as far as I know, which was released earlier this year.
There's generally no firmware updaters for Mac firewire drives other than those offered for VST portable drives (at least that I have seen - that may have to change if this issue is common.)

What's interesting is that the Apple system Profiler reports the portable and AC powered cases have the same revision Oxford hardware. Here's two items of info the OS X Apple System Profiler report seen for both the bus powered/portable and AC powered Oxford 911 based drives. I don't know what the CUID means, but the 66691 unit version must be common for firewire drives, since my VST portable drive has the same number reported by OS X ASP.

  • CUID: 119296d
  • Unit Version: 66691 (common # reported w/all FW drives here)

It appears that Apple System Profiler cannot report firewire bridge firmware versions since I know the VST drive has v56, yet that number is not listed in the Apple system profiler report for the drive.

Perhaps the drive itself may be a factor and not just the bridge/firmware, but this is all speculation on my part.

What's odd is that now I cannot get the Oxford911 portable drive to mount in either OS 9 or OS X if the AC adapter is used. (Using Bus power does mount.) The drive checks ok (on bus power) by OS 9 and OS X's Disk First Aid and still mounts if running on Bus power, but I will not put the system to sleep with the drive mounted anymore.

As I noted in yesterday's OS X 10.1 performance tests article, the 60GB oxford911 drive mounts very fast on the desktop. Knock on wood I've seen no problems with it so far in 10.1. (I also verified the drive with 10.1's disk utility after several sleep/wake cycles to make sure there was no errors present on the volume.)

Updates/Reader Reports on FW drives w/OS X 10.1
[Note - this list does not include reports on the OWC and MacWay firmware updated drives - see update at top of page] Over the weekend several readers posted drive database entries noting problems with some drives in 10.1 Here's a summary list:

  • CalDrives 80GB used w/G4 Cube
    (Caldrives is listed in the database under "other brands")
  • Firewire Direct iMPT - 3500FRH 40GB used w/G4 Cube
    (noted mounting problems after OS X 10.1 update)
  • Maxtor 20GB in Oxford911 FW case used w/PowerBook G4
  • Maxtor DiamondMax60 40GB in Oxford911 case used w/B&W G3
    (noted severe problems in OS 9.2 and OS X)
  • Maxtor 45GB in FWdepot FW case used w/G4 AGP
    (Noted wake from sleep problems in OS X 10.1. Instead of rebooting after the error, he power cycled the drive/reconnected, which led to further problems corrupting the disk and OS x RAID volume)
  • OWC 60GB used w/Dual G4 (mounted in 10.0.4, not in 10.1)
  • IBM 60GXP 60GB in OWC 911 case used w/G4 AGP
    (noted fine in 10.0.4, won't mount in 10.1)
  • Toshiba 10GB in Oxford911 portable FW case used w/PB G3 2000
  • Toshiba 20GB in Fwdepot portable case used w/PB G4
    (worked with 10.0.4, will not mount in 10.1 he said.)
  • Que M2 10GB used w/G4 AGP
  • Que 24/10/40 in Oxford911 FW case used w/G4 AGP

A G4/AGP owner using a Maxtor 40GB in an ADS Pyro case noted no drive sleep issues in OS X 10.1. It's possible that future drives/case kits may have later firmware to address this issue, so if in doubt contact the case/drive vendor before buying. For those that had only the wake from sleep issue, the workaround of course is to unmout the drive before putting the system to sleep. (Some noted problems just mounting the drive however.)

As a FYI, a report in the database on 10/3 noted that an Ezquest Anaconda I-Z250 USB used w/G4 AGP not work with OS X 10.1, so it may be some USB drives also have 10.1 support problems. I'm not sure about the Iomega USB ZIP250 drive however.

Drive Mounting Tips: It may help if you wait until the OS has loaded before connecting Firewire drives (some noted problems if the drive was connected at powerup or boot).

Another tip from the 10/15/2001 news page here. Jamie Dresser of OWC sent this note/tip over the weekend that might be of some help to those that can't mount drives in OS X 10.1. (For some, plugging the drive in after OS X 10.1 boots may also help.)

" Hey-
Saw this tonight on the MRP - have not got a 911 based case at home to try this with...
    " Apple is aware of the problems some users are having mounting FireWire drives (specifically those using the Oxford 911 FireWire-to-IDE bridge) under Mac OS X 10.1; reader Lindsay Adams was able to get her IDE drive, housed in a FireWire Direct enclosure by

    ...firing up 10.1's Disk Utility; the drive and its two partitions showed up in the list of drives. When selecting a partition, the Information tab showed "Mount Point Not Found." Clicking on the First Aid tab, selecting the partition and running verify on the partition, showed no problems with the driveķupon going back to the Information tab in Disk Utility, it now said "Not Mounted." On reboot, my FireWire drive and its two partitions popped up on Desktop."

If this solves a problem you've had, let me know.

Other OS X Firewire Related TILs: Apple has another OS X 10.1 Firewire related tech note titled Mac OS X 10.1: Stops Responding During File Transfer Between FireWire Devices. They note large file transfers between two Firewire devices may hang, noting "this does not occur when Mac OS X is used with one FireWire data storage device at a time". The doc suggest contacting your FW device manufacturer for any firmware updates but also notes "A future release of Mac OS X may address this behavior".

Other OS X 10.1 Articles:

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