News Archive for Monday, September 9th, 2013       Go to Current News Page

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Recap of Some Drive Troubleshooting Tips and Firmware Updates:
(from recent mail/posts, although some are not new issues.)

  • External/USB HDs disconnecting/sleeping (despite OS X Energy Saver settings) - check to see if there's a firmware update for your specific drive brand/model at the mfr's website/support site. Here's a WD Firmware update for Mac users (, from June 2013) for example that mentions fixing disconnect and usb 3.0 problems.
    (Update: Here's a link to a Western Digital Firmware update for My Book Live to "Resolve compatibility issue with Time Machine in OS X Mavericks 10.9.x" on Oct. 7th, 2013.)
      And one from Seagate: Firmware update for Seagate Backup Plus & Seagate Slim USB 3.0 in MacOS. Often firmware updaters are for windows users but sometimes there's a bootable iso updater. (BTW: Personally I'd avoid installing software/utils included with many 'brand name' external drives, which could have compatibility issues (sooner or later). If you've already done that, try removing it. Check installer for removal option or consult mfr support if need be.)
       This issue (ext. drive sleep/disconnect problems) also reminded me of an ASMedia ASM1053E (USB 3.0/SATA Bridge) firmware update back in April (IIRC) for a USB 3.0 HD dock I got for xmas. (Chipset also used in other cases I'm sure.) The update was to add support for drive spin down in (system) sleep and drive spindown after 10 min of inactivity, as well as support for 512e "Advanced Format" >2TB drives. (I didn't apply it because the dock was only used for cloning drives and it had worked very well for that. (Wish it had an eject button though.) Zero issues with hours of file xfers at a time and I didn't care about sleep support. The original firmware was noted as "avoiding drive sleep and spin down".)

       Years ago some used a keepalive script to periodically access a drive (including internal optical drives) but I've never used those scripts. (Old notes here on Hdapm tweaks for internal drives and an old article (2010) on using WDidle3 to disable idle timeout/Head Parking on WD green HDs.)

  • Western Digital SATA3 (6Gb) Hard Drive not recognized in a PowerMac G5. PM G5s have an early SATA interface and some modern drives that are SATA3 (including some WD) don't sync to the slower interface automatically. See WD SATA3 Drive Jumper Tips for G5 Macs to force SATA I mode.

  • Complaints of very slow 2012 Mini iPhoto performance with external HD for Library storage. User mentioned iPhoto Library was stored on a USB 3.0 external NTFS formatted HD. (If actually NTFS format assume he's using a 3rd party addon for write support or enabled it via a tweak noted in some forums.) I'd use Mac OS X Extended format instead. (Apple recommends Mac OS X format for best performance. I'd also prefer an internal drive if possible.)

    Also a reminder to owners of Lacie external drives (Lacie cased, they do not make drives inside of course). Check Lacie support for any firmware updates for the case (bridge board). (One example for Lacie D2 Quadra update in Nov 2012 news reportedly added support for >3TB HDs. Before update a reader said his D2 Quadra saw a 3TB drive as only 800GB.)

    Not drive related but one of the most frequent recent problems - Epson Printer Errors.
    Still seeing posts on this problem (rastertoescpll quit or filter failure after v2.15 update) although the Tip has been posted many times - Check your (Apple Menu) System Preferences->Sharing pref pane to make sure there's a Computer Name (not blank).
    (Update: On 9/11/2013 Apple posted an Epson v2.15.1 update. No info on chgs yet but if you're not having problems now, I'd not update. This will make the 3rd 'update' I've skipped as my current setup is OK.)

    (For general apple Tips/Guides/FAQs for new mac users (or for ref adapters/display/audio info), I've posted a page of Apple Guides and How-To articles organized by topics.)

  • Apple Support/How-To/Troubleshooting Article Updates:

    Recent Articles/Tips/Tweaks/Reviews:
    Listing/links of updates, mod/upgrade articles, tips and reviews you may have missed. (Low-Cost CPU Upgrades for early Mac Pros/Xserves and Minis, OS X SSD Trim Enablers, Internal Mini-PCIe Card Mods, Mac Mini SSD upgrades, DIY OS X Fusion drives, Tips, Mods and more.)

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    Previous News Archive Summary:
      Friday Sept. 6th, 2013 News Archive
    • Freeware VM VirtualBox 4.2.18 (includes fix for OS X)
    • 2012 Mini BT Mouse/Kbd glitchy or not working when USB 3.0 HDD plugged in
      (More posts on USB3 interference. Workaround this time was USB extension cable)
    • Apple preps OS X Maverick release for October, Mac Pro imminent
    • Microsoft 'untethers' OneNote updates for iOS from Windows PCs
    • 'Call of Duty: Strike Team' Review (iOS)
    • Apple Support/How-To/Troubleshooting Article Updates:
      - About the security content of AirPort Base Station FW Update 7.6.4
      - iOS product security: Validations and guidance
      - iTunes Store: About authorization and deauthorization
      - Logic Pro X: Troubleshooting basics
      - Logic Pro X: Reindex to fix issues with Apple Loops
      - Logic Pro 9: Help topics may not open
      - Logic Pro 9 and Logic Express 9: Rebuilding the Loop Index
      - Logic Pro/Express/MainStage: Disable or remove Audio Unit plug-ins to troubleshoot issues

    For links to older news pages, see the Archives.

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