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  1. #1

    Member Since
    Jul 19, 2010
    Problem with external drives

    I am running Snow Leopard (10.6.4) on a Mac Mini and I am having problems with external drives.

    I have a number of external drives (USB and Firewire) connected. The computer will turn off the drives if I'm not using them (put them to sleep I guess).

    My problem is that the computer is starting the drives when it shouldn't be. Here are two examples:

    • I open Firefox and save a picture. The save as dialog box opens and it opens in the same directory I saved a picture in last time (external drive nr. 1). However, the computer starts ALL of the external drives before I can do anything.

    • The trash is empty and I delete stuff of external drive nr. 2. I then immediately empty the trash. However, before the computer empties the trash it starts ALL of the external drives.

    Is there any way to turn of this tendency to start ALL my external drives when it is not necessary?

    Best regards,

  2. #2

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Keller, Texas
    2017 27" iMac, 10.5" iPad Pro, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 7+, Numerous iPods, High Sierra
    Not that I know of. As long as the drives are connected, the system will "look" at all of them when doing any kind of file maintenance. The only way to avoid that is to eject those drives not in use.

    Is it necessary to keep all your drives attached rather than mount them as needed and eject when no longer needed?


  3. #3
    chscag is correct. Turning off the "put hard drives to sleep" will help alleviate the issue. Drives that are not in use should be dismounted and powered down.

  4. #4

    Member Since
    Jul 19, 2010

    The problem is I am using all of my external drives. So, I can't power them off (physically). I do not store any information on the Mac Mini itself (simply don't have enough room).

    I just don't understand why the computer is powering on a drive that I'm not even trying to access (e.g. when I right click on the desktop and change the wallpaper, the preferences window opens and it opens my wallpaper folder, but it still powers up the other drives, and I'm not even trying to access them).

    Also, it doesn't always power up the other drives. It seems to be rather random.

    - Eggert

  5. #5
    Firewire drives are daisy chained, so when you poll one they all have to power up.

    USB drives are probably on a hub, and essentially the same problem occurs: if the connection goes to sleep, everything on that connection has to be woken up.

    Solution: buy a larger hard drive(s), consolidate your stuff, and turn off the energy saver setting I mentioned.

  6. #6

    Member Since
    Jul 19, 2010
    There is only one firewire drive. Connected to that is my iPod, but it (the iPod that is) never powers up unless I directly access it.

    Some of the USB drives are on a hub, others are not.

    The computer still powers up those USB drives that are not connected to the hub, even though I am not trying to access them.

    And it appears very random. Sometimes accessing one drive (not connected to the USB hub) will power up the other USB drives (that are not connected to the hub), and sometimes it doesn't.

    The reason I set the computer to power off the drives if I'm not using them is simply to save power and I thought that it is better for the drives to not be constantly powered on.

    - Eggert

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