3 Replies Latest reply: Apr 28, 2008 10:29 PM by Mike Boreham
Mike Boreham Level 4 Level 4 (2,095 points)
Over the last month or two I have noticed that Disk Utility hangs about 30% of occasions I launch it. I get the spinning rainbow with "searching for disk info". Activity Monitor shows it hung. Force quit won't stop it, but eventually ctrlcmdeject restarts the machine without having to resort to the power button.

Today this happened again, and I looked in the Console and saw that for at least forty minutes before I launched DU I was getting the message "IOATAController device blocking bus" every second or so.

After the restart this message has not appeared again.

I suspect (but at present only have this one event documented) that the previous times DU has hung, the "IOATAController device blocking bus" state also existed.

Googling "IOATAController device blocking bus" doesn't reveal anything very definitive, but impending hard drive failure is mentioned a lot, but usually in conjunction with other problems which I am not seeing.

I have Smartreporter running but it has not reported any problems.

I have four internal 1 Tb drives, and a Sonnet E4P card with four more drives connected, but these are only powered on to make back ups, and weren't on during this mornings hang.

I have not noticed any other problems, and Disk Utility reports no errors.

If it is impending HD failure, I can't see any indication of which drive.

I have at least three copies of everything so I am well protected against data loss but would like to sort this issue out.

Thanks for any help.


Message was edited by: Mike Boreham

Message was edited by: Mike Boreham

Mac Pro 2.66, 8 Gb RAM, HD2600 card. MacBook Pro CD 1.83, 2Gb RAM, 250 Gb HD, Mac OS X (10.5.2), 30"+23" ACDs, Sonnet eSATA, LG Blu-Ray+112D. XP Parallels and Vista Boot Camp
  • Mike Boreham Level 4 Level 4 (2,095 points)
    Just discovered that this problem only occurs after waking from sleep. 100% repeatable. happens with two different user accounts.

    If I put the machine to sleep, even for a very short time, as soon as it wakes up the "IOATAController device blocking bus" message starts every few seconds.

    Restarting stops it. Logging out and back in does not.

    I only put the machine to sleep overnight, but at least for now I will shut down overnight instead.

    I also noticed that Time machine ran correctly, reporting all the back up info even while the "IOATAController device blocking bus" was filling the console. My Time machine set up involves three of the four HDs. Do you think this implies the fourth one might be causing the message?

    Hope this extra bit of info may help someone point to a solution?
  • Mr Alexander Level 1 Level 1 (45 points)
    You might try running the Apple Hardware Test program (found on the DVD that came with the system when you bought it.) Diskwarrior (Alsoft) can check the drive logs on the drives themselves. I don't have much confidence that any of this will work, but it might.

    The only ATA device on your system is the CD/DVD drive(s). The HD are SATA. Can you assume the message is referring to an ATA device and not a SATA device? Not always, error messages are not always exact. But you should start by disconnecting any DVD drives you have and see if the error persists. This may very well be the problem if you have a second DVD/CD installed that is not an Apple product. Apple does not always play nice with other vendors. You should check the cabling for the drive also. Ribbon cable connectors can be a problem when someone has pulled on the cable to disconnect it and loosened the connector crimping. You can look down the cable at the connector and if you see light next to the cable where the connector should be snug to the cable, it has been pulled too hard and may not be making a good connection.

    The next, easiest step is to remove the Sonnet card and see if the problem persists.

    Removing one device and testing, repalce the device and remove the next may uncover the culprit but not tell you why.
  • Mike Boreham Level 4 Level 4 (2,095 points)
    Thank you very much Mr Alexander!

    The problem was the Pioneer 112D.

    When I installed the LG Blu Ray burner recently (in the upper bay, SATA to the motherboard) the only way I could get the eject button to work the LG and the option+eject to work the lower, was to connect the 112D to the ATA socket intended for the lower bay, ie NOT the one at the end of the ribbon. Jumper was on CS.

    This was the problem.

    When I connect the 112D to the end of the ribbon with the jumper on master, all is well...no IOATA error messages after sleep.

    Means I have to have the LG in the lower and 112D in the upper for the eject buttons to be correct, but a small price to pay for fixing it.

    Thanks again