i've been wondering the same. this has to be a bug. i've been researching this issue and not one person has a definite answer on whether this is a fixable problem. i think it's possible to fix simply because it seems feasible that a drive spinning up doesn't have to hang the whole system for several seconds. some windows programs run on pc's are affected by this too. the computer is putting priority on spinning up rather than being responsive.
I have a WD My Book 1TB it does the same very annoying! it seem to be no reason for the drives to do this sometimes when i hover over a dock item it wakes up and stalls the system till its awake, so annoying, just had my 27' imac swapped out at Apple store for a screen issue and it does it on the new machine as well!!
The swirling ball of painful waiting didn't happen when I originally set up an external IOMEGA USB drive for Time Machine.
There was a update over a year ago that caused this to start happening. All upgrades since have continued to have this ill-mannered behavior.
It's probably my #1 annoyance with OSX. (frequency of software updates that require a reboot might be a tie for #1)
When Time Machine fires off it doesn't happen.
I don't think you can change the behavior because it's not feasible for the system to guess when you'll need the drive available and when you won't. There might be SOME circumstances when you can be sure, but not in every case. For example: A dialog box comes up asking me where I want to store something. The system has no way to know that you'll NEVER want to store it on the sleeping disk, so it has to make the resource available (and refresh the system cache).
I understand this is an old thread, but it still needs a solution. I think it's poor design to wake everything "just in case" the system might need it. It would be better to open the dialog box immediately then, if and only if a sleeping drive is selected, it can wake up that drive.
It's like waking up your entire household because you need aspirin in the middle of the night. You wouldn't do that. You'd look for it yourself (you're the awake drive) or maybe wake your spouse to help you find it (secondary drive). But you wouldn't wake your children or keep them awake all night "just in case".
This is very strange. I have 2 drives connected to my iMac via Firewire - WD 1TB MyBook and a LaCie 2TB RAID. I must say I've never experienced any slowdowns in any processes due to my drives being asleep. Maybe my drives don't sleep? I know I didn't configure them at all for any special running. I just plugged them in, partitioned them, and used them. The MyBook has a partition for Time Machine, and the LaCie has several partitions for complete backups via SuperDuper! and my Final Cut Studio work files.
I wish I had a solution to your problem, but I don't experience it. Maybe it's a USB vs. Firewire situation?
YES! I just want the drive to be off as well. Although there are many quasi soutions to keep the drive from mounting, I still hear it spin up everytime the mac wakes from sleep even though i dont need the drive. HOW CAN A SECONDARY DRIVE BE SPUN DOWN SO THAT ONLY PURPOSEFUL USER INTERACTION AWAKENS IT?
I have the same issue. I have two external drives linked via firewire and they seem to be searched/spun up when I view graphicly intensive websites as opposed to normal Office use. One of the drives is used for my iPhoto datatbase and the other is used for Time Machine. The drive used for iPhoto is my number one offender in this issue. I have started to eschew Safari in favor of other browsers and have not seen the problem reoccur. I'd be interested to see if anyone has found limited solutions to the issue other than physically unplugging the drives? Any insight would be helpful.
I also have this problem. I have two drives attached via USB, and they will both spin up and hang the system when doing things like opening a save dialog or right-clicking. It is very irritating to have to wait for 5-10 seconds to do a simple thing like right click or save a file. I do not believe this is necessary behavior. If I want to save a file, it makes more sense to spin up the drive only if I actually click on it to save, just like in the Finder the drive only spins up if I open it to browse the files.
The right click behavior is related to a separate problem -- the right-click "open with" dialog often contains applications from backups on external hard drives. This is very undesirable behavior because there is often no way to distinguish between the app on my boot drive and the app on the backup drive, leading to opening the app on the external.
I have seen many threads about this spin up behavior, but never a solution or response. Many people suggest unchecking "put hard drives to sleep" but this option only applies to internal drives. Turning off external drives is not a solution either because there are use cases where the spin up is a problem but you have files on the external drive open in a different program.
I also had problems with Mac OSX waking up my external hard drive (Western Digital Essential USB 2.0/3.0). The external hard drive went to sleep after 10 minutes (its setting, so normal) but every 6-7 minutes OSX wakes it up (and I'm not doing anything to it). This is a _*BIG PROBLEM*_ if you use the external hard drive to do automatically backups by itself during the day. During a full day there was tremendous friction on the external hard drive which clearly shortens its life!
*Apple has had this problem for years but COMPLETELY IGNORES IT! VERY BAD STYLE APPLE!*
*After I tried different things, I concluded that it's NOT the external drives fault, but it is COMPLETELY APPLE OSX FAULT!*
_Ugly hack/ugly solution:_
You can NOT format an entire external hard drive to Mac OS (extended journal, etc.). To solve the problem in an ugly way (because Apple does not give a sh*t about the problem and doesn't care to resolve it and release an update), you must have one partition as FAT32 or exFAT on the external harddrive. If you do this the OSX will not interfere with the external hard drive.
I have also set Spotlight to ignore the external hard drive but that did not help solely you ALSO have to have a FAT32 or ExFat partition too!
Apple can contact me to say thank you and give me a reward for doing their job!
I've had this problem on and off during the Snow Leopard update cycle. The only solution for me which actually worked flawlessly was to completely disable Spotlight using Spotless: http://www.fixamacsoftware.com/software/index.html
Hope this helps you guys out!
I will have to wait for Spotless to be updated for Lion as the problem still exists.
I also have the issue (SL 10.6.8). I have an external drive to handle TimeMachine and every time I select "Open with" from the contextual menu it wakes it up. It's quite annoying! It seems disabling Spotlight solves the problem, but OS X ... without Spotlight, who wants that?
Please, can't be so difficult to control this! If I don't have ANY application installed in the external, just don't wake it up when choosing an App to open a file!
For what it's worth, I have this same issue. I have 3 WD external hard drives. Even opening Safari, browsing web pages, etc.. will cause all 3 drives to spin up. Turning off the energy saver only seems to affect the internal drives. Turning off spotlight does nothing, either. I've not seen a fix anywhere for this. Quite disappointing.
Cold comfort to know that others are suffering this aggravation. I have 6 external FW drives, and it is beyond frustrating to have to wait on them to spin up every time I _________ (insert trivial tasks mentioned above).
Perhaps if we keep this thread alive, someday, maybe, Apple will respond with a solution.