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  • mick todbury Level 1 Level 1

    Since I posted here a while back, my internal drive crapped out and I've replaced it with a super-quick 120gb SSD. It occurred to me, as there's nothing to spin up with a solid state drive, there should be no delay if you use one as an external.


    Anyone ever try this? I'm using a faster-starting portable 2.5 500gb and suffering a lot less than I was with the WD 3.5 1tb I used before. With a small internal I'm seriously considering a $500 splurge on eSATA.

  • Matt E Level 1 Level 1

    This is a huge flaw in OS X.  Opening a web page shouldn't need to wake my external drives.


    I have an external Thunderbolt raid and this issue happens to me all day long.  It's unbearable. I've deselected the "Put drives to sleep when possible" box and the issue is gone.  I'll happily recheck that box if Apple ever fixes this ridiculous issue but for now I'm going to have to waist the energy that keeps those drives spinning all day and night.

  • brainfail Level 1 Level 1

    Yeah count me in as another person who finds this hugely annoying. It really is a big pause (seconds) and it happens pretty frequently though i've never been sufficiently bothered to try and search for a solution until now. Will try disabling spotlight but it sounds like there is still no solution.

  • SouthpawCyn Level 1 Level 1

    Me too!  This is the first time I've tried to research this annoying problem.  I have three external drives:  LaCie 1T on Firewire for Time Machine; 750G Maxtor One Touch, 1T Maxtor One Touch.  The 750G used to wake up quite frequently.  Now I can't get it to mount at all.  I've tried unplugging and replugging - even directly into the mac. Prior to this most recent issue, it was working fine through a 10 spot powered hub.  Maybe the 750G Maxtor is damaged from the frequent wakeups?  Another question - What is the best procedure for all units at night? Should they be ejected and shut off to cool down, or is it better to leave everything on, in sleep mode?  Advice please??

  • AstroMacMan Level 2 Level 2

    Ditto with you all!  The external hard drive simply shouldn't wake up UNTIL one seeks to access it-- i.e., in an open/save dialog box when the user switches to the drive-- or in the Finder, when one clicks on the external had drive icon.


    It is frustrating, dismaying, irritating, work-bogging-down ridiculous!


    I've noticed that there are other places as well in OSX where, even when the external hard drive isn't connected that the system seems to rummaging around before showing the files in a dialog box or before completing an action.  They're not due to Spotlight-- they're simply intrusive.  I'l post again what they are when they next occur.


    The two things togethers truly do slow down one's work flow!


    I guess we should be more patient and take it as a sign to look out the window, rest the eyes, and the brain, save that if one does that too well, one can forget what one was doing!! :-)

  • nendre Level 1 Level 1

    Same problem here. When i want to open a file with the Open With..command (Right click on a file) everything stops, the HDD is going to wake up, and  i'm going crazy.

  • todd675 Level 1 Level 1



    Here's an interesting one: I just upgraded from a 2006 MBP running 10.6.8, and I used a LaCie external over FW800 for Time Machine backups.  Funny thing is that the LaCie only turned on automatically if/when I plugged in Firewire with the MBP already up and running.  After plugging it in, I could turn off the drive with the power switch, and it would always stay off until I turned it on again manually.  It would not power up even when waking the computer up from sleep.


    I just upgraded to a mid-2010 iMac running ML, and I find that, with the same external drive always plugged into the FW800 port, it always turns on/powers up whenever I wake the computer up, which is not what my old MBP did running SL.  Strange to say the least.  I am wondering if it has something to do with a constant voltage on the FW port on the iMac (which is a desktop and always has power when plugged in) vs. a MBP FW800 port, which maybe doesn't always have voltage on the FW800 port just to save battery life?


    Anyway, it would be cool if FW/USB ports were configurable for power, that's my suspicion as to why all of this is happening.

  • todd675 Level 1 Level 1

    Well I just tried plugging in the same external hard drive via USB instead of Firewire, and problem solved for me: the hard drive does not auto-power on when waking the computer up from sleep.  I'm not concerned about the slower USB speed since the only purpose for the hard drive is backing up data off the internal.


    So it looks like it's just a FW thing.

  • AstroMacMan Level 2 Level 2

    Alas, I wish it were.  I'm using a Western Digital 1.5 TB drive-- USB connected--and it happens all the time.


    Plus, as I've mentioned, there are sometimes delays with an open/save dialog box-- even when there is no external drive connected.  There's something strange going on deep inside OS X--it's almost as if it's looking to see if there is a drive.


    It is irritating.

  • Niklas Luhmann Level 1 Level 1

    I have the same issue. I have 4 external hard drives, all FW 800, and it slows everything down because even on apps that access only local data, or operations that don't involve the hard drives at all, it still seems to need to load all 4 drives and check them everytime I do even the smallest operation. It seems to me that the OS could handle these drives much more efficiently if Apple wished to do so...

  • scottwilleke Level 1 Level 1

    Yep, I'm suffering too with an external 3TB USB WD My Book 1140 Media drive. Occasionally, often when browsing a web page my system freezes (no scrolling, no nothing) and I hear that drive spinning up. Would love to have a solution. I'm on OS X 10.8.2 on a 2.3 GHz mac mini.

  • innergalactic Level 1 Level 1
    Mac OS X

    Same here!


    2008 MBP 10.6.8, with a variety of external drives. Happens many times throughout the day, wasting time and disrupting creative flow.

  • mandoskier Level 1 Level 1

    Me too!


    I've noticed this problem ever since getting my new 2011 iMac and 2 TB G-Drive (for Time Machine back-ups). My system doesn't slow down because of it but I know it's taking a toll on the external drive.


    This never happened with my good ol' iMac G4 and LaCie external drive.


    Count me in as being very disappointed in Apple ignoring this obvious bug.

  • Super-H Level 1 Level 1

    This is annoying.


    Fortunately, you can control it.  Turn off Spotlight for the drive, and remove Spotlight references.  See this link and see if it helps you all: unnecessarily-on-os-x-lion/


    Careful with the rm command, of course.  References to "externalDrive" should be replaced with your volume name.  Start reading from "Ah ha"; the process above it explains the technical detail which you may or may not be interested in.


    This should work for 90% of you.  I say 90% because you never can confirm that it'll work 100% of the time!


    It worked for me.

  • Niklas Luhmann Level 1 Level 1

    Thanks for this tip. I haven't tried it yet, but I followed the link, which led back to a thread on Stack Exchange. In that thread, someone suggested what looks like a simpler solution:



    Another way to deal with (just the) spotlight files, is to add that volume to your Spotlight exclude list. Plug the device in, and go to the Spotlight prefpane in System Preferences. Select the Privacy tab. Now drag that volume from your desktop up into the privacy list.. or use the + button at the bottom to add it. No more spotlight indexing will happen on that volume.


    Link: light-and-trash-files-to-memory-cards-and-usb/7135#comment7073_6716

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