2256 Views 2 Replies Latest reply: Oct 29, 2010 7:11 PM by Follower
Is this a new Aluminum Mini?
Is everything running on a UPS, so that you can rule out power issues?
The white streaks on the screen suggest a RAM issue to me. Has the factory RAM been upgraded to something else?
What brand of external drive is being used for Time Machine? (There are several critics of WD bookshelf drives in this forum.)
Does the drive use usb power or have its own supply?
Is a USB hub being used?
I would be extra careful to check the quality of any usb cables or usb extension cords being used. I have had Mini weirdness clear up just by swapping usb cords.
(Probably worth visiting monoprice.com and ordering up a complete set of good usb cables for troubleshooting in all shapes and lengths. Would set you back about as much as buying one or two usb cables at an office store.)
I've observed that Time Machine doesn't behave very well if drives spin down. You might check to be sure the external is spinning up in time.
Have you considered running tests in your own workplace?
Was there a change in hardware or software configuration in early October, when this trouble started?
Thank you, Boece, for your thoughtful comments and suggestions.
Briefly, yes it's a new aluminum mini with only Apple installed RAM without a UPS. The backup drive is a Seagate 3.5" in a generic, powered, enclosure with both USB2 and Firewire capabilities. The enclosure does not allow the drive to spin down. A hub is used, but only to connect a printer and, very occasionally a digital camera. Hadn't thought about USB cables, but might give that a shot. The client also uses a USB-based wireless keyboard and mouse. As for changes coinciding with the onset of the problems, nothing other than whatever Snow Leopard updates there were at the time.
After creating this morning's original post, I took a cable to the client's house and attached the external drive using firewire. I also detached the wireless keyboard and mouse's USB transmitter, substituting just a regular Apple keyboard and mouse. After a re-boot I ran the Time Machine backup without any signs of freezing, and I got report tonight saying that the computer is back running without issues and that Time Machine has worked without any glitches.
While I'm not at all confident that the problems have gone away, it does seem to point to a USB-related issue, but whether that's at the board level or at the cable/device level is yet to be determined.