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mikebore 08-06-2009 12:03 PM

Very strange problem re Lacie external not boot FW but OK USB.
I have a Lacie external portable USB/FW drive which has a "Utilities" OS partition on it. I use SD to clone this volume to the Lacie from an internal "Utilities" partition.

This works fine for months on end, with the Lacie able to boot either my MBP or my Mac Pro fine either USB or FW.

Then out of the blue it stops booting the Mac Pro by FW. Just stops at the grey apple. It will still boot the MP by USB, and it will still boot the MBP by FW or USB, just not the MP by FW.

I have troubleshot the clone at this point extensively, including Diskwarrior, permissions, caches, PRAM, SMC etc etc. Even an erase-then-SD doesn't solve it.

I discovered that if I force a Lacie firmware update (to the same version) at this point the problem is solved, enabling it to boot for another few months until the next time.

Thinking this indicated a problem with the HD I sent it to Lacie who could find nothing wrong.

More recently I have discovered an alternative to the firmware fix. If re-run the clone process (smart update not erase) using Chronosync or Carbon Copy Cloner, it will boot the MP by FW again.

So now I think there is something very subtle about SD compared to CCC and Chronosync causing this intermittent behaviour.

Any comment or suggestions? I like SD best and would like not to have to use the others when the problem happens.


dnanian 08-06-2009 02:14 PM

I don't think so, Mike: the boot process via FW and USB is the same from a files-on-the-drive perspective, and CCC is blessing the drive the same way.

On top of that, changing the firmware wouldn't make a difference to the files on the drive, either.

Sounds to me like the drive might have a slightly flaky FireWire implementation -- or there are timing issues involved -- and you're find a correlation that isn't really reliable... but what's wrong there is hard to say. Maybe booting 'verbose' will tell you what's really going on (if software)?

sjk 08-06-2009 04:35 PM

About LaCie drives, someone recently posted an unusual (to me) support comment on Elgato's EyeTV Lounge Forum:

Our units are made just for storage, to keep data and backing up. People can use it to do data dumping, but there are variables that can cause issues with such actions. We can only recommend wiping the drive and seeing if normal function comes back if issues show up when doing data dumping.

Maybe you guys know what the heck that LaCie Support guy means by "data dumping" and whether it might apply to SuperDuper! (as my response was questioning)?

dnanian 08-06-2009 05:19 PM

Wow, I have absolutely no idea.

sjk 08-06-2009 06:39 PM

It's definitely uncommon drive jargon to me. I wondered if he might mean LaCie's aren't Enterprise disk drives, but surely most EyeTV usage isn't with those.

Anyway, Mike's issue made me think of those LaCie support comments even if there's zero correlation.

mikebore 08-06-2009 07:03 PM

Thanks for the inputs everyone.

I wasn't too optimistic there would be a resolution. I feel it must be a flukey combination of unusual factors involving the drive, the software, and my Mac Pro, which will be impossible to pin down. Remember throughout it all (over year now) it has always been able to boot my MacBook Pro by FW (or USB).

I will try verbose next time it happens.

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