External Firewire Hard Drive Won't Boot -- Why?

Discussion in 'Apple' started by James L. Ryan, Jun 12, 2005.

  1. I have an external firewire hard drive that acts normal in all regards except
    that it will not boot. It can be read from and written to. I formatted it
    (HFS journaled) and then attempted to install Tiger. All went well until the
    restart was requested, and then things hung with the drive having a brief
    spin about once a minute. The drive passes the repair disk option of Disk
    Utility. Because the installation of Tiger wasn't completed it isn't
    considered to be hosting OS X and thus a permission repair via Disk Utility
    is not possible. The format and install of OS X has been tried several times
    and each time the results are identical with the disk failing to mount at the
    end of the install process. My other external firewire drive also hosts a
    system and boots without a problem.

    Any suggestions will be most appreciated.

    --
    James L. Ryan -- TaliesinSoft
     
    James L. Ryan, Jun 12, 2005
    #1
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  2. On Sun, 12 Jun 2005 16:26:40 -0500, James L. Ryan wrote
    (in article <>):

    Oops, in my immediately preceding posting in this thread I stated that the
    drive was HFS Journaled when I should have said Mac OS X Extended
    (journaled).


    --
    James L. Ryan -- TaliesinSoft
     
    James L. Ryan, Jun 12, 2005
    #2
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  3. James L. Ryan

    matt neuburg Guest

    matt neuburg, Jun 12, 2005
    #3
  4. On Sun, 12 Jun 2005 17:33:58 -0500, matt neuburg wrote
    (in article <1gy1uw6.8m10r4yau3j8N%>):

    > James L. Ryan <> wrote:
    >
    >> I have an external firewire hard drive that acts normal in all regards
    >> except
    >> that it will not boot.

    >
    > What kind is it? Not every external firewire drive is bootable; do the
    > specs claim that this one is? m.


    Matt,

    Many thanks for taking the time to try to figure this out!

    Below is the info stuff from Disk Utility. Maybe somewhere in that mish-mash
    is something revealing! And hopefully the info below won 't get wrapped into
    obscurity.

    Jim


    From Disk Utility Disk Info
    ========================================
    > Name : Prolific PL3507 Combo Device
    > Type : Disk
    >
    > Disk Identifier : disk1
    > Media Name : Maxtor 6 Y200P0 Media
    > Media Type : Generic
    > Connection Bus : FireWire
    > Connection Type : External
    > Connection ID : 22648902029167820
    > Partition Type : Apple_partition_scheme
    > Device Tree : fw/node@50770e70004ccc/sbp-2@4000/@0:0
    > Writable : Yes
    > Ejectable : Yes
    > Mac OS 9 Drivers Installed : Yes
    > Location : External
    > Total Capacity : 189.9 GB (203,927,060,480 Bytes)
    > S.M.A.R.T. Status : Not Supported
    > Disk Number : 1
    > Partition Number : 0

    ========================================



    From Disk Utility Volume Info
    ========================================
    > Name : Broca Senior
    > Type : Volume
    >
    > Disk Identifier : disk1s10
    > Mount Point : /Volumes/Broca Senior
    > File System : Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
    > Connection Bus : FireWire
    > Partition Type : Apple_HFS
    > Device Tree : fw/node@50770e70004ccc/sbp-2@4000/@0:10
    > Writable : Yes
    > Universal Unique Identifier : 0E83EC6C-6E65-3687-B7EF-CA9A44191B3A
    > Capacity : 189.8 GB (203,791,900,672 Bytes)
    > Free Space : 185.2 GB (198,864,982,016 Bytes)
    > Used : 4.6 GB (4,909,379,584 Bytes)
    > Number of Files : 222,803
    > Number of Folders : 62,199
    > Owners Enabled : No
    > Can Turn Owners Off : Yes
    > Can Be Formatted : Yes
    > Bootable : Yes
    > Supports Journaling : Yes
    > Journaled : Yes
    > S.M.A.R.T. Status : Not Supported
    > Disk Number : 1
    > Partition Number : 10

    ========================================

    --
    James L. Ryan -- TaliesinSoft
     
    James L. Ryan, Jun 13, 2005
    #4
  5. James L. Ryan

    matt neuburg Guest

    James L. Ryan <> wrote:

    > On Sun, 12 Jun 2005 17:33:58 -0500, matt neuburg wrote
    > (in article <1gy1uw6.8m10r4yau3j8N%>):
    >
    > > James L. Ryan <> wrote:
    > >
    > >> I have an external firewire hard drive that acts normal in all regards
    > >> except
    > >> that it will not boot.

    > >
    > > What kind is it? Not every external firewire drive is bootable; do the
    > > specs claim that this one is? m.

    >
    > Matt,
    >
    > Many thanks for taking the time to try to figure this out!
    >
    > Below is the info stuff from Disk Utility. Maybe somewhere in that mish-mash
    > is something revealing! And hopefully the info below won 't get wrapped into
    > obscurity.
    >
    > Jim
    >
    >
    > From Disk Utility Disk Info
    > ========================================
    > > Name : Prolific PL3507 Combo Device
    > > Type : Disk
    > >
    > > Disk Identifier : disk1
    > > Media Name : Maxtor 6 Y200P0 Media


    Okay, that should be bootable. Have you made sure you've installed the
    latest firmware updates?

    <http://maxtor.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/maxtor.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p
    _faqid=1649&p_created=1064003508>

    m.

    --
    matt neuburg, phd = , http://www.tidbits.com/matt/
    Tiger - http://www.takecontrolbooks.com/tiger-customizing.html
    AppleScript - http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596005571
    Read TidBITS! It's free and smart. http://www.tidbits.com
     
    matt neuburg, Jun 13, 2005
    #5
  6. On Sun, 12 Jun 2005 22:05:55 -0500, matt neuburg wrote
    (in article <1gy27l3.mq9v55ts2msaN%>):

    > James L. Ryan <> wrote:
    >
    >> On Sun, 12 Jun 2005 17:33:58 -0500, matt neuburg wrote
    >> (in article <1gy1uw6.8m10r4yau3j8N%>):
    >>
    >>> James L. Ryan <> wrote:
    >>>
    >>>> I have an external firewire hard drive that acts normal in all regards
    >>>> except
    >>>> that it will not boot.
    >>>
    >>> What kind is it? Not every external firewire drive is bootable; do the
    >>> specs claim that this one is? m.

    >>
    >> Matt,
    >>
    >> Many thanks for taking the time to try to figure this out!
    >>
    >> Below is the info stuff from Disk Utility. Maybe somewhere in that mish-mash
    >> is something revealing! And hopefully the info below won 't get wrapped into
    >> obscurity.
    >>
    >> Jim
    >>
    >>
    >> From Disk Utility Disk Info
    >> ========================================
    >>> Name : Prolific PL3507 Combo Device
    >>> Type : Disk
    >>>
    >>> Disk Identifier : disk1
    >>> Media Name : Maxtor 6 Y200P0 Media

    >
    > Okay, that should be bootable. Have you made sure you've installed the
    > latest firmware updates?
    >
    > <http://maxtor.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/maxtor.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p
    > _faqid=1649&p_created=1064003508>


    Matt,

    The drive is the Maxtor, but the controller chip is the Prolific PL3507. The
    drive itself worked fine when controlled by an Oxford chip. The change to the
    Prolific chip was made because the Oxford chip got fried when the drive was
    plugged into a friend's computer which had a faulty firewire port. Since my
    last posting I've done some googling and have found a number of postings
    suggesting that there is a compatibility problem with the Prolific chip. Do
    you know anything about this? And, will the Maxtor updater have any purpose
    when the controller is the Prolific chip?

    Again, many, many thanks!

    Jim




    --
    James L. Ryan -- TaliesinSoft
     
    James L. Ryan, Jun 13, 2005
    #6
  7. James L. Ryan

    matt neuburg Guest

    James L. Ryan <> wrote:

    > The drive is the Maxtor, but the controller chip is the Prolific PL3507. The
    > drive itself worked fine when controlled by an Oxford chip. The change to the
    > Prolific chip was made because the Oxford chip got fried when the drive was
    > plugged into a friend's computer which had a faulty firewire port. Since my
    > last posting I've done some googling and have found a number of postings
    > suggesting that there is a compatibility problem with the Prolific chip. Do
    > you know anything about this? And, will the Maxtor updater have any purpose
    > when the controller is the Prolific chip?


    We're out of my depth at this point. But my original point is the same:
    a drive is not bootable all by itself; it requires the right controller
    with the right firmware. Some controllers may never be compatible with
    booting Tiger. Some may be, but only with a firmware upgrade. (And some
    will work right out of the box.) This explains the difference between
    your results on different drives. m.

    --
    matt neuburg, phd = , http://www.tidbits.com/matt/
    Tiger - http://www.takecontrolbooks.com/tiger-customizing.html
    AppleScript - http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596005571
    Read TidBITS! It's free and smart. http://www.tidbits.com
     
    matt neuburg, Jun 13, 2005
    #7
  8. Matt,

    Many thanks again for taking the time to try to help but it looks like its
    time to bang one's head against the wall. Here is the exchange I had with
    Vantec, the makers of the enclosure into which the Maxtor disk was installed.
    It would have been nice if they had stated the limitation on the box before I
    wasted my $60.

    Jim

    ========================================

    James,
     
    Unfortunately, the chipset in the NST-350UF does not allow for booting from
    the enclosed drive.
     
    Regards,

    Vantec Thermal Technologies
    43951 Boscell Rd
    Fremont, CA 94538
    Tel: 510-668-0368
    Fax: 510-668-0367
     

    Note: Please include all prior correspondence when replying to this e-mail. 
    Failure to do so will delay responses.  Also, if you have a SPAM blocker,
    please place on your allowed list or you may not
    receive responses.


    -----Original Message-----
    From: James L. Ryan [mailto:]
    Sent: Sunday, June 12, 2005 7:17 PM
    To:
    Subject: Cannot Get Vantec NexStar Hosted Drive to Boot -- Mac OS X

    To Whom It May Concern,

    I recently purchased a Vantec NexStar NST-350UF drive enclosure into which I
    have installed a Maxtor 6 Y200P0 Media hard drive. The drive is connected via
    firewire to a Macintosh 17" PowerBook (latest model) which is running Mac OS
    X 10.4.1. The problem I am having is that I have been unsuccessful at being
    able to boot from this drive. I can read and write to the drive with no
    problem. When I attempt a boot the drive shows a few seconds of activity
    followed by a minute or two of inactivity and then the cycle repeats. What is
    it I need to do to get the drive to work properly?

    Sincerely,

    James L. Ryan


    ========================================


    --
    James L. Ryan -- TaliesinSoft
     
    James L. Ryan, Jun 13, 2005
    #8
  9. James L. Ryan

    matt neuburg Guest

    James L. Ryan <> wrote:

    > Matt,
    >
    > Many thanks again for taking the time to try to help but it looks like its
    > time to bang one's head against the wall. Here is the exchange I had with
    > Vantec, the makers of the enclosure into which the Maxtor disk was installed.
    > It would have been nice if they had stated the limitation on the box before I
    > wasted my $60.
    >
    > Jim
    >
    > ========================================
    >
    > James,
    >
    > Unfortunately, the chipset in the NST-350UF does not allow for booting from
    > the enclosed drive.


    I'm not sure what you mean by "try" - my initial guess was spot on
    (unfortunately). Remember, my very first reply was: "Not every external
    firewire drive is bootable; do the specs claim that this one is?" What I
    meant was: I bet the problem here is simply that this isn't a bootable
    drive. And that turns out to be true. It's one of those due diligence or
    caveat emptor things: you don't get a drive enclosure and just *expect*
    it to be bootable. m.

    --
    matt neuburg, phd = , http://www.tidbits.com/matt/
    Tiger - http://www.takecontrolbooks.com/tiger-customizing.html
    AppleScript - http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596005571
    Read TidBITS! It's free and smart. http://www.tidbits.com
     
    matt neuburg, Jun 13, 2005
    #9
  10. On Mon, 13 Jun 2005 15:36:49 -0500, matt neuburg wrote
    (in article <1gy3k82.17ra0aoij0kjoN%>):

    > I'm not sure what you mean by "try" - my initial guess was spot on
    > (unfortunately). Remember, my very first reply was: "Not every external
    > firewire drive is bootable; do the specs claim that this one is?" What I
    > meant was: I bet the problem here is simply that this isn't a bootable
    > drive. And that turns out to be true. It's one of those due diligence or
    > caveat emptor things: you don't get a drive enclosure and just *expect*
    > it to be bootable


    Matt,

    I was using "try" in a very broad sense -- after all, you did take the time
    to reply and to offer suggestions as to what might be done. As for the
    controller chip not able to boot, I'll take a somewhat defensive position in
    that the carton stated that it was "compatible with OS X" and that I
    specifically stated to the clerk at Fry's that I was intending to use the
    enclosure to house what would become the boot disk for a friend's TiBook
    which had an internal disk that had insufficient capacity.

    Jim

    --
    James L. Ryan -- TaliesinSoft
     
    James L. Ryan, Jun 13, 2005
    #10
  11. James L. Ryan

    Taryn Guest

    I'd trot that silly thing right back to Fry's with a copy of the email
    from the manufacturer. Try telling them (nicely) that the enclosure
    was misrepresented by their staff. Odds are good they'll forgo any
    restocking fees, or offer an exchange for a bootable enclosure.

    Considering that Firewire is just serial SCSI, and external SCSI
    devices were always bootable, it seems a reasonable assumption that
    external firewire would be too. Ah well, they're not really firewire
    drives, just IDE drives in drag.
     
    Taryn, Jun 14, 2005
    #11
  12. James L. Ryan

    Taryn Guest

    Gee Tacit, I only said it was a reasonable assumption, no need to get
    all huffy.

    One of the great things about SCSI Macs was the ease of external
    booting. It was something we all took for granted for 15 years. How sad
    that the first few Firewire Macs broke that assumption. My Son's G3
    iMac (tangerine slot load) boots from Firewire, was it only the first
    gen that couldn't?
     
    Taryn, Jun 14, 2005
    #12
  13. In article <>,
    Tacit <> wrote:

    > In article <>,
    > "Taryn" <> wrote:
    >
    > > I'd trot that silly thing right back to Fry's with a copy of the email
    > > from the manufacturer. Try telling them (nicely) that the enclosure
    > > was misrepresented by their staff. Odds are good they'll forgo any
    > > restocking fees, or offer an exchange for a bootable enclosure.
    > >
    > > Considering that Firewire is just serial SCSI, and external SCSI
    > > devices were always bootable, it seems a reasonable assumption that
    > > external firewire would be too. Ah well, they're not really firewire
    > > drives, just IDE drives in drag.

    >
    > All FireWire hard drives are IDE drives with a FireWire bridge board.
    > There is no such thing as a "pure" FireWire hard disk drive.
    >
    > Just because FireWire is based on the SCSI command set has nothing
    > whatsoever to do with whether or not it's bootable. A drive of any kind
    > whatsoever is bootable only if the ROM chips inside the computer know
    > how to talk to it and know how to boot from it. Macs prior to the
    > Sawtooth AGP, meaning all early (G3) iMacs, the first G4 systems, and
    > B&W G3 systems, can not boot from a FireWire drive--because their boot
    > ROMs can not talk to FireWire devices.


    I have this same problem. Many good post during the last week.
    The maufacturer of my HD has not replied, yet.

    It seems I have a Sawtooth, but for certain, how does one tell the
    difference between a Yikes and a Sawtooth?

    Michael
     
    G. Michael Paine, Jun 16, 2005
    #13
  14. James L. Ryan

    John Albert Guest

    Michael writes:
    << It seems I have a Sawtooth, but for certain, how does one tell the
    difference between a Yikes and a Sawtooth? >>

    So far as Firewire "bootability" goes, what counts is your "BootROM" version.

    To be Firewire-bootable, you need a BootROM version of "3.22f1" or later
    (higher number).

    You can ascertain this info through the Apple System Profiler.

    If the BootROM isn't high enough, you can't boot from Firewire using _any_ drive.

    - John
     
    John Albert, Jun 16, 2005
    #14
  15. In article <>,
    John Albert <> wrote:

    > Michael writes:
    > << It seems I have a Sawtooth, but for certain, how does one tell the
    > difference between a Yikes and a Sawtooth? >>
    >
    > So far as Firewire "bootability" goes, what counts is your "BootROM" version.
    >
    > To be Firewire-bootable, you need a BootROM version of "3.22f1" or later
    > (higher number).
    >
    > You can ascertain this info through the Apple System Profiler.
    >
    > If the BootROM isn't high enough, you can't boot from Firewire using _any_
    > drive.
    >
    > - John


    Mine shows Boot ROM Version 4.2.8f1. So i guess on that matter it should
    boot.

    Michael
     
    G. Michael Paine, Jun 16, 2005
    #15
  16. On Thu, 16 Jun 2005 00:09:28 -0500, John Albert wrote
    (in article <>):

    > So far as Firewire "bootability" goes, what counts is your "BootROM" version.
    >
    > To be Firewire-bootable, you need a BootROM version of "3.22f1" or later
    > (higher number).


    I have no problem booting from my external LaCie drive and had no problem
    booting from two different Maxtor drives. As I stated in my earlier postings
    in this thread I cannot boot from a Maxtor drive which is installed in a
    Vamtec Nexstar enclosure, and the manufacturer of that enclosure stated in an
    email to me that booting from that combination is not possible. My BootROM
    version is 4.9.1f1, which according to the above, if my interpretation is
    correct, should allow booting.

    --
    James L. Ryan -- TaliesinSoft
     
    James L. Ryan, Jun 16, 2005
    #16
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