Using External HD as Primary Drive

Discussion in 'Apple' started by Ymir, May 25, 2012.

  1. Ymir

    Ymir Guest

    Hi all,

    My internal hard drive is behaving erratically and I suspect it may fail
    soon. Unfortunately, I can't afford to replace my mac at this time and
    don't trust myself enough to try and open up an iMac to replace the
    drive.

    I'm currently booting off an external drive but was wondering whether it
    may cause problems to use an external drive as one's main drive. I
    realise that firewire will be slightly slower than SATA, but what I'm
    really wondering is whether the drive mechanisms inside external drives
    (which I'd assume most people use primarily for backup/auxiliary drives)
    are designed for the same levels of continuous use as internal drives
    are.

    Sorry if this is a dumb question.

    André
    Ymir, May 25, 2012
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. In article <agisaak.spamblock-6DBE90.08082825052012@shawnews>,
    Ymir <> wrote:
    >Hi all,
    >
    >My internal hard drive is behaving erratically and I suspect it may fail
    >soon. Unfortunately, I can't afford to replace my mac at this time and
    >don't trust myself enough to try and open up an iMac to replace the
    >drive.
    >
    >I'm currently booting off an external drive but was wondering whether it
    >may cause problems to use an external drive as one's main drive. I
    >realise that firewire will be slightly slower than SATA, but what I'm
    >really wondering is whether the drive mechanisms inside external drives
    >(which I'd assume most people use primarily for backup/auxiliary drives)
    >are designed for the same levels of continuous use as internal drives
    >are.


    I've been running an iMac like this for almost a year.

    I keep meaning to replace the internal drive but haven't got to it...

    It's a bit of a PITA to do in the iMac and I don't have the right
    torx screwdrivers and don't really want to buy them...

    I'm probably going to pay someone to swap in a working drive, soon..

    Overall, it seems a bit slower, and backing up/cloning can be glacial
    from the FW to a USB drive but I usually kick that off before
    I go to sleep...

    Other than that, no insurmountable issues.
    Claude V. Lucas, May 25, 2012
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Ymir

    Salmon Egg Guest

    In article <agisaak.spamblock-6DBE90.08082825052012@shawnews>,
    Ymir <> wrote:

    > Hi all,
    >
    > My internal hard drive is behaving erratically and I suspect it may fail
    > soon. Unfortunately, I can't afford to replace my mac at this time and
    > don't trust myself enough to try and open up an iMac to replace the
    > drive.
    >
    > I'm currently booting off an external drive but was wondering whether it
    > may cause problems to use an external drive as one's main drive. I
    > realise that firewire will be slightly slower than SATA, but what I'm
    > really wondering is whether the drive mechanisms inside external drives
    > (which I'd assume most people use primarily for backup/auxiliary drives)
    > are designed for the same levels of continuous use as internal drives
    > are.
    >
    > Sorry if this is a dumb question.
    >
    > André


    I don't have personal knowledge of iMacs. I have had a few Macs over the
    years. If opening up is feasible, replacing the drive should be
    relatively easy. On my Mac Pro, it is amazingly easy. You take out the
    drive carrier, remove the old drive, fasten the new drive onto the
    carrier, push it in place, and close everything up.

    Even on older Macs, where there was no simple drive carrier, it just
    required the additional effort of removing and replacing the power and
    data cables. What does your instruction book say. If you lost it, it is
    likely you can download it from Apple.

    --

    Sam

    Conservatives are against Darwinism but for natural selection.
    Liberals are for Darwinism but totally against any selection.
    Salmon Egg, May 25, 2012
    #3
  4. Ymir

    Ymir Guest

    In article <>,
    Salmon Egg <> wrote:

    > In article <agisaak.spamblock-6DBE90.08082825052012@shawnews>,
    > Ymir <> wrote:
    >
    > > Hi all,
    > >
    > > My internal hard drive is behaving erratically and I suspect it may fail
    > > soon. Unfortunately, I can't afford to replace my mac at this time and
    > > don't trust myself enough to try and open up an iMac to replace the
    > > drive.
    > >
    > > I'm currently booting off an external drive but was wondering whether it
    > > may cause problems to use an external drive as one's main drive. I
    > > realise that firewire will be slightly slower than SATA, but what I'm
    > > really wondering is whether the drive mechanisms inside external drives
    > > (which I'd assume most people use primarily for backup/auxiliary drives)
    > > are designed for the same levels of continuous use as internal drives
    > > are.
    > >
    > > Sorry if this is a dumb question.
    > >
    > > André

    >
    > I don't have personal knowledge of iMacs. I have had a few Macs over the
    > years. If opening up is feasible, replacing the drive should be
    > relatively easy. On my Mac Pro, it is amazingly easy. You take out the
    > drive carrier, remove the old drive, fasten the new drive onto the
    > carrier, push it in place, and close everything up.


    Replacing the drive isn't what worries me. It's opening/reassembling the
    case since it requires special tools, and I know that most of the
    components are wrapped in an EM shielding bag which is apparently easy
    to damage while trying to remove/replace. Since I'm not in the position
    to replace the mac at this point (even though it's really overdo), I'm
    reluctant to risk it.

    André
    Ymir, May 25, 2012
    #4
  5. Ymir

    Paul Sture Guest

    On Fri, 25 May 2012 08:08:28 -0600, Ymir wrote:

    > Hi all,
    >
    > My internal hard drive is behaving erratically and I suspect it may fail
    > soon. Unfortunately, I can't afford to replace my mac at this time and
    > don't trust myself enough to try and open up an iMac to replace the
    > drive.
    >
    > I'm currently booting off an external drive but was wondering whether it
    > may cause problems to use an external drive as one's main drive. I
    > realise that firewire will be slightly slower than SATA, but what I'm
    > really wondering is whether the drive mechanisms inside external drives
    > (which I'd assume most people use primarily for backup/auxiliary drives)
    > are designed for the same levels of continuous use as internal drives
    > are.
    >
    > Sorry if this is a dumb question.
    >


    Not a dumb question at all. I did this for several years after the
    internal disk on my 2002 vintage iBook died. I took a look at the
    instructions for replacing the disk on ifixit.com and promptly decided I
    didn't want to try it myself. A second external Firewire drive was
    definitely cheaper than paying someone else to install a new disk, and
    with that vintage of system was probably faster anyway.

    I ended up with a pair of 70GB external Firewire drives plus a 500 GB
    disk attached to that system (the original internal disk was only 20 GB).
    I would periodically clone one 70 GB disk to the other so that I always
    had a reasonably up to date bootable disk even if the first one failed,
    plus Time Machine backups and other stuff on the 500 GB disk.

    --
    Paul Sture
    Paul Sture, May 25, 2012
    #5
  6. Ymir

    Ymir Guest

    In article <jpo4ud$p1c$>,
    (Claude V. Lucas) wrote:

    > In article <agisaak.spamblock-6DBE90.08082825052012@shawnews>,
    > Ymir <> wrote:
    > >Hi all,
    > >
    > >My internal hard drive is behaving erratically and I suspect it may fail
    > >soon. Unfortunately, I can't afford to replace my mac at this time and
    > >don't trust myself enough to try and open up an iMac to replace the
    > >drive.
    > >
    > >I'm currently booting off an external drive but was wondering whether it
    > >may cause problems to use an external drive as one's main drive. I
    > >realise that firewire will be slightly slower than SATA, but what I'm
    > >really wondering is whether the drive mechanisms inside external drives
    > >(which I'd assume most people use primarily for backup/auxiliary drives)
    > >are designed for the same levels of continuous use as internal drives
    > >are.

    >
    > I've been running an iMac like this for almost a year.
    >
    > I keep meaning to replace the internal drive but haven't got to it...
    >
    > It's a bit of a PITA to do in the iMac and I don't have the right
    > torx screwdrivers and don't really want to buy them...
    >
    > I'm probably going to pay someone to swap in a working drive, soon..
    >
    > Overall, it seems a bit slower, and backing up/cloning can be glacial
    > from the FW to a USB drive but I usually kick that off before
    > I go to sleep...
    >
    > Other than that, no insurmountable issues.


    Thanks for the reply. The slow down hasn't been large enough to be
    really bothersome for me, and the initial backup up of the external
    drive to a second external wasn't much slower than cloning the internal
    drive to the external drive (both using CCC). I just wanted some
    confirmation that this wasn't a really stupid plan in principal.

    André
    Ymir, May 25, 2012
    #6
  7. Ymir

    Ymir Guest

    In article <agisaak.spamblock-75877F.08431625052012@shawnews>,
    Ymir <> wrote:

    > In article <>,
    > Salmon Egg <> wrote:
    >
    > > In article <agisaak.spamblock-6DBE90.08082825052012@shawnews>,
    > > Ymir <> wrote:
    > >
    > > > Hi all,
    > > >
    > > > My internal hard drive is behaving erratically and I suspect it may fail
    > > > soon. Unfortunately, I can't afford to replace my mac at this time and
    > > > don't trust myself enough to try and open up an iMac to replace the
    > > > drive.
    > > >
    > > > I'm currently booting off an external drive but was wondering whether it
    > > > may cause problems to use an external drive as one's main drive. I
    > > > realise that firewire will be slightly slower than SATA, but what I'm
    > > > really wondering is whether the drive mechanisms inside external drives
    > > > (which I'd assume most people use primarily for backup/auxiliary drives)
    > > > are designed for the same levels of continuous use as internal drives
    > > > are.
    > > >
    > > > Sorry if this is a dumb question.
    > > >
    > > > André

    > >
    > > I don't have personal knowledge of iMacs. I have had a few Macs over the
    > > years. If opening up is feasible, replacing the drive should be
    > > relatively easy. On my Mac Pro, it is amazingly easy. You take out the
    > > drive carrier, remove the old drive, fasten the new drive onto the
    > > carrier, push it in place, and close everything up.

    >
    > Replacing the drive isn't what worries me. It's opening/reassembling the
    > case since it requires special tools, and I know that most of the
    > components are wrapped in an EM shielding bag which is apparently easy
    > to damage while trying to remove/replace. Since I'm not in the position
    > to replace the mac at this point (even though it's really overdo), I'm
    > reluctant to risk it.


    Also, the really annoying thing here is that I'm not actually convinced
    that there's even a problem with the drive itself -- I think the problem
    might simply be that the cable isn't seated properly, which would be
    trivial to fix if they didn't make the innards so damn complicated to
    get at.

    The symptoms I'm getting are rather odd -- the computer hangs when
    booted from the internal drive, but *only* if the computer is at ambient
    temperature. IOW, it hangs either when you try to boot from the internal
    drive when the computer has been off for a few hours, or if you try to
    wake the computer from sleep when it's been asleep for a few hours. If
    you boot from the external drive, wait around fifteen minutes, and then
    reboot from the internal drive, it boots fine. Similarly, if you put the
    computer to sleep, but not long enough for it to cool fully down, it
    wakes fine. When booted from the external drive, I don't get these
    problems despite the fact that that system was cloned from the internal
    drive.

    After cloning the internal drive, I reformatted it selecting the 'zero
    out all data' option and then reinstalled the system and still get the
    same results. I'd have assumed, however, that if there was a problem
    with the actual drive media, zeroing out the data should have resulted
    in enough i/o errors that either disk utility would have complained or
    the SMART status would have been affected.

    So, basically, I'm thinking that there's a cable somewhere that's not
    contacting properly but that makes contact once the components warm up a
    bit. That's just speculation, though.

    André
    Ymir, May 25, 2012
    #7
  8. In article <agisaak.spamblock-04A2F9.08534625052012@shawnews>,
    Ymir <> wrote:
    >In article <jpo4ud$p1c$>,
    > (Claude V. Lucas) wrote:
    >
    >> In article <agisaak.spamblock-6DBE90.08082825052012@shawnews>,
    >> Ymir <> wrote:
    >> >Hi all,
    >> >
    >> >My internal hard drive is behaving erratically and I suspect it may fail
    >> >soon. Unfortunately, I can't afford to replace my mac at this time and
    >> >don't trust myself enough to try and open up an iMac to replace the
    >> >drive.
    >> >
    >> >I'm currently booting off an external drive but was wondering whether it
    >> >may cause problems to use an external drive as one's main drive. I
    >> >realise that firewire will be slightly slower than SATA, but what I'm
    >> >really wondering is whether the drive mechanisms inside external drives
    >> >(which I'd assume most people use primarily for backup/auxiliary drives)
    >> >are designed for the same levels of continuous use as internal drives
    >> >are.

    >>
    >> I've been running an iMac like this for almost a year.
    >>
    >> I keep meaning to replace the internal drive but haven't got to it...
    >>
    >> It's a bit of a PITA to do in the iMac and I don't have the right
    >> torx screwdrivers and don't really want to buy them...
    >>
    >> I'm probably going to pay someone to swap in a working drive, soon..
    >>
    >> Overall, it seems a bit slower, and backing up/cloning can be glacial
    >> from the FW to a USB drive but I usually kick that off before
    >> I go to sleep...
    >>
    >> Other than that, no insurmountable issues.

    >
    >Thanks for the reply. The slow down hasn't been large enough to be
    >really bothersome for me, and the initial backup up of the external
    >drive to a second external wasn't much slower than cloning the internal
    >drive to the external drive (both using CCC). I just wanted some
    >confirmation that this wasn't a really stupid plan in principal.
    >


    Well, I won't say it's not somewhat stupid, but I've been limping
    along for awhile in a similar situration without further issue.

    FWIW, I think there was a thermally related failure in
    my internal HD, too. It was still under Applecare when
    I first had problems with it and the Geniuses helped
    me out by reformatting it and they brought it back
    to life long enough for the Applecare to expire
    without dinging Corporate Profits by actually
    replacing the defective drive...
    Claude V. Lucas, May 25, 2012
    #8
  9. Ymir

    Fred Moore Guest

    In article <agisaak.spamblock-6DBE90.08082825052012@shawnews>,
    Ymir <> wrote:

    > Hi all,
    >
    > My internal hard drive is behaving erratically and I suspect it may fail
    > soon. Unfortunately, I can't afford to replace my mac at this time and
    > don't trust myself enough to try and open up an iMac to replace the
    > drive.
    >
    > I'm currently booting off an external drive but was wondering whether it
    > may cause problems to use an external drive as one's main drive. I
    > realise that firewire will be slightly slower than SATA, but what I'm
    > really wondering is whether the drive mechanisms inside external drives
    > (which I'd assume most people use primarily for backup/auxiliary drives)
    > are designed for the same levels of continuous use as internal drives
    > are.
    >
    > Sorry if this is a dumb question.


    One note that no one else has mentioned: Depending on exactly how the
    drive is dying, I've been told it might somehow corrupt the system on
    the external boot volume. This indeed happened to me back in the good
    old SCSI days. Much less likely now, but supposedly still possible.

    After boot, you could open Disk Utility and try to dismount the internal
    for some protection. If DU can't see the internal, maybe you're safer;
    but maybe not.

    --
    Remember, I'm pullin' for ya.
    We're all in this together.
    --Red Green
    Fred Moore, May 25, 2012
    #9
  10. Ymir

    dorayme Guest

    In article <agisaak.spamblock-DF81CA.09183725052012@shawnews>,
    Ymir <> wrote:

    ....
    > > > > ... what I'm
    > > > > really wondering is whether the drive mechanisms inside external drives
    > > > > (which I'd assume most people use primarily for backup/auxiliary
    > > > > drives)
    > > > > are designed for the same levels of continuous use as internal drives
    > > > > are.


    They are likely to be. In all my Macs but the present Macbook, I have
    bought HDs, usually seagate and either out them inside the computers
    or in external boxes. Most of the HDs I have bought come with 5 year
    guarantees, have absurdly good specs, can be run continuous for years.
    Makes no difference whether in or out. In fact, inside, the only
    factor that might affect them is the heating or cooling. In some
    machines, inside is better because of the more sophisticated cooling
    system, sometimes outside, depends on the enclosure.


    ....


    > The symptoms I'm getting are rather odd -- the computer hangs when
    > booted from the internal drive, but *only* if the computer is at ambient
    > temperature. IOW, it hangs either when you try to boot from the internal
    > drive when the computer has been off for a few hours, or if you try to
    > wake the computer from sleep when it's been asleep for a few hours.
    > If
    > you boot from the external drive, wait around fifteen minutes, and then
    > reboot from the internal drive, it boots fine. Similarly, if you put the
    > computer to sleep, but not long enough for it to cool fully down, it
    > wakes fine. When booted from the external drive, I don't get these
    > problems despite the fact that that system was cloned from the internal
    > drive.
    >


    Does sound like a hardware issue. If performance is an issue, and it
    is on a desk all the time, but not a few running costs, you could just
    leave it on all the time, backing up to external on TM or something
    for safety, using a screen sleep but not a computer sleep.

    --
    dorayme
    dorayme, May 25, 2012
    #10
  11. Ymir

    Alan Browne Guest

    On 2012-05-25 10:08 , Ymir wrote:
    > Hi all,
    >
    > My internal hard drive is behaving erratically and I suspect it may fail
    > soon. Unfortunately, I can't afford to replace my mac at this time and
    > don't trust myself enough to try and open up an iMac to replace the
    > drive.


    It's no big deal - iMac's from 2011 (ish) you'll need a widget added to
    the SATA cable that you can get from ifixit (I think).

    > I'm currently booting off an external drive but was wondering whether it
    > may cause problems to use an external drive as one's main drive. I
    > realise that firewire will be slightly slower than SATA, but what I'm
    > really wondering is whether the drive mechanisms inside external drives
    > (which I'd assume most people use primarily for backup/auxiliary drives)
    > are designed for the same levels of continuous use as internal drives
    > are.


    No issue.

    --
    "Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities."
    -Samuel Clemens.
    Alan Browne, May 25, 2012
    #11
  12. Ymir

    Suze Guest

    In article <agisaak.spamblock-6DBE90.08082825052012@shawnews>,
    Ymir <> wrote:

    > Hi all,
    >
    > My internal hard drive is behaving erratically and I suspect it may fail
    > soon. Unfortunately, I can't afford to replace my mac at this time and
    > don't trust myself enough to try and open up an iMac to replace the
    > drive.
    >
    > I'm currently booting off an external drive but was wondering whether it
    > may cause problems to use an external drive as one's main drive. I
    > realise that firewire will be slightly slower than SATA, but what I'm
    > really wondering is whether the drive mechanisms inside external drives
    > (which I'd assume most people use primarily for backup/auxiliary drives)
    > are designed for the same levels of continuous use as internal drives
    > are.


    > André


    I ran a G4 Mac Mini booted off an external firewire drive for about 5
    years, because the Mini had a slower HD. I still have that external
    drive that I now use for firewire storage with my late 2009 Mini, and it
    just keeps on tickin'. If it works, no reason why it wo'n't keep on
    working. My old firewire has been running nearly constantly since 2005
    except for 5 days when our power was out in an ice storm, and so far it
    hasn't even hiccoughed.
    --
    Good judgment results from experience, and experience results from bad judgment.
    Suze, May 26, 2012
    #12
  13. Salut André
    In article <agisaak.spamblock-6DBE90.08082825052012@shawnews>,
    Ymir <> wrote:

    > My internal hard drive is behaving erratically and I suspect it may fail
    > soon. Unfortunately, I can't afford to replace my mac at this time and
    > don't trust myself enough to try and open up an iMac to replace the
    > drive.


    depending on what model iMac you're talking about, the internal drive
    might have a manufacturer specific temperature sensor or the disk might
    have Apple-specific firmware to read the temperature...
    >
    > I'm currently booting off an external drive but was wondering whether it
    > may cause problems to use an external drive as one's main drive. I
    > realise that firewire will be slightly slower than SATA, but what I'm
    > really wondering is whether the drive mechanisms inside external drives
    > (which I'd assume most people use primarily for backup/auxiliary drives)
    > are designed for the same levels of continuous use as internal drives
    > are.
    >
    > Sorry if this is a dumb question.


    Not a dumb question...
    It depends on what "external drive" you are using or intending to use.
    I usually buy a quality case with a disk of my choice.
    I keep my fingers away from any LaCie branded 3.5" external disk. I have
    too many returned from customers lying around with either a fried bridge
    chip or a power supply that LaCie isn't able to replace or the disk died
    from overheating.

    Cheers
    Andreas

    --
    MacAndreas Rutishauser, <http://www.MacAndreas.ch>
    EDV-Dienstleistungen, Hard- und Software, Internet und Netzwerk
    Beratung, Unterstuetzung und Schulung
    <mailto:>, Fon: 044 / 721 36 47
    Andreas Rutishauser, May 26, 2012
    #13
  14. Ymir

    emelvy Guest

    On May 25, 11:18 am, Ymir <> wrote:

    >
    > The symptoms I'm getting are rather odd -- the computer hangs when
    > booted from the internal drive, but *only* if the computer is at ambient
    > temperature. IOW, it hangs either when you try to boot from the internal
    > drive when the computer has been off for a few hours, or if you try to
    > wake the computer from sleep when it's been asleep for a few hours. If
    > you boot from the external drive, wait around fifteen minutes, and then
    > reboot from the internal drive, it boots fine. Similarly, if you put the
    > computer to sleep, but not long enough for it to cool fully down, it
    > wakes fine.
    >
    > André


    Andre,

    Some of what you say sounds a lot like my experience with my dear
    departed 21-inch iMac G5. It would freeze up for no apparent reason,
    especially if it had been powered off or put into Sleep mode for
    several hours. It was less likely to freeze if I never allowed it to
    sleep; it seemed that too low a temperature inside the case was the
    culprit.

    I managed to continue this way for a few months, but the frequency of
    freezes was increasing from once a week to several times a day. Re-
    starts would often have to be repeated two or three times to get the
    iMac running again. I kept limping along, hoping that Apple would
    very soon bring out a new model of the iMac, but the freezes soon
    became intolerable.

    I thought it was the internal hard drive. Every hardware test I tried
    (Disk Utility, TechTool Pro, Apple Hardware Test in its Quick test
    mode) gave every component a Pass. Then I tried the much slower
    Extended tests in AHT, which immediately reported "SATA Bus error".
    Although this is related to HD operation, it was not due to the actual
    HD mechanism. This error was perfectly repeatable.

    At this point I took the iMac to a local Apple shop. They reported
    that the HD itself was all right, but the logic board was failing.
    They could replace the board for $1000. I chose instead to buy a new
    iMac (21.5" iMac Core i5 quad) for a little more than that price. The
    hardware has been working well for the past three months, but
    frequently I find yet another reason to be annoyed with Lion's
    "improvements".
    emelvy, May 26, 2012
    #14
  15. Ymir

    nospam Guest

    In article
    <>,
    emelvy <> wrote:

    >
    > Some of what you say sounds a lot like my experience with my dear
    > departed 21-inch iMac G5. It would freeze up for no apparent reason,
    > especially if it had been powered off or put into Sleep mode for
    > several hours. It was less likely to freeze if I never allowed it to
    > sleep; it seemed that too low a temperature inside the case was the
    > culprit.


    imac g5 usually failed due to faulty capacitors. if you still have the
    mac and are handy at soldering, you can replace them yourself and then
    sell it, since you replaced it with a newer machine.
    nospam, May 27, 2012
    #15
  16. Ymir

    emelvy Guest

    On May 26, 8:31 pm, nospam <> wrote:
    >
    > imac g5 usually failed due to faulty capacitors. if you still have the
    > mac and are handy at soldering, you can replace them yourself and then
    > sell it, since you replaced it with a newer machine.


    Perhaps so. However, it was the last model of iMac G5 ever released,
    manufactured well after the cause of the capacitor plague had been
    identified and remedied. I didn't open the case and look for bad
    capacitors myself. The shop that diagnosed it for me didn't mention
    bad capacitors; I believe this shop is honest and would have told me
    if they had found bad capacitors capable of being replaced.

    Well, I still have the old computer and have no need for it any
    longer. If someone is interested in buying it for repair or parts,
    let me know.
    emelvy, May 27, 2012
    #16
  17. Ymir

    Paul Sture Guest

    On Fri, 25 May 2012 09:18:37 -0600, Ymir wrote:

    > So, basically, I'm thinking that there's a cable somewhere that's not
    > contacting properly but that makes contact once the components warm up a
    > bit. That's just speculation, though.


    That sounds feasible. In my experience when a disk drive itself fails,
    it is worth letting it cool off to get your data off, and it will fail
    again once it has warmed up.

    --
    Paul Sture
    Paul Sture, May 27, 2012
    #17
  18. Ymir

    Paul Sture Guest

    On Fri, 25 May 2012 15:26:42 -0400, Fred Moore wrote:

    > In article <agisaak.spamblock-6DBE90.08082825052012@shawnews>,
    > Ymir <> wrote:
    >
    >> Hi all,
    >>
    >> My internal hard drive is behaving erratically and I suspect it may
    >> fail soon. Unfortunately, I can't afford to replace my mac at this time
    >> and don't trust myself enough to try and open up an iMac to replace the
    >> drive.
    >>
    >> I'm currently booting off an external drive but was wondering whether
    >> it may cause problems to use an external drive as one's main drive. I
    >> realise that firewire will be slightly slower than SATA, but what I'm
    >> really wondering is whether the drive mechanisms inside external drives
    >> (which I'd assume most people use primarily for backup/auxiliary
    >> drives) are designed for the same levels of continuous use as internal
    >> drives are.
    >>
    >> Sorry if this is a dumb question.

    >
    > One note that no one else has mentioned: Depending on exactly how the
    > drive is dying, I've been told it might somehow corrupt the system on
    > the external boot volume. This indeed happened to me back in the good
    > old SCSI days. Much less likely now, but supposedly still possible.
    >
    > After boot, you could open Disk Utility and try to dismount the internal
    > for some protection. If DU can't see the internal, maybe you're safer;
    > but maybe not.


    I had a slightly different problem with my internal disk. Once I had got
    what little data off it that wasn't already backed up, I wiped the drive,
    but it still tried to spin up at startup and I didn't find a way to
    exclude it from the system. It would start a nasty clicking sound and
    hang startup until some timeout expired. This was a pain for Sotware
    Updates which required a reboot. I just had to be patient waiting for
    the drive to die completely, and it duly did.

    --
    Paul Sture
    Paul Sture, May 27, 2012
    #18
  19. Ymir

    Paul Sture Guest

    On Fri, 25 May 2012 18:56:49 -0500, Suze wrote:

    > I ran a G4 Mac Mini booted off an external firewire drive for about 5
    > years, because the Mini had a slower HD. I still have that external
    > drive that I now use for firewire storage with my late 2009 Mini, and it
    > just keeps on tickin'. If it works, no reason why it wo'n't keep on
    > working. My old firewire has been running nearly constantly since 2005
    > except for 5 days when our power was out in an ice storm, and so far it
    > hasn't even hiccoughed.


    Same story here. Those 2006/2006 disks still keep chugging on.

    --
    Paul Sture
    Paul Sture, May 27, 2012
    #19
  20. Ymir

    Paul Sture Guest

    On Sat, 26 May 2012 08:01:56 +0200, Andreas Rutishauser wrote:

    > Salut André
    > In article <agisaak.spamblock-6DBE90.08082825052012@shawnews>,
    > Ymir <> wrote:
    >
    >> My internal hard drive is behaving erratically and I suspect it may
    >> fail soon. Unfortunately, I can't afford to replace my mac at this time
    >> and don't trust myself enough to try and open up an iMac to replace the
    >> drive.

    >
    > depending on what model iMac you're talking about, the internal drive
    > might have a manufacturer specific temperature sensor or the disk might
    > have Apple-specific firmware to read the temperature...
    >>
    >> I'm currently booting off an external drive but was wondering whether
    >> it may cause problems to use an external drive as one's main drive. I
    >> realise that firewire will be slightly slower than SATA, but what I'm
    >> really wondering is whether the drive mechanisms inside external drives
    >> (which I'd assume most people use primarily for backup/auxiliary
    >> drives) are designed for the same levels of continuous use as internal
    >> drives are.
    >>
    >> Sorry if this is a dumb question.

    >
    > Not a dumb question...
    > It depends on what "external drive" you are using or intending to use. I
    > usually buy a quality case with a disk of my choice. I keep my fingers
    > away from any LaCie branded 3.5" external disk. I have too many returned
    > from customers lying around with either a fried bridge chip or a power
    > supply that LaCie isn't able to replace or the disk died from
    > overheating.


    Yet my two 70GB Lacie disks are fine. With one on top of the other, and
    a DVD writer on top of both, I took the precaution of using some empty
    matchboxes to create an airspace between them (later replaced with some
    rubber mounts I found in a furniture shop). It just seemed a good idea
    at the time, and so far has worked.


    --
    Paul Sture
    Paul Sture, May 27, 2012
    #20
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