UPS and OSX?
April 4, 2005 9:20 AM   Subscribe

I have an external firewire drive with like totally important stuff. I've heard that sudden power loss to such a drive could mean catastrophic data loss and global warming and dead children. I therefore have my drive hooked into an older model APC UPS box (maybe this kind). I run OSX on a PowerBook. What are my options w/r/t/ the UPS notifying the PowerBook of power loss and the PowerBook shutting down the drive automatically?
posted by xmutex to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
If you install APC's PowerChute software on your PowerBook, it can shut your computer down in the event of a power failure, which would also unmount the firewire drive and park its heads.

I haven't used APC's software in several years, though, since it went through kind of a buggy phase. I've heard the latest version works fine in Panther, though.
posted by bcwinters at 10:12 AM on April 4, 2005

Just as an additional note, on Linux, there are APC UPS monitoring programs that can run shell scripts or commands instead of just shutting down the system. Seeing as how OS X is BSD-based, I wouldn't be surprised if the same were possible. I'm not familiar with PowerChute, so perhaps it makes this clear, but if it doesn't, you ought to be able to find out more about customizing the actions somewhere online.

Sorry, that sounded helpful in my head.
posted by odinsdream at 12:16 PM on April 4, 2005

Part of the reason that power loss can result in data loss in removable drives is write caching. I don't know where to look in OSX but if you turn that off then power loss won't be as big a problem.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 2:40 PM on April 4, 2005

I would think if you formatted the drived with a Journalled file system, it wouldn't be as much of an issue. You could also buy a second drive and set up RAID1 mirroring.
posted by hyperizer at 3:49 PM on April 4, 2005

I have an older APC UPS for my external drives as well, but haven't kept the software installed --- last I heard it was kinda' buggy and, plus, the management features require keeping a USB cable plugged directly into your PowerBook (it never worked off a hub for me).

You might want to try TimeLeft, a little program which can run an AppleScript once your PowerBook's battery level drops below a certain capacity. You could set the threshold to something absurd like 99% and use it to run a simple script which dismounts all external drives.
posted by nathan_teske at 6:29 PM on April 4, 2005

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