Can I force OSX to check for external drives after startup???
April 10, 2013 2:31 PM   Subscribe

I purchased a massive external drive to serve as my media HD. I use it for iTunes, Aperture, etc. It works like a charm except that it sometimes powers down during a restart, meaning the drive doesn't always show up after a restart. Even worse, iTunes finds the backup of this drive and uses that instead. Obviously, the solution is to always check to make sure the drive mounted after a restart... but that leaves room for human error. Is there an app that checks to make sure certain drives have mounted? Or is there some other trick I can use to make sure all drives have mounted after a startup?

I have a total of 3 drives, one being the startup drive. Each of the three has an external backup. I'm open to creative solutions, but I'd like it to be automated.
posted by 2oh1 to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Can you tell us what kind of hard drive it is and how it connects to your computer? It sounds like this is a hardware sleep issue with the hard drive. If not, then you might try using touch in an automated fashion to update the timestamp on a hidden file on the volume, as described here. If done frequently enough (say, once every minute during boot-up), it might keep the hard drive awake during reboot.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:44 PM on April 10, 2013

Response by poster: It's a USB drive connected to (but not powered by) a powered hub, and the problem happens at restart or startup (after my Mac has been powered down for a while, in other words). It doesn't happen every time. In fact, it only happens maybe 1/4 of the time.

I should add that I'm not looking to solve the problem for the specific external USB drive that doesn't always mount. What I really want is a way to say "Let me know if any of these external hard drives does not mount on startup" or "Check to see if all of the following hard drives is mounted."
posted by 2oh1 at 3:20 PM on April 10, 2013

Can you say what model of hard drive it is? If the touch-based option I described doesn't work, maybe there's a hardware solution for dealing with your hard drive's hardware-based power saving functionality. (Or some OEM software for OS X that talks to the hard drive's firmware.)
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:42 PM on April 10, 2013

Response by poster: I probably shouldn't have mentioned the one drive because we're getting off track. I'm not trying to solve the issue of one specific hard drive not booting up (though one drive tends to be a problem). I'm dealing with a total of four external drives and I want to ensure that all four of them (Seagate, 2 Hitachi, Western Digital) has mounted when I boot or restart my Mac.

What I want is a software option to check and make sure all specified drives are connected and have mounted after startup. If any of them is missing, I'd like to be notified.
posted by 2oh1 at 4:05 PM on April 10, 2013

I had some issues where I had an external drive that needed to be mounted by the system before some system services started. Here's something you might try: Permanently mount the drives as login items.

Mount the drives as you normally would, then open up System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Items. Drag the disk icon from your desktop into the Login Items tab so that the drives are mounted as soon as the system starts up. Maybe that helps?
posted by homesickness at 4:14 PM on April 10, 2013

I'm not sure about making the OS mount drives, but put this in AppleScript editor, substitute the names of your drives, and export it as an app. Then add that app to your login items:

property myDisks : {"drive1", "drive2", "drive3","drive4"}

set mountedDisks to paragraphs of (do shell script "/bin/ls /Volumes")
repeat with aDisk in myDisks
if aDisk is not in mountedDisks then
display dialog ¬
"Drive " & aDisk & " is not mounted"
end if
end repeat

I cobbled this together from info here and here. There's probably a way to add USB mounting, but I've already avoided work long enough...
posted by O9scar at 4:27 PM on April 10, 2013

Response by poster: homesickness: interesting idea. What happens if a drive isn't mounted though?

O9scar: that has potential! I'm going to have to dabble with it later!
posted by 2oh1 at 4:59 PM on April 10, 2013

If the drive isn't mounted upon startup, it will get mounted. If it's not mounted right now, go ahead and mount it, set it as a login item, and it'll get mounted every time you start up (and the drive is on).
posted by homesickness at 10:49 AM on April 15, 2013

Not sure if this would help your problem:

"Jettison automatically ejects external disks from your Mac before your computer goes to sleep and remounts them when it wakes."
posted by bluecore at 9:12 AM on April 27, 2013

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