Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Early 2007 24 iMac freeze. One source found.

When I purchased my Early 2007 24 inch iMac, I also bought an external Western Digital MyBook Firewire 800 drive to keep a full backup on hand. Little did I know that this drive would cause me problems.
A random freeze, usually while browsing in Safari, brought my whole system down. It began with the spinning beachball, and was sometimes associated with a hard drive click from inside my iMac.

This resulted in a force restart, and many times caused directory damage. I did not think crash reporter put logs in my root directory HD/library/logs/crashreporter, but it does. Upon checking them, I found each and every file was named WDBMService_date-of-crash. Every single one.

It had never dawned on me that some tiny little piece of software supplied by Western Digital would do so much damage. It was random, and about once a month.

The piece of software is called WD Button Manager. It controls the blue LED light on the front of the hard drive. Removing it has not  made any difference that I can see. Apparently it showed the disk space left, but I never figured that out. It still powers down when I want it to.

So remove this buggy software if you have a Western Digital MyBook. Go into terminal and type

sudo /usr/bin/uninstall-WDButtonManager


UPDATE February 2008

Western Digital have come out with a firmware update and have also come out with a new Button Manager dated February 2008.
I have installed these and so far, no problems. Support from Western Digital is pretty bad, but maybe they read the blogs and address the issues. Whatever works, as long as it gets fixed. NOTE: The links I have given here are for MyBook Pro Edition. You can go to the general page of downloads here.

Addenda: Apple has also released Hard Drive 1.0 for you can read the release notes and get the patch here.


This is for iMac Core 2 Duo systems and may solve a hard drive shutdown problem with the original 24 inch iMacs. The drive would click off, resulting in a spinning beachball for a few seconds until the hard drive spun up again.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Installing Leopard on G4 eMac

3 White Macs
Installing Leopard OS X on the G4 1 Ghz eMac (1 Gig of RAM) went a little slower than the 24 inch iMac. Before installing, I repaired permissions, rebooted into single user mode (Apple S), and ran fsck -fy.
Some people actually think that running the disk utility from the CD (while booted from the CD) is better than fsck. I have read, that some belive if you run from an external disk, the disk first aid can fix "the whole disk", whereas, they believe, fsck, cannot. Wrong.

Sometimes, your machine may not boot from the CD. Fsck should be standard operating procedure.

The eMac rebooted into the Leopard install, and told me it would take 2 hours and 53 minutes. After checking at the one hour mark, it said that it had 18 minutes left. When it said that there was one minute remaining, it took about 15 minutes more. You can open an active log window during the installation and see that there is activity.

Only one major annoyance. Gmail status, although updated to 1.08, does not work on any of my Macs. It is there in the menu, but is invisible. Quickbooks Pro 5 still works fine, which is another older application I use. CNN flash video is still jittery on the eMac for some reason, but works fine on every other site.

Leopard also installed without a hitch on the G4 1.42 Ghz iBook which currently has 512 MB of RAM, and my 24 inch 2.16 Ghz iMac with 2 GB of RAM. Leopard on the iMac now launches Safari and Textedit in one bounce. This is 3 or 4 times faster than before.

Flock, my preferred Web 2.0 browser is also faster. It gives me instant access to my Flickr, YouTube and Blogger accounts and allows drag and drop between any two. Probably the best browser that no one knows about. Also the most Mac like. Even Safari 3 now looks like its Windows counterpart.

Overall, Leopard is a winner. Very fast. The only disappointment is Time Machine. I thought it would make a bootable backup and it does not. I will stick with Carbon Copy Cloner and maintain a full, bootable backup. Everyone should do this. No sympathy if you do not back up.

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