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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Anonymous said...

February 21, 2008
I have a Mac Mini, Leopard 10.5.2 and a MyBook Home 1TB.
I dowloaded and installed the recent firmware update and the new button manager.
IT DOES NOT WORK! The MyBook drive disappears from the desktop when the Mac goes to sleep, then I have to restart everything. Time Machine becomes totally useless.
I'm sick of this HD, I return it to Costco and order a LaCie...

Carl said...

Well, I believe Time Machine is probably the culprit for half your problems as it it is causing havoc with many users. I use Carbon Copy Cloner with my WD MyBook and it works fine.
There are problems with the MyBook for sure, but the ones you describe are not caused by the MyBook. It is caused by the sleep function of Leopard and the WD spin down feature. 10.5 has had problems showing external disks in the Finder and sometimes they get lost. Usually you can revive them by going to the Finder preferences, and selecting the hard drive again. You can also revive the drive by starting up disk utility. You don't have to restart your Mac. This is a Mac bug though.
Myself, I just bought a 750 G Maxtor external. It comes with worse software than the Western Digital, but it can be used as a normal hard drive once it is formatted properly. FInally a drive that doesn't spin down every 2 minutes.