What is spinning my disks?

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Joined: Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:15 pm
Platform: Mac

Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:20 pm Post

Hello everyone,,
Ok AmberV and you other mac gurus, 'splain this one to me.

I have my array plugged into the MBP. Everything works wonderfully. The wife and kids leave and I am left in a warm, bright place with no noise. Just the glow of the LCD and the smell of 8 hour old coffee. Heaven. All the sudden my array (which is idle) spins up. There is no backup running, no svn, nothing. I go into spotlight and find that the drive is excluded from indexing. Then I hear the drive spin down.

I happen to have a meeting at 10. As I am dialing into the call the drive spins up. Too busy on the call to look into it I decide to wait until I am done. At 10:30 I hear is spin up again. I check systems logs and NOTHING is happening at that time. Cron shows nothing, same for at. Thinking the sky may fall and I need to rip a drive out, a sudden flash of lucidity and I say "hey, what about the smaller drive? does it do this too?" IT DOES!!

So both drives are removed from spotlight, there is not indexer running (that I installed), no cron, no at, no recorded activity that is every 30 minutes. Any ideas?

The Mrs indicates that this is normal as I often leave the house with the arrays plugged in. Apparently it drives her nuts as the LaCie is pretty noisy. The only explanation for me not noticing is that there is normally a bit of noise.

Any ideas?

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Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:40 pm Post

Time Machine?
I am a user, writing non-fiction and science, using:
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Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:43 pm Post

What spins y' discs, is whatever turns you on. :twisted: As well as Time Machine, obviously.

Take care
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Thu Aug 08, 2019 6:45 pm Post

If it started recently, there was a bug in 10.14 a few iterations back that would needlessly spin up external drives. It should be fixed by now, so make sure you’re patched up.

Otherwise, try the fs_usage CLI tool. In its raw state it will be too noisy to be useful, so what you’ll probably want to do is grep the output by the volume name—and if it is a Time Machine volume, you should be able to filter out that activity using an inverse search. If you aren’t using the drive yourself for anything you could leave it running for a while.

It could be any number of things! I just gave it a whirl on my system, and my third-party file manager (ForkLift) periodicially accesses it (getattrlist mainly), git does, my peer to peer syncing tool (which doesn’t actually sync anything on that disk, but it seems to use lstat and statfs periodically. Those seem to be the main culprits. System level stuff: iconservices pings every once in a while—again for getattrlist. LaunchBar also checks in now and then. I note most of these requests are aimed at my at cloned (not TM) full system backup folder which includes an /Applications folder. So it seems some of these tools are considering that to be a blessed Applications folder—which is weird to me. Although LaunchBar trawls it, I don’t get hits when trying to launch software that only exists in that backup folder.

Whether these are active or reactive requests, I don’t know, but it does seem to be that the more tools you have running that work at the file system level, the more likely the drive will “tick” now and then.
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Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:00 pm Post

you likely have an open program looking to see "have files changed". I found a finder window minimized that was doing that to me (was set to open at startup the crafty batard (because family forum)). I've noticed that pages, EVEN WHEN CLOSED will do that if I last saved to an external drive (but I have not removed it).

This may be part of the bug IOA mentioned,

My solution to the above is to reinstate my normal level of mistrust of all internal saves.
1. save to temp folder on boot disk
2. quit software
3. manually move file to destination
4. compare files
5. delete save.

I don't do that with scriv because it never does stupid things like this. :)

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09


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Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:16 pm Post

A useful tool (free to use)––Consolation 3––created by Howard Oakley to access Apple's unified log can be found at his site:

Consolation overview:
https://eclecticlight.co/2019/05/20/bro ... e-at-last/

A search at the site for Consolation will find more info, including mock investigations of a crash and of Time Machine errors.
I'm a Scrivener user, not an L&L employee.

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Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:11 pm Post

AmberV & Jaysen are probably right, but it could be disk gnomes dancing. Just keep on their good side & you should be fine...
Complete and utter NOMsense.