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Thread: MacPro3,1 with Unresponsive Finder, Demanding Reinstall of Operating System

  1. #121
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    Default

    You're doing the right stuff.

    The fundamental testing rule is, pull any and all devices and start testing with as bare bones as possible. IF you find any starting place that works, you are golden. Means you probably pulled the faulty device or devices and that it isn't a bus or motherboard component.

    At some point you will want to backup the flaky drive, then zero it out. Writing zeroes to it is a great way to test it. Or download trial period of SoftRAID and let it run a verification on the drive. Only way to really test a hard drive is to hammer on it and see if it fails.

    Leave the optical drives out for now. Add them in after you prove the machine can run on current boot drive. Then pick and choose single devices to add. Add them when your computer is hot, not cold. Make it (hope it) fails as soon as you install it.
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  2. #122
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    Default It Appears that my 3,1 will be Fixable -- A Pleasant Surprise!

    Thank you; I'll keep at it.

    Now that I have found a configuration that is at least 99% stable, as a sane way forward, I'll slow down. Maybe move the boot drive through the various bays one bay per day, giving it lots of time to prove the SATA in each new location. Sounds as though I may only need to leave bad parts disconnected, or, at worst, replace the PCI, if that tests bad over the next few days.

    I almost never use a DVD drive, and have a FireWire DVD drive for any occasion when I must.

    If the customer offered the MacPro4,1 decides against it, I could still be interested. Especially where it could be flashed to a 5,1, it would outlast my 3,1 by at least two years, after Apple stops supporting security updates for each model. I'm guessing that the new, cylindrical MacPros will retain their value so well as to still be expensive a few years from now, and I do not envision myself needing their extra computing power.

    Would the 3,1 be viable as a server even after Apple discontinues security updates, so long as it were configured to allow only connections to the server software?

  3. #123
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Bozocity View Post
    My gut tells me to fix the current problem first, since it has followed me through several OS upgrades.
    I offer this as a FWIW, since everybody's system is different. I had a MP 3,1 which began life with Snow Leopard (clean install). Over time it developed similar problems to yours as the OS upgrades progressed. It got to the point of being absolutely horrible in El Capitan. Beach balls all the time, sluggish, etc. I had been doing the Apple system updates as it was just too much trouble to do a clean install. It seems from your post that you have been doing the same.

    So, I ended up buying a new drive and installing El Capitan plus everything else fresh. No migration, no cloning. The result was night and day. No beach balls whatsoever, no problems. It became fast!!! I used this drive until the computer died recently, but I am now using the very same drive as my boot drive with the new computer and still no problems. Yes, it did take a while to start from scratch, and while I was at it, I did the same thing for my other data drives (copying over the stuff one by one, plus doing a little reorganization while at it).

    I haven't yet upgraded to Sierra, still thinking about it... only because what I have is so smooth. I just think that there is no substitute for clean installs of everything. It just seems that when a system and its stuff is dragged along through each update, it can bring about trouble.

  4. #124
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    RE: the above post: I wrote that while reading the beginning of this thread, not realizing it had 6 more pages...so pardon me for not seeing the rest of the issues.

  5. #125
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    That happens. Your thoughts are true, a clean install is one of the things we tried.

    Rick
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  6. #126
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    Default Clean Installs Are Better, but Working Hardware is Better Still!

    Thank you. Yes; clean installs are indeed best, regardless of what Apple says, although I can confess (like so many of us!) to having occasionally merely upgraded. Perhaps unusually, for the computer in this thread, the problems are the same, regardless of whether I use an upgraded OS or a clean install.

    Over the past several days, I have been testing the computer with every drive except the boot drive removed (or, in the case of the DVD drives on both the SATA and ATA busses, disconnected). Everything has run perfectly with the boot drive in SATA Bays 1 and 3. Today it is in Bay 2, with everything working fine so far. Once I am convinced that the SATA is good in all four hard drive bays, I'll try reinstalling the other hard drive in each of the other bays.

    The problem appears to be related to two bad DVD drives interfering with the Finder, as well as with applications requiring the Finder, or Finder-like functionality, such as About This Mac > Storage. My guess is that, to display the file system, the Finder must poll each drive, asking what is on it. When the DVD drives do not report back correctly, they confound the Finder.

    One hears of MacPro3,1 computers having problems with the Finder hanging. Could it be that a bad batch of DVD drives poisoned many MacPros, and is haunting perfectly good computers, as these DVD drives fail with the passage of years?
    Last edited by Bozocity; 01-26-2017 at 04:32 PM.

  7. #127
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    Default Update -- Bay 2 is Okay

    After 2:15 uptime, all is still okay, with only the boot drive installed in Bay 2. I'll try Bay 4 next, and then combinations of two drives. I'm already pretty well convinced that bad DVD and hard drives were confusing the system, but that the logic board and all the expensive stuff are okay.

  8. #128
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    Nah, DVD drives are trash anyway. Usually they stop working mechanically and the computer thinks they are fine - the door stops opening or the motor doesn't spin, etc. Never heard of one stopping a computer from working right, but, seems like anything goes.
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  9. #129
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    Default If Not the DVD Drives, Then Their Busses?

    If bad DVD drives are not known to confuse computers, then there may be a problem with the ATA bus to the stock DVD drive, or the SATA bus to the aftermarket drive, which I think is plugged into a separate port on the motherboard from the one connected to the hard drive bays. I may not have a way to test the ATA or the SATA in the optical bays, but if they are bad, it seems not to matter, so long as they are not connected to anything.

    Boot drive moves to Bay 4 tomorrow.

  10. #130
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    There is literally no difference between the SATA connectors on the motherboard used for the optical drives and the ones for the hard drives. Same chipset, same bus. There are two separate SATA connectors under the fan for that task, so you can always try the other one.

    The ATA bus is a discreet bus separate from the SATA bus. Deleted from all future MacPro motherboards.

    All of them connect to the PCI-PCI bridge. Whatever you find, beats hell out of a bad motherboard and needing a new computer.
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  11. #131
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    Default Bets are that the SATA and ATA Busses are Good

    Quote Originally Posted by ricks View Post
    Nah, DVD drives are trash anyway…
    Great news! That means that while it is still possible that the ATA and SATA connections to the optical bay have gone bad, and so are wreaking the signal from perfectly good DVD drives, it is more likely that ever-trashy DVD drives half-died (they still read and write DVDs, but confuse the Finder). The computer could continue as an everyday workhorse without an internal DVD drive, or I could install a new one.

    I'm on my laptop now, but soon enough will boot the MacPro from Bay 4.

    The laptop, incidentally, rocks (13" Mid-2010). Utterly Gurufied with the Crucial SSD and 16GB RAM, which, at the time, only MacGurus was aware this older laptop would accept. (Official sources reported 8GB maximum.) Open way too many windows, and the CPU can become overtaxed; but, open plenty, with just an air of restraint, and there is no way a brand-new, costly computer would be any better for me.

  12. #132
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    Default All Four Hard Drive Bays are Fine, at Least with Only One Drive Installed

    Everything operates perfectly with just the boot drive on the SATA bus, in Bay 4, the last hard drive bay needing to be tested. Next, I'll reinstall the second hard drive, to see if running two drives on the bus makes any trouble. I'm betting it won't.

  13. #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricks View Post
    Nah, DVD drives are trash anyway. Usually they stop working mechanically and the computer thinks they are fine - the door stops opening or the motor doesn't spin, etc. Never heard of one stopping a computer from working right, but, seems like anything goes.
    I think some of the issues have to do with firmware. The drive in my G4 works fine for most CDs, but some with extended data won't rip the last track or two correctly in later versions of the OS. Works fine in older versions.

    The only thing I use an optical drive for anymore is ripping CDs. If Apple ever decides to make non-DRM full quality files available through iTunes (yeah, right) that will probably be the end of optical media for me. There are sites like HD Tracks etc. but I'm not interested in buying FLAC "high resolution" files of medium resolution recordings at inflated prices when CDs are dirt cheap on Amazon, and sound just as good. Plus when you buy a CD you have an automatic hard copy backup.

  14. #134
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    Default A-Okay

    Been running five hours today with the boot drive in Bay 1, and the backup drive in Bay 3, just as it used to be, when there used to be trouble. The optical bays are still disconnected. All is fine. It appears that the DVD drives were both bad. It's weird how, in fixing computers, the impossibly complex becomes the obvious, once one knows how to diagnose a problem properly.

    Ran TechTool Pro 9's surface scan and Partition Map tests on the backup drive. No bad blocks found, no trouble with the partition map (if one believes that!), so to get rid of the I/O errors, it must need a reformatting.

    Glad to finally believe that the SATA bus is actually okay (despite, maybe, an issue with the connector feeding the optical bay). The mighty MacPro3,1 lives for another few years! Thank you all for your help. Can't imagine why this seemed so puzzling in the beginning. The lesson for me is to truly connect all devices but the boot drive when testing a computer, and then slowly add them back.

    Thank you, MacGurus!

  15. #135
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    Default Woops -- Can't Type!

    "The lesson for me is to truly DISconnect all devices but the boot drive when testing a computer, and then slowly add them back."

    This I typed right:

    "Thank you, MacGurus!"

  16. #136
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    Nice to get somewhere. Good job.

    Rick
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

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