I have suddenly started having problems with portable external HDs that I have been using with FCPX. I use a mid-2014 15-inch MacBook Pro that is connected to an AC adapter. I am using FCPX 10.4 and macOS 10.13.3.
My problems started when an FCPX project export failed and then froze up my computer. The external HD the exported master file was being saved to might have run out of space during the export. Now it won't mount on the computer whenever I connect it, and it always causes the computer to completely freeze up. (When I can get Disk Utility to show any info about this drive it states the drive has 0 kb space available.) This disk is a 2 TB WD My Passport Ultra.
Then, when trying to do a backup of the HD on which I have FCPX libraries and projects that I edit (another 2 TB My Passport Ultra) I found that the transfer to a new 4 TB backup drive (WD My Passport) would be halted without warning, both when doing a primitive copy & paste in the Finder and also when using Carbon Copy Cloner to do a drive backup. CCC indicated problems reading from the original FCPX libraries drive. After the transfer failure I could eject the original FCPX libraries drive without any problems. When I would try to eject the "backup" drive I would get a message that it could not be ejected because files were being used by a program. I would shut down the computer before unplugging the backup drive. But whenever I try to mount the 4 TB "backup" drive a popup appears saying that macOS cannot repair the drive, that the drive's contents can only be copied, and that the drive will have to be formatted or replaced. (A new drive!)
So, after years of zero issues with using portable external HDs for storing video files and FCPX libraries and projects, I am suddenly having problems with them. Three drives are suddenly either kaput or seem to be wonky. I am afraid to use FCPX right now, as that botched export attempt is where my problems started.
I am wondering if it might be better to use a different type of external drive for FCPX. I started using portable external HDs because they produce relatively-little clutter. Should I instead be using a powered external HD to store projects that I am editing? Would an external SSD be better? Expensive NAS and RAID systems are out of the question. I am a hobbyist who uses FCPX, Core Melt Lock & Load, and Compressor to do personal projects for me and family, not a professional.
Does anyone have any thoughts about acquiring and using more-reliable external storage that won't break the bank?
cyuill2015 wrote: ...after years of zero issues with using portable external HDs for storing video files and FCPX libraries and projects, I am suddenly having problems with them. Three drives are suddenly either kaput or seem to be wonky. I am afraid to use FCPX right now, as that botched export attempt is where my problems started.
I am wondering if it might be better to use a different type of external drive for FCPX. I started using portable external HDs because they produce relatively-little clutter. Should I instead be using a powered external HD to store projects that I am editing? Would an external SSD be better? ...
If your entire machine hangs that may indicate a hardware or system software problem. FCPX can lock up or crash, but it's "only" an app. It can't normally lock up or crash macOS.
It would be rare to have three separate external hard drives fail or exhibit anomalous behavior within a short period. In your case the HDD didn't really fail but the data and/or file system is apparently damaged. It is more likely your 2014 MacBook Pro is developing some kind of problem.
Are all these portable drives formatted HFS+ or are any of them exFAT? All drives used with FCPX should really be HFS+.
I don't think the problem is caused by using portable drives. Yes an AC-powered Thunderbolt drive is better. I do most of my editing on those but I have about 50 USB bus-powered portable drives, including several My Passports. For simple camera offloading in the field these are sometimes exFAT (when Windows interop is needed) but more commonly HFS+ and for any FCPX editing they are always HFS+.
Even though the internal drive mechanism may be the same as some Thunderbolt drives, I think overall the Thunderbolt interface is more stable and reliable. But overall the USB bus-powered drives work OK. Out of 50 drives I've had one totally fail within the past two years -- not bad. By contrast I have about one 3.5" 7200 rpm AC powered drive (most in Thunderbolt arrays) fail each six months to a year, but I have over 200TB of them. By "fail" these are all hardware failures, non-recoverable data, retry count exceeded, or S.M.A.R.T predicted imminent failure.
However I don't think the USB vs Thunderbolt or AC vs bus-powered issue is the problem. It's more likely your machine or a system software issue. I'd suggest you don't try any more data copying or data recovery using that machine, you could end up messing up more drives.
If you have access to another Mac you could try data copy or data repair on that -- at least salvage your current data to the degree possible. However a drive with damaged data or filesystem will also have problems on a different Mac.
If you don't have access to another one, I'd first suggest checking your current Mac: run Apple Diagnostics, back up the Mac HD, run Disk Utility First Aid on the Mac HD, consider re-installing macOS. This normally won't blow away your apps because (unlike Windows) macOS doesn't use a central registry. It might not hurt to update to High Sierra 10.13.4. There are numerous fixes in that, however I don't know about the file system.
Since your drives are in a questionable state, I'd be tempted to make a block-level copy to a backup drive for each one, before attempting any data repair. Supposedly Stellar Drive Clone can do this, although I've not used it:
You can try Disk Utility First Aid, or you could try the 3rd party tool Disk Warrior. No guarantees but I've used it with good results:
I'd suggest running hardware diagnostics on your MBP. This is a simple test and if no errors are found it doesn't mean a clean bill of health. However if it finds errors there is definitely something wrong:
FWIW, all of the HDs that I use on my Mac are formatted as macOS Extended Journaled drives. I did run the Apple system diagnosis, by shutting down the computer and pressing "D" when I restarted the computer. The message that came up after the diagnosis was run indicated that no errors were found.
As for checking the computer's HD, the computer has an SSD. I have not made a cloned bootable drive from it, but have done a Time Machine backup. When you suggested checking the computer's HD were you suggesting checking the copy or the computer's SSD? I think you meant the computer's SSD.
As for doing a system update - I read posts on Mac-related forums on other sites. As usual some have complained about their computer hanging when installing the 10.13.4 update. Some responded that the posters should have made a bootable clone of the computer's drive and updated and tested that first before committing to a real update on the computer. A "computer hanging" problem happened to me a few years ago when doing a Yosemite update. I spent a lot of time getting the machine back up and running, so I get a little nervous every time I do a system update. But I do the updates anyways. I usually wait for the App Store to indicate that an update is available before doing so.
There are Macs at my workplace, although I think they run El Capitan. I will see if I have any problems with disk-to-disk copying on one of those machines.
Sounds like a issue that is not atypical to HFS+ file system corruption. When the initial drive ran out of room, it corrupted the drives file database. This is causing problems. One difference between HFS and APFS is that HFS erases and writes over itself using RAM while APFS leaves files in place and only writes new data while preserving the old files.
Sounds to me like the drive ran out of room, the file transfer corrupted the drive table info, the additional backup drives are expecting and looking for all the additional data that was never written therefor will not eject since it is trying to find the data that is not there from the FCPX library.
This problem is most likely made worse by the intersection of APFS being on your internal drive, where the OS wrote that the data was being transferred and the HFS+ external drive that was unable to write all the data, but rewrote the table including the file info prior to actually verifying the write. CCC is reporting that it should be seeing more info.
I would try to backup the first external drive, then remove the FCPX library and all data associated with the project. If you have been using CCC to back up this drive, you should be able to restore it to a version prior to the problem.
I don't think the problem is with the external drives themselves, just the file/track location database.
I do however. recommend that you not use MyPassport drives and get the basic "Elements" drive instead. WD uses a hardware encryption chip that can fail and only complicates diagnostics and adds an element of failure.
My guess is that trying the drives on other systems will not help, but trying won't hurt.
Hope this Helps, Greg
I have been giving myself a crash course in mobile hard drive and SSD reliability. The more I read the more discouraged I am becoming. I am considering these choices.
- Store original media and archived FCPX projects on 1TB or 2TB mobile hard drives with decent user reports (WD Elements or My Passport, Seagate Backup Plus or Plus Slim, LaCie Rugged/Porsche Design), or DIY enclosure + bare drive (such as WD Blue). Use one brand for originals and another for copies.
- Store current FCPX projects that I am working on on a mobile SSD (such as Samsung T5 500GB or bare SSD (like Samsung EVO 860 + enclosure) and back the projects up to a hard drive.
I think that the reason for the failure/wonkiness of the 2 WD My Passport Ultra drives might have been to wear and tear from reads and writes done to the drives over the last one and a half to two years. I had edited FCPX projects stored on both of those drives. The new 4TB WD My Passport that doesn't seem to be working properly just might be a lemon that I will have to return. I am hoping that using HDs mostly just for file storage will cause them to last longer. I am not sure if desktop HDs are in practice any more reliable than mobile ones.
I will let you know what I ultimately do. If anyone has comments or other suggestions I am open to them.