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ATPM 7.12
December 2001



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Segments: Slices from the Macintosh Life

by Gregory Tetrault,

FireWire on a Beige G3 Mac

My beige G3 Macintosh contains an OrangeLink PCI card (from OrangeMicro) that adds two FireWire and two USB 1 ports. I purchased an external FireWire drive for backups and storage. I chose an 80 GB drive from Maxtor. The drive came with Maxtor Utilities 3.2 and Maxtor FireWire drivers on a CD-ROM. I installed the software, restarted, connected the drive, and waited. Nothing happened. I launched the Maxtor FireWire Utility and got a message stating “No supported device installed! Please install the Maxtor FireWire Support…”

I looked in Conflict Catcher and discovered numerous FireWire-related files: FireWire Enabler, FireWire Lynx Enabler, and FireWire Support from Apple; FireWire OrangeLink Enabler and FireWire OrangeLink PC Card; and Maxtor FireWire Support. Thinking I might have an extension conflict, I restarted with only FireWire extensions active. The drive still wouldn’t mount.

I used the FireWire features of Hard Disk Toolkit 4.0 (from FWB). HDT installed FWB FireWire Support Lib and FWB>SCMFW-SCSIBridgeP-Disk driver. I restarted but still could not mount the drive. I concluded that the FireWire extensions were conflicting with one another. Through trial and error I found a combination that allowed me to mount the drive!

Unfortunately, Maxtor formats its FireWire drives as PC drives. I used HDT to reformat the drive. I then needed to initialize the drive. Initialization proceeded briefly, and then the cursor spun merrily while the progress bar froze. Twenty minutes later I forced HDT to quit, which resulted in a frozen Mac. I restarted again and the drive did not mount. I unplugged and replugged the FireWire cable, and the Finder saw the drive, but with an unrecognized format. My options were to “eject” it or format it as a Mac drive. I chose the latter option, and the Finder started building the disk directory. The watch cursor displayed for many minutes with no progress. I forced the Finder to quit and restarted. Same scenario as before. I let the Finder work on disk overnight without success. I restarted and went back to HDT 4. Format and initialization seemed to work this time. I went back to the Finder, and it mounted the drive!

I tested the drive by copying a folder containing 21 MB of font files. My Mac locked up when 11.1 MB had been copied. I restarted and relaunched HDT 4. I ran drive tests. The write test locked-up HDT 4. I restarted again. The drive would not mount. I called technical support at Maxtor. After wending my way through multiple menus I got disconnected. I tried again and reached a support tech. We tried numerous things without success. He asked if there was a FireWire-capable PC I could use to see if the drive worked. (No, our PCs at work are too old.) The support tech said he would e-mail version 3.4 of Maxtor utilities which might work better than 3.2. He also said that Maxtor may put out a disclaimer that its drives are only assured to work on Macs with native FireWire connections.

I went to FWB’s Web site to check on HDT upgrades. HDT 4.5 was available with better FireWire support. I bought, downloaded, and installed the upgrade including its FireWire Loader files. This time, HDT also installed “FWB > Maxtor Disk Driver.” I restarted, launched HDT 4.5, and plugged-in my Maxtor drive. HDT saw the drive. I formatted and initialized the drive in just moments. The drive mounted on my desktop. I tested the drive with complete success. I then went to the Finder and began copying files. The new drive worked and was very fast. I breathed a sigh of relief after having spent over five hours troubleshooting my “plug and play” FireWire drive. I thought this only happened to Windows users.

The morals of the story:

1. When a manufacturer claims a FireWire or USB device is PC and Mac compatible, find out if the device has been tested while connected via add-in cards (including your specific model).

2. Before installing a new drive (hard drive, CD-R/RW, or DVD), get the latest version of the best utility: Hard Disk Toolkit for fixed and removable drives and Toast Titanium for CD and DVD burners.

Also in This Series

Reader Comments (10)

Venu. K. · December 4, 2001 - 05:04 EST #1
Thanks for that article. You have saved a great deal of probable suffering for me. I was intending to buy a FireWire HD this new year for my Beige G3 with a similar card as yours. You could have added information on whether these could be made bootable and their behavior compared with SCSI.
Gregory Tetrault · December 4, 2001 - 15:44 EST #2
The Maxtor drive was defective. I returned it for a full refund. I then purchased a 100 GB Fantom FireWire drive that used Radiologic setup software. It has worked flawlessly.
Boris Bauer · March 23, 2002 - 12:52 EST #3

I just saw your article and, funny enough, I am having the same issues on my drive. It never mounts. Could you advise me on which extensions I should use and which not? Also, which software to use to format and recognize the drive.

I am using a Buslink 80gb drive with a Keyspan card. The drive comes with the same software from Intech as the Maxtor (I tried a Maxtor as well, it did not work).

Thanks, Boris
Steve Hoskins · August 7, 2003 - 17:16 EST #4
I'm having the same problem with my Beige G3 with PCI firewire/USB from Orangelink. I bought an EZQuest drive and it will not mount. I also had a crashed hard drive when I bought the drive. Well, I booted up with Diskwarrior and the new drive mounted. So, I saved the contents of my hard drive onto the new disk. Now, the the disk has been restored (thank god for Diskwarrior), but the new drive won't mount on my desktop. The tech told me to install Firewire Enabler 2.4, but I can't find it. I am running OS 8.6 and Enabler 2.5 won't work without OS 9.1! Any help?
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · August 11, 2003 - 00:21 EST #5
Steve - I think you probably want Firewire Enabler 2.3.3. I found Apple's page for version 2.4/2.5, bit it doesn't offer version 2.4, stating that 2.5 is a recommended download since it fixes some problems with 2.4. Regardless, the page states that even version 2.4 requires OS 9.
Kathy Yoder · August 30, 2003 - 18:16 EST #6
I am experiencing this same difficulty with my beige G3, OrangeLink's Firewire card, and Maxtor's 80GB hard drive.

Bear in mind one more variable: my Mac is a "Version A" model. If it were a "B," I would not have this problem!

Apparently I must purchase HDT's product. True?

I have installed OS X (Jaguar) on an external SCSI drive and can choose to boot with that.

While running under OS X, the Maxtor will mount and could be formatted as I chose.

Even though Profiler can see this Firewire disk, I can not boot with either system on the Maxtor and it does not mount under with the internal OS 9.2.2 installation.
Mike Virosteck · December 16, 2003 - 13:13 EST #7
I, too, have a beige G3 and would like to purchase a FireWire DVD burner for it. I am unsure what card I should get even after reading through these messages. Should I purchase the Orange brand card or is there a better option? Any thoughts on a good DVD combo drive to get? What do you think?
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · December 16, 2003 - 20:27 EST #8
Mike: I've been using the OrangeMicro card for over two years without a single problem, so I recommend it.

I don't know much about external FireWire DVD burners. La Cie offers a universal DVD+/-RW, CD-RW drive that works with Macs and PCs. Plextor (a vendor with a great reputation for CD burners) offers DVD+RW and DVD+/- burners, too.
Kathy Christensen · January 8, 2004 - 20:54 EST #9
I installed a startech 3 port firewire card and then hooked up the Maxtor external drive 80 Gb that I have been using successfully with the Windows machine. The drive does not mount. I get the same message as the first person:“No supported device installed! Please install the Maxtor FireWire Support…” I have been on the phone with Maxtor support all afternoon. They were most eager to help, but all we came up with was to download the Firewire extension 2.3.3. After quite a lot of looking, I finally found it at and downloaded. Still no luck. I also hooked up my digital camcorder to the firewire port. No luck. I have successfully hooked the camera to the windows machine. I don't want to have to format the drive because it has pictures on it that I want to share back and forth between machines. Help.
Gregory Tetrault (ATPM Staff) · January 8, 2004 - 21:39 EST #10
Kathy C: I assume you are running OS 9, not OS X. If so, you need to have FireWire Enabler (a driver) and FireWire Support (a document file) in your Extensions folder. In OS 9.2.2, those files both have version number 2.8.5. You can get them by updating your OS 9 to 9.2.2.

If installing both those components (and restarting) doesn't solve the problem, you need to see if the card itself is working. Launch the Apple System Profiler and click on the "Devices and Volumes" tab. Look down for the PCI information. There should be some slots listed. Click all the triangles to display information on the installed PCI cards. One of them should indicate that the card type is FireWire. If not, then you could have an incorrectly installed card or one that is broken.

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