Can Third Party RAM Cause Drives to Unmount?

Kilobyte Kid

Can Third Party RAM Cause Drives to Unmount?

I recently got a 2017 iMac with an i7 Quad Core processor and 8GB RAM running OS 10.13.4. I decided to upgrade the RAM myself and bought one 16GB stick of Crucial RAM (CT16G4S24AM). I added the RAM and rebooted the computer. It recognizes all 24GB of RAM and didn't give any specific RAM-related error messages. In the System Report all the RAM is shown as "OK." Before I bought the RAM Crucial techs assured me that adding a single RAM module to the two already installed should not be a problem.

 

But after the computer is idle for a while or goes to sleep at night, when I wake it up, I get error messages "Disk Not Ejected Properly" for 3-4 external hard drives which apparently were ejected while the computer was idle. Once the computer is "fully awake" the disks remount themselves so I close the pop-ups. It has done this for a while now, so I decided to remove the 16GB RAM. Now the drives no longer eject unexpectedly. (By the way, I have seven external desktop hard drives connected through two powered hubs to the iMac. The hubs and drives all worked fine with my old iMac and work fine with the new iMac as delivered from Apple. Not all the drives are being ejected; ejected drives are connected to both hubs; and both Seagate and WD brand drives are being ejected.)

 

Can the Crucial RAM be doing this? I haven't tried putting the RAM in a different slot. It was in the second slot with the Apple RAM still in the first and third slots as shipped from the factory. Should I try the new RAM in a different slot and/or try moving the Apple RAM to other slots? Or remove the Apple RAM and run with only the one 16GB stick? As a last resort, should I **bleep** the bullet and buy another 16GB RAM Module and remove the Apple RAM? (I need more than 8GB to run Lightroom and Photoshop.)

4 Replies
JEDEC Jedi

Re: Can Third Party RAM Cause Drives to Unmount?

That is a very odd issue with the memory.  It seems others also have issues with disks ejecting when the system sleeps.  I found this interesting thread which seems to now be solved.  It seems it was a driver issue.

 

When installing or removing memory make sure the computer is unplugged.  It might help if you disconnect any other devices while testing.

 

Are you using any software to manage your hard drives?

 

I would suggest performing a PRAM reset & SMC reset if you haven't done so already.   You could also disable "Putting drives to sleep" located in the Energy Saver preferences.  Maybe even turn off Power Nap.

 

You may want to try a Safe Boot to see if the issue occurs with just basic drivers installed.   If you don't get the ejecting disks you can starting looking for the offending driver.

 

Create another user account and test the sleep/wake while logged into it.  If everything works, there is an issue with your account (perhaps a bad preference or login item).

 

You could try installing a clean copy of OSX onto a USB drive to see if you have the same issues.  Don't install any other apps as you want to test a minimal configuration.

 

Have you reseated all data & power cables?  Have you tried using a new surge strip?  Is the computer and everything connected to it all plugged into the same electrical circuit?   Have you installed anything new onto the same home electrical circuit?  Is there anything on the circuit which would draw considerable power such as a laser printer, space heater, microwave, flourescent light, etc.

 

Are these USB or Thunderbolt drives & hubs?  What brand are the hubs?  Are the hubs each connected directly to the iMac?  Are these bare drives or are the drives in an enclosure?   Is it always the same drives which have the issue (are there any that never have the issue)?   Have you tried it with just one hub connected?  Tried different combinations of drives?

 

You should check out your system logs to see if they show anything.   If you open the Console, by default it will show the logs in real time.  You could try manually putting the system to sleep & waking it to see if the log shows anything interesting.   To access other logs (and older logs) requires the use of the Terminal command line and the new "log" command.  I don't have any information with me at the moment to show you how to use this new log viewer.   I know there is an archive command which can allow you to save the logs in a format usable by the Console app.  It is best if you know the date & time of the events so you can look at events just before & after the sleep/wake point.

 

 

I would suggest running the Apple diagnostic on it.   It is a very basic test so don't expect much from it, but if it fails at least you know you have a problem.

 

You can try Memtest86 which is a bootable memory test.  It will run on a Mac, but I'm not sure how reliable it is as I've only used it a couple of times.   If you encounter errors with it, remove the new memory & run it again several times.  If you get errors, then either you have other memory issues or the diagnostic isn't compatible with the system.  If it passes with only original RAM, then reinstall the new memory & test again.  If it fails again, then maybe there is an issue with the RAM or the slot.

 

You can also run a stress test on the system using mprime.   I'm not sure if the GUI version will work, but I know the command line version does work.   If you use mprime you want to select the Stress/Torture Test option.    This app may also help find memory issues.

Kilobyte Kid

Re: Can Third Party RAM Cause Drives to Unmount?


@HWTechThanks for getting back to me.  I just reset the SMC since it was the easiest thing to try.  It usually takes a normal sleep cycle for the unmounting to take place.  I can't seem to find a way to force it to happen, so it will take overnight to see if this makes a difference. Meanwhile, I shall try to answer as many of your questions as I can. First of all, the issue with the drives unmounting only seems to happen when the Crucial 16GB RAM in installed.  For the past couple of days, I have been operating the computer with only the original Apple 2x4 GB RAM in their original slots.  I have had no drive unmounting issues with the base RAM.

wrote:

That is a very odd issue with the memory.  It seems others also have issues with disks ejecting when the system sleeps.  I found this interesting thread which seems to now be solved.  It seems it was a driver issue.

 

When installing or removing memory make sure the computer is unplugged.  It might help if you disconnect any other devices while testing. Yes the computer was unplugged when I installed and uninstalled the memory sticks and  when the problem occurs only the two hubs and the keyboard are connected through the USB 3.0 ports.

 

Are you using any software to manage your hard drives? No

 

I would suggest performing a PRAM reset & SMC reset if you haven't done so already.   I tred resetting the SMC. Next step is to reset the PRAM is this doesn't work.

 

You could also disable "Putting drives to sleep" located in the Energy Saver preferences.  Maybe even turn off Power Nap.  I tried both these things before posting my problem but have the problem with the Power Settings in default and with the suggested boxes unchecked.

 

You may want to try a Safe Boot to see if the issue occurs with just basic drivers installed.   If you don't get the ejecting disks you can starting looking for the offending driver.

 

Create another user account and test the sleep/wake while logged into it.  If everything works, there is an issue with your account (perhaps a bad preference or login item).

 

You could try installing a clean copy of OSX onto a USB drive to see if you have the same issues.  Don't install any other apps as you want to test a minimal configuration.

 

Have you reseated all data & power cables?  Yes.

Have you tried using a new surge strip?  No. But the computer works fine when plugged into my APC with base Apple RAM.

Is the computer and everything connected to it all plugged into the same electrical circuit? Yes, but again, no issues when only the Apple RAM is installed.  

Have you installed anything new onto the same home electrical circuit?  Is there anything on the circuit which would draw considerable power such as a laser printer, space heater, microwave, flourescent light, etc. No.

 

Are these USB or Thunderbolt drives & hubs?  USB 3.0 hubs and mix of USB 2.0 and 3.0 drives.

What brand are the hubs?  Plugable and Hoo Too; both powered USB 3.0.

Are the hubs each connected directly to the iMac?  Yes

Are these bare drives or are the drives in an enclosure? In enclosures as bought from WD and Seagate. All are desktop, powered external hard drives.

Is it always the same drives which have the issue (are there any that never have the issue)?   Have you tried it with just one hub connected?  Tried different combinations of drives? There are one or two drives that never seem to become unmounted. The ones that do unmount are connected to both of the hubs, so I couldn't pin it down to one hub or the other.  The drives seem to unmount with no consistency. But I need to let several more "problem cycles" occur to see if there is one that seems to unmount more than the others.  This is a time consuming process since the problem only occurs after a normal sleep cycle and I need to be away from the computer for several hours.

 

You should check out your system logs to see if they show anything.   If you open the Console, by default it will show the logs in real time.  You could try manually putting the system to sleep & waking it to see if the log shows anything interesting.   To access other logs (and older logs) requires the use of the Terminal command line and the new "log" command.  I don't have any information with me at the moment to show you how to use this new log viewer.   I know there is an archive command which can allow you to save the logs in a format usable by the Console app.  It is best if you know the date & time of the events so you can look at events just before & after the sleep/wake point.  Sorry but I don't know how to open Console and couldn't find a answer on Google.  Apparently I don't know where to look....

 

 

I would suggest running the Apple diagnostic on it.   It is a very basic test so don't expect much from it, but if it fails at least you know you have a problem.

 

You can try Memtest86 which is a bootable memory test.  It will run on a Mac, but I'm not sure how reliable it is as I've only used it a couple of times.   If you encounter errors with it, remove the new memory & run it again several times.  If you get errors, then either you have other memory issues or the diagnostic isn't compatible with the system.  If it passes with only original RAM, then reinstall the new memory & test again.  If it fails again, then maybe there is an issue with the RAM or the slot.

 

You can also run a stress test on the system using mprime.   I'm not sure if the GUI version will work, but I know the command line version does work.   If you use mprime you want to select the Stress/Torture Test option.    This app may also help find memory issues.  I'll try the diagnostic tests once I see if resetting the SMC worked or not.

 

Thanks.  I'll let you know what happens after the next sleep cycle.


 

Kilobyte Kid

Re: Can Third Party RAM Cause Drives to Unmount?

Right now, I've gone for 48 hours and two sleep/wake cycles without drives unmounting.  After I first had the problem with 1x16GB RAM and 2x4GB RAM, I pulled out the 16GB stick and operated for a few days with only the 2x4GB of original Apple RAM.  Then when I reinserted the 16GB stick, I first moved the two Apple sticks to Bank 1 and put the 16GB stick in Bank 0/DIMM 0. (The computer shipped with the two sticks of 4GB RAM in Bank 0/DIMM 0 and Bank 1/DIMM 0.) I then reset the SMC.  And so far (knock wood) my drives are still mounted.

Highlighted
JEDEC Jedi

Re: Can Third Party RAM Cause Drives to Unmount?

Thanks for the update.

 

I did check the Service Guide, but did not see any special installation instructions.

 

FYI, after a PRAM or SMC reset, you should go into System Preferences --> Startup Disk and choose your boot volume so it starts up quicker, otherwise the system takes time to look for bootable volumes before deciding on your single boot drive.

 

As for checking the system logs, they are not the easiest thing to understand with the most recent releases of OSX.   With the recent changes to OSX I haven't had much success gathering useful information from the logs, but it doesn't hurt to check when you are stuck.  The Console app is located in the Utilities folder within the Applications folder.  The best way to decipher the logs is to see what is normal behavior, then look for something different during the time the system fails.

 

Glad your issue may be resolved.