Apple Computer Inc. has responded to concerns from its users that Mac OS X Panther disables or corrupts files on external FireWire 800 hard disks. Users began reporting the issues to Apple shortly after the release of the operating system on October 24, 2003.
“Apple has identified an issue with external FireWire hard drives using the Oxford 922 bridge chip-set with firmware version 1.02 that can result in the loss of data stored on the disk drive,” Apple said in a statement given to MacCentral.
Users that have been affected by the problem have reported that on booting the machine with a FireWire hard disk attached, Panther reports that “you have inserted an unrecognized disk,” with the option to eject, initialize or ignore. After pressing ignore in hopes the disk would show up on the desktop, users tried a variety of disk utilities with no luck.
Plugging the affected FireWire drive into a computer running Mac OS X Jaguar did not help either — in fact, some users even tried to connect the drive to a machine running Mac OS 9 with no luck. Users have reported trying Apple’s Disk Utility, Disk Warrior, Norton Utilities and a variety of recovery methods found on forums around the Internet.
Apple said that they are working with drive manufacturers using the affected chipset, but recommend users stop using the drives until a fix has been released.
“Apple is working with Oxford Semiconductor and affected drive manufacturers to resolve this issue, which resides in the Oxford 922 chip-set. In the interim, Apple recommends that you do not use these drives. To stop using the drive, you should unmount or eject the disk drive before doing anything else.”
Update: Apple said the problems only affect FireWire 800 drives — the story has been updated to reflect this information.