Unreliable mounting of Firewire disks and Finder crashing

On both my MacPro3,1 and MacBookPro5,1 running 10.6.2, mounting of Firewire disks is unreliable. Sometimes a partition being mounted does not show up in the Finder (but does appear as mounted to the df command). When that is the case, launching Disk Utility will cause the mounted partition to appear in the Finder. On mounting the disk, the system log always shows these entries:
21/01/2010 14:32:39 diskarbitrationd[14] unable to probe /dev/disk2s1 (status code 0x0000002D).
21/01/2010 14:32:39 diskarbitrationd[14] unable to probe /dev/disk2s2 (status code 0x0000002D).
21/01/2010 14:32:39 diskarbitrationd[14] unable to probe /dev/disk2s3 (status code 0x0000002D).
On dismounting the disk, the system log always shows these entries:
21/01/2010 14:33:13 com.apple.notifyd[13] EV_DELETE failed for file watcher 43
21/01/2010 14:33:13 com.apple.notifyd[13] EV_DELETE failed for file watcher 39
21/01/2010 14:33:13 com.apple.notifyd[13] EV_DELETE failed for file watcher 38
21/01/2010 14:33:13 com.apple.notifyd[13] EV_DELETE failed for file watcher 37
21/01/2010 14:33:13 com.apple.notifyd[13] EV_DELETE failed for file watcher 36
21/01/2010 14:33:13 com.apple.notifyd[13] EV_DELETE failed for file watcher 34
21/01/2010 14:33:13 com.apple.notifyd[13] EV_DELETE failed for file watcher 42
21/01/2010 14:33:13 com.apple.notifyd[13] EV_DELETE failed for file watcher 35
21/01/2010 14:33:13 com.apple.notifyd[13] EV_DELETE failed for file watcher 41
21/01/2010 14:33:14 mdworker[1824] CFPropertyListCreateFromXMLData(): Old-style plist parser: missing semicolon in dictionary.
Sometimes, on dismounting the disk, the Finder crashes, with these entries in the system log:
21/01/2010 14:33:17 com.apple.launchd.peruser.501[165] (com.apple.Finder[175]) Job appears to have crashed: Segmentation fault
21/01/2010 14:33:18 ReportCrash[1827] Saved crash report for Finder[175] version 10.6.2 (10.6.2) to /Users/mike/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports/Finder2010-01-21-143318Shackleton.crash

Hi Dr. T,
> There is an OnDemand key in there which looks
like it may be doing something useful.
   I'm afraid that I don't know anything about the contents of those files but yes, an OnDemand key sounds like it might do what you want. Although I'm still fuzzy on this point, I gather that what you want is for the device file to be created in /dev but for the volume to not be mounted. As long as the device file is created, you can use the path to the device file as an argument to the "mount" command to mount the drive at any time. I assume that one of "the relevant parameters" in the fstab is the path to the device file.
   I don't know how well I understand what goes on "under the hood" here because I don't do this a lot. I was of the impression that if you eject or detach a drive, the device file is deleted from the device tree. However, if you merely unmount the drive, the device file persists and you can easily mount the drive again.
   By the way, it is supposed to be possible to use fstab with only data that persists between boots. You can use drive UUIDs or labels to refer to partitions. You can use the df command to discover the appropriate device files at the moment and then "diskutil info <device>" to get the UUID.
   If A = B and B = C, then A = C, except where void or
   prohibited by law.
         -- Roy Santoro

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    Part 2: I have been using Time Machine (connected to a Fantom GreenDrive via Firewire 800) for several months now and ever since the beginning, I have noticed that the drive will NOT mount after a restart. I must turn the drive off and back on again to get it to mount. After that Time Machine picks it up and seems to work fine.....well, that is until this Finder crashing thing started several weeks ago. Anyway, I inadvertently set up an experiment last weekend when I installed some software update and forgot to remount the Time Machine drive after the restart. That was last Sunday night. The computer did not crash all week long. I thought my Spotlight fix had finally solved my problems, but now it seems I was wrong. This morning (Saturday, six days later), I noticed my Time Machine drive was not mounted. I mounted it, told Time Machine to "Back Up Now" and went away for a few hours. When I came back the Finder was locked up.
    So guess my question is this: Are there any know problems with using Firewire 800 with Time Machine? and What can I do to fix this? In the meantime I'm trying another experiment - I've disconnect the Firewire 800 connection and replaced it with USB.

    shaneeudy wrote:
    So guess my question is this: Are there any know problems with using Firewire 800 with Time Machine?
    Hi, and welcome to the forums.
    Not in general. Some drives don't always wake or "spin up" fast enough; often that's seen when the system wakes from sleep, though, not so much after a system Restart. Many Western Digitals do that; I don't recall seeing any posts here about yours, but you might want to search the forums for Fantom
    In the meantime I'm trying another experiment - I've disconnect the Firewire 800 connection and replaced it with USB.
    Good plan - that may provide a clue.
    Also, check with the maker -- there may be a firmware or driver update.
    And try verifying your internal HD, and repairing your backups, per #A5 of Time Machine - Troubleshooting (or use the link in *User Tips* at the top of this forum). Either might cause that.

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