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Playing “FireWire Fear Factor”

Q: Help! I just used the Mac’s OS X Software Update feature to update a whole bunch of programs. Now my FireWire hard drives (all four of them) don’t show up on my desktop! That’s where all my music is! How can I get them back?

A: First off, go to Disk Utility in the Utilities folder within Applications. When you open it, do you see your FireWire drives listed on the left side along with your internal drives? If so, just click on each one in turn with your mouse, and then click on the Mount button.

If they are nowhere to be seen, we strongly suggest you power everything down now, including the external drives. Wait at least 20-30 minutes, then power up all your external drives. Next, reboot your Mac while holding down the Command, Option, P and R keys. This is the old dependable way of “zapping your P-RAM.” Hold those keys down until you hear the computer chime four times, then let the boot proceed. Odds are good your drives will now appear, though you may need to use Disk Utility to mount them.

If they do not, there’s a chance that one or more of your FireWire cables is damaged or not making good contact. Try replacing the cable from the Mac to the first drive and see if that solves the problem, then continue to add each of the drives, as they are all “hot-pluggable.”

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