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A fix for USB disks and AirPort Extreme base stations Network
A few days ago, a friend came by with his AirPort Extreme base station (AEBS) and his external USB hard disk. He was having problems getting the hard disk recognized and shared through the AEBS in a seemingly random way. The AEBS would correctly share the disk, until you would directly connect it to a Windows PC to transfer files. After that, reconnecting it to the AEBS's USB port would lead to an unmountable network share on the Mac, and an empty share on the PC (Windows XP SP2).

We thought of a formatting problem, so we first reformatted the 500GB disk as an HFS+ volume, and tried again connecting it to the AEBS. Transfers would work both ways from the PC and the Mac through the AEBS. But after connecting the disk directly to the PC and transfering files with TransMac, then plugging the disk back on the AEBS, we would get the same problem with an unmountable share (the problem wouldn't appear after connecting the disk directly to the Mac).

We restarted the base station several times using the AirPort Utility without success. Until, on a hunch, I decided to try unplugging the power plug from the AEBS, and then plugging it back in. After trying the same procedure several times, this appeared to reliably lead to the recognition and mounting of the shared hard disk.

Unfortunately, we didn't have time to test more scenarios (like reformatting the disk as FAT32), but the bottom line is: restarting the AEBS from the AirPort utility doesn't seem enough, so unplugging the power and plugging it back may be more helpful.
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A fix for USB disks and AirPort Extreme base stations
Authored by: brothma on Jul 05, '07 03:23:22AM

Yep. You found the most reliable way. I found out the hard way, too. Of interest, I have had to unplug / plug in the AEBS to make it recognize my printer.

Anyone else??



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A fix for USB disks and AirPort Extreme base stations
Authored by: tboonen on Jul 11, '07 12:41:23PM
Well, I have the same problem. One of the things I do is to reboot the Airport Express Base Station (AEBS), and then the USB disk re-appears on the desktop. The system is NOT at all reliable. I try to do backups over the WLAN, but after a while, the disk unmounts and the backup is ruined. Other users are experiencing the same problems as it seems, ( check out the Apple forum: http://discussions.apple.com/forum.jspa?forumID=1135&start=0 )

If anyone out there has a solution to this problem, I would like to hear it.

T


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A fix for USB disks and AirPort Extreme base stations
Authored by: DEMON on Jul 13, '07 10:52:11AM

Since 2 days I have the AE. Well I have an 250GB USB drive connected to the AE. It is formated in HFS+. Everytime I want to mount it the AE restarts and I don't have any connection at all till it comes back online. I can't count how many times I tried to mount the disk.

I probably found the solution (still testing it). I formated the 250GB with Disk Utility to MS-DOS filesystem. Connected it to my AE and I mounted it without any problem. Now I am still busy to get all my data on the disk and test it again. But I am positive that this is going to work.

Don't try to format the disk under Windows or Parallels, because you end up with an NTFS filesystem that doesn't work with an AE. Under windows it is impossible to format an 250GB as a FAT32 partition. The error that you will get is that your disk is to BIG for a FAT32 filesystem. I wonder how reliable FAT32 partition is when you exceed the maximum FAT32 filesystem size.

After some research on Apple I found out that the maximum blocksize of your disk may be 512kb. I think that when formating the disk as HFS+ the blocksize is bigger than 512kb, because my 2GB Thumbdrive who is formated as HFS+ works just fine.

I don't know a utility to check the blocksize of an HFS+ drive under OSX.



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A fix for USB disks and AirPort Extreme base stations
Authored by: DEMON on Jul 13, '07 11:19:10AM
This is the Apple document that states the block size may not exceed 512bytes:
http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=305038-en


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A fix for USB disks and AirPort Extreme base stations
Authored by: DEMON on Jul 13, '07 12:09:57PM

Ok I just finished the transfer :) With my disk in HFS+ format I couldn't mount it at all. Well I formated with disk util to FAT32 and I have more success now mounting it thru my AE.

I had some troubles mounting it when my AE was already on. Here is the scenario that works for me most of the times.

Pull out the powercable of your AE.
Turn on your HDD and wait for it to start up (3 seconds or so).
Plug in the AE again.
Wait till your mac is connected again with the AE.
Mount your HDD that is connected on the AE.

Hope this helps somebody who is running into the same kind of problems. I hope Apple fixs this very soon.



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