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10.6: Make some older FireWire drives work again Storage Devices
A small number of users lost the use of their older FireWire 400 disc burners (and perhaps other FireWire peripherals) after installing Snow Leopard. I have a fairly new Pioneer DVD burner installed in a circa-2001 LaCie enclosure, and I was one of the victims. The 10.6.1 update did not address this issue. Until Apple remedies the situation, here is a solution that works without any obvious side-effects:

Locate IOFirewireSerialBusProtocolTransport.kext in /System/Library/Extensions, and store it in a safe place. Replace this item with the same extension from Mac OS X 10.5.x Leopard. The date stamp on my copy was October 9, 2007. (You may still have a copy in your Time Machine backup.) After replacing the file, use Disk Utility to Repair Permissions. This step is vital, or else the replacement extension may not be recognized by the System. Finally, restart your Mac.

After the restart, if your FireWire drive worked properly under 10.5.x, it should work fine again.

NOTE: This hint involves mucking around in your System folder. Appropriate precautions are in order. Do not perform this operation if you are not experiencing issues with your FireWire devices. I did not originate this hint; it came to me as an anonymous reply to a message I posted to several places on the 'net.
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10.6: Make some older FireWire drives work again | 3 comments | Create New Account
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10.6: Make some older FireWire drives work again
Authored by: blgrace on Oct 13, '09 01:04:38PM

I guess one way you could safely test new / old drivers is to use:
Kextload and kextunload.

That way you don't have to move or install anything until you are sure it is working for you.
kextunload /Sytem/Library/Extensions/IOFirewireSerialBusProtocolTransport.kext

kextload ~/path/to/otherversion/IOFirewireSerialBusProtocolTransport.kext

plug your drive in and see if it works.

[ Reply to This | # ]
It works! Also, you can get the extension from the DVD
Authored by: digidan on Oct 22, '09 06:43:54AM

Thank you! This comment just saved my disc burner!

I have a NEC DVD burner (pulled from an old windows box), circa 2005, in a LaCie enclosure (circa 2003). The drive, according to system preferences in Leopard was "Vendor supported". In Snow Leopard, it wouldn't even show up.

Of course, due to my Time Machine hard drive failing (sheesh), my old Leopard backups had been erased. Fortunately, you can also get this extension from the Leopard install DVD, should you have one, using Pacifist. (it's in the base system package) It would assume it's on any Leopard DVD, as mine is a CPU drop-in upgrade disc.

In my case, after I backed up the 10.6 version of the extension and overwrote it with the 10.5 version, a dialog box popped up saying that the extension was corrupt/unusable. I just hit OK, then used Disk Utility to repair permissions, and rebooted, and now it works just fine.

[ Reply to This | # ]
10.6: Make some older FireWire drives work again
Authored by: sjk on Oct 22, '09 04:14:45PM
This could be risky. On another forum someone mentioned:

However, when I posted this fix in the Apple Discussion forum, I got a reply that made me nervous: substituting the kext could cause loss of data from an external HD plugged into FW.

[ Reply to This | # ]