OWC SSDs and High Sierra install failures

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OWC SSDs and High Sierra install failures

Mark D. McKean

Found this piece today on MacRumors from Tuesday.

https://www.macrumors.com/2017/09/26/owc-aura-ssd-macos-high-sierra/

It basically says that a specific line of internal SSDs sold by OWC have turned out to have a firmware incompatibility with the High Sierra installer. (Specifically, the parameters of these drives are incorrectly read by the APFS converter, which causes the installer to crash.) Apparently, both OWC and Apple are working on a fix.

While my SSD is not one of the ones specifically called out in the article as affected (and isn't even part of that particular line), it is an OWC drive. The article says, "Apple is aware of the issue with select third-party SSDs," which implies that other third-party SSDs may also be affected.

So for anyone who's having installer issues with High Sierra, if you have a third-party internal SSD installed, that may be part of the cause. I'm going to be checking with OWC now about my drive to see if they already have a fix for that line.

Mark D. McKean
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Re: OWC SSDs and High Sierra install failures

Al Varnell
I was made aware of this issue by a handful of users who have these OWC SSD's and apparently it's the enclosure electronics that are reporting the drive to be an HHD. Those users noticed that using Disk Utility before there were any issues with a High Sierra Installer. An Apple employee confirmed to us that they were working with OWC to determine what changes needed to be made (probably to the enclosure firmware) to correct the problem.

I've not yet heard of any other third party SSD's that are seeing this issue.

-Al-

On Fri, Sep 29, 2017 at 10:58 AM, Mark D. McKean wrote:

> Found this piece today on MacRumors from Tuesday.
>
> https://www.macrumors.com/2017/09/26/owc-aura-ssd-macos-high-sierra/
>
> It basically says that a specific line of internal SSDs sold by OWC have turned out to have a firmware incompatibility with the High Sierra installer. (Specifically, the parameters of these drives are incorrectly read by the APFS converter, which causes the installer to crash.) Apparently, both OWC and Apple are working on a fix.
>
> While my SSD is not one of the ones specifically called out in the article as affected (and isn't even part of that particular line), it is an OWC drive. The article says, "Apple is aware of the issue with select third-party SSDs," which implies that other third-party SSDs may also be affected.
>
> So for anyone who's having installer issues with High Sierra, if you have a third-party internal SSD installed,           that may be part of the cause. I'm going to be checking with OWC now about my drive to see if they already have a fix for that line.
>
> Mark D. McKean



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Re: OWC SSDs and High Sierra install failures

Mark D. McKean
In reply to this post by Mark D. McKean
On 09/29/2017 01:58 pm, Mark D. McKean wrote:
I'm going to be checking with OWC now about my drive to see if they already have a fix for that line.

I got a response from OWC. They recommend not upgrading to High Sierra yet if you have any of their SSDs as they are still testing all of them for compatibility (primarily with APFS). Those with issues can expect firmware updates in the coming weeks and/or months.

The anecdotal reports I'm seeing online suggest to me that if you have any third-party internal SSD, you should check with the vendor before converting to APFS (which means before upgrading to High Sierra), as compatibility issues seem to be popping up sporadically across a varied range of configurations.

Aside from the Aura issue, the issues don't seem to be consistently correlated to any particular line or model, which suggests that the problem is tied to some additional hardware and/or software element beyond just the drive. But I have yet to see any reports of the same issues with conventional drives or Apple-provided SSDs.

Mark D. McKean
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Re: OWC SSDs and High Sierra install failures

Richard Rettke

On 3 Oct 2017, at 11:57, Mark D. McKean [hidden email] wrote:

`I got a response from OWC. They recommend not upgrading to High Sierra yet if you have any of their SSDs as they are still testing all of them for compatibility (primarily with APFS). Those with issues can expect firmware updates in the coming weeks and/or months.
`

`The anecdotal reports I'm seeing online suggest to me that if you have any third-party internal SSD, you should check with the vendor before converting to APFS (which means before upgrading to High Sierra), as compatibility issues seem to be popping up sporadically across a varied range of configurations. 
`

`Aside from the Aura issue, the issues don't seem to be consistently correlated to any particular line or model, which suggests that the problem is tied to some additional hardware and/or software element beyond just the drive. But I have yet to see any reports of the same issues with conventional drives or Apple-provided SSDs.`

I'll be interested to see how this plays out. I have a 240gb OWC AURA Internally along with a 1TB conventional, configured as a 1.24TB Fusion Drive.
--
Richard Rettke
Laus Deo
Non sibi sed patriae

https://about.me/rerettke




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Re: OWC SSDs and High Sierra install failures

Vince Winterling
In reply to this post by Mark D. McKean

Of interest, Samsung Evo works fine with APFS. Surprising that OWC wasn't testing during the beta period.


Vincent Winterling
Vineland, NJ

From: [hidden email] <[hidden email]> on behalf of Mark D. McKean <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 3, 2017 12:57:19 PM
To: TidBITS-Talk Mailing List
Subject: Re: OWC SSDs and High Sierra install failures
 
On 09/29/2017 01:58 pm, Mark D. McKean wrote:
I'm going to be checking with OWC now about my drive to see if they already have a fix for that line.

I got a response from OWC. They recommend not upgrading to High Sierra yet if you have any of their SSDs as they are still testing all of them for compatibility (primarily with APFS). Those with issues can expect firmware updates in the coming weeks and/or months.

The anecdotal reports I'm seeing online suggest to me that if you have any third-party internal SSD, you should check with the vendor before converting to APFS (which means before upgrading to High Sierra), as compatibility issues seem to be popping up sporadically across a varied range of configurations.

Aside from the Aura issue, the issues don't seem to be consistently correlated to any particular line or model, which suggests that the problem is tied to some additional hardware and/or software element beyond just the drive. But I have yet to see any reports of the same issues with conventional drives or Apple-provided SSDs.

Mark D. McKean
[hidden email]



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Re: OWC SSDs and High Sierra install failures

Mark D. McKean
On 10/03/2017 01:18 pm, Vince Winterling wrote:
> Surprising that OWC wasn't testing during the beta period.

I'm pretty sure they were, but until the GM was released, they couldn't
assume that anything would stay the same. The OS itself isn't so much an
issue, but a completely new file system is a big deal. APFS was designed
with SSDs in mind from the start, while HFS+ had support for them tacked
on later, so how an SSD and its drivers interact with APFS is going to
be completely different from how they interacted with HFS+. It wouldn't
surprise me if Apple focused their own APFS/SSD testing on the drives
they provide, and didn't put much effort into checking or ensuring
compatibility with third-party drives, which leaves third-party vendors
mostly on their own.

There's also a limit to what can be reasonably tested during a beta. The
number of possible hardware configurations that may affect the drive's
behavior is too great for any one company to comprehensively test. So
they test the most common scenarios to catch the big problems, and wait
for reports from users to direct them to uncommon scenarios that may
have problems. Given the hit-or-miss nature of the problem reports
(aside from the Aura issue, which seems to be fairly consistent across
the specific models reported), it's apparent that there is likely some
unusual combination of factors that comes together to generate the
errors being seen.

This is why I tend to consider a .0.0 release to be "the final beta"
(sometimes called a "gamma" test). Even with a fully open public beta,
the fact that it's a beta inherently limits the variety of real-world
scenarios and configurations it will be tested with. There are entire
categories of users who are never going to be willing to test a beta
version, and most who do test them are in the upper half of the
tech-savviness range. That makes a public beta inherently a
nonrepresentative sample.

I'd also wager that most beta testers don't fully test the beta
configuration with "real" work (or even not at all), because of course
you're not going to expose your real work to a most certainly buggy
beta, and it takes a lot of effort to develop "fake" work that's of
equivalent needs and complexity to real work. So some problems get
missed or overlooked until people get the "finished" release, which they
will trustingly install and then try to do their real work. This is
likely how the incompatibility of Adobe Illustrator and InDesign with
High Sierra slipped under the radar until after official release.

https://www.macrumors.com/2017/09/29/adobe-illustrator-indesign-macos-high-sierra/

Mark D. McKean
[hidden email]





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Re: OWC SSDs and High Sierra install failures

Alexander Forbes

On Oct 3, 2017, at 10:52 AM, Mark D. McKean <[hidden email]> wrote:

The OS itself isn't so much an
issue, but a completely new file system is a big deal.

So, supposing we have a networked OWC RAID drive connected to a recent machine that is planned for upgrade to High Sierra when it hits the app store, and a second older machine stuck on El Capitan.

Will the older machine still be able to access the networked drive?

Any other expected pitfalls for older machines trying to communicate with the High Sierra machine?

Thanks,

A;ex




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Re: OWC SSDs and High Sierra install failures

Mark D. McKean
On 10/03/2017 02:07 pm, Alexander Forbes wrote:
> So, supposing we have a networked OWC RAID drive connected to a recent
> machine that is planned for upgrade to High Sierra when it hits the
> app store, and a second older machine stuck on El Capitan.
>
> Will the older machine still be able to access the networked drive?
>
> Any other expected pitfalls for older machines trying to communicate
> with the High Sierra machine?
>
I have no idea. You'd need to talk to OWC about that one. I don't even
know whether HS would attempt to convert a networked drive to APFS.

The core of your questions here boils down to two things:

- Will the networked drive be converted to APFS?

- To what degree (if any) is APFS back-compatible with HFS+, and thereby
with El Capitan and earlier versions?

I haven't personally done any testing with APFS; I never joined the
public betas, and I'm currently unable to get the HS installer to
function on my system. So I simply don't have answers to those questions.

Mark D. McKean
[hidden email]





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Re: OWC SSDs and High Sierra install failures

Ryoichi Morita-4
In reply to this post by Mark D. McKean
I converted OWC Mercury Electra 6G SSD in my 2012 Mac mini to APFS back in August while I was beta testing High Sierra. I have not had any problems (that I know of) so far. 

Ryoichi Morita



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Re: OWC SSDs and High Sierra install failures

Al Varnell
In reply to this post by Vince Winterling
On Oct 3, 2017, at 10:18 AM, Vince Winterling  wrote:
> Surprising that OWC wasn't testing during the beta period.

It was.


Sent from Janet's iPad

-Al-
--
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Mountain View, CA


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Re: OWC SSDs and High Sierra install failures

Al Varnell
In reply to this post by Mark D. McKean
On Oct 3, 2017, at 10:52 AM, "Mark D. McKean" wrote:
> I'd also wager that most beta testers don't fully test the beta
> configuration with "real" work (or even not at all), because of course
> you're not going to expose your real work to a most certainly buggy
> beta, and it takes a lot of effort to develop "fake" work that's of
> equivalent needs and complexity to real work. So some problems get
> missed or overlooked until people get the "finished" release, which they
> will trustingly install and then try to do their real work.

Then you would lose the wager. Testers are encouraged to use it exactly as they do with their daily tasks and you would be surprised at the number who go "all in" despite Apple's advice to the contrary.


Sent from Janet's iPad

-Al-
--
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Mountain View, CA


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Re: OWC SSDs and High Sierra install failures

Al Varnell
In reply to this post by Richard Rettke
On Oct 3, 2017, at 10:03 AM, Richard Rettke  wrote:

> I'll be interested to see how this plays out. I have a 240gb OWC AURA Internally along with a 1TB conventional, configured as a 1.24TB Fusion Drive.
> --
> Richard Rettke

Fusion drives are not automatically converted to APFS and I don't recommend anybody do so manually at this time. HS won't even install on a Fusion drive that has already been converted.


Sent from Janet's iPad

-Al-
--
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Re: OWC SSDs and High Sierra install failures

Al Varnell
In reply to this post by Mark D. McKean
On Oct 3, 2017, at 9:57 AM, "Mark D. McKean" wrote:
> The anecdotal reports I'm seeing online suggest to me that if you have any third-party internal SSD, you should check with the vendor before converting to APFS (which means before upgrading to High Sierra), as compatibility issues seem to be popping up sporadically across a varied range of configurations.

I'd be interested in reading those as I'm not seeing any. All the reports I've seen to date involved OWC SSD's that report themselves to Disk Utility or System Information as an HDD. As you indicated, this appears to have something to do with the electronics and can probably be fixed with a firmware update.


Sent from Janet's iPad

-Al-
--
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Mountain View, CA


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Re: OWC SSDs and High Sierra install failures

Mark D. McKean
In reply to this post by Vince Winterling
On 10/03/2017 08:09 pm, gastropod wrote:
> Heck, Apple obviously did far less testing than
> they should have, as in encrypting a non-boot drive or partition in HS
> also silently converts it to APFS, want it or not.  Apple support has
> told some people that can't possibly be happening, even though it's
> trivial to duplicate and seemingly impossible to avoid.

That certainly doesn't give me confidence. It would seem that how HS
handles converting drives to APFS is full of quirks that weren't
anticipated. Now I'm not sure I won't just skip High Sierra entirely and
wait for whatever they decide to call 2018's upgrade.

I wonder if it would have been better for APFS to have been rolled out
to Macs separately from a major version change, as they did with iOS
devices (where the rollout wasn't iOS 10.0 or 11.0, but iOS 10.3).
Having the change to the file system be the primary change in an update
could help isolate issues. Maybe if they had done it as a late Sierra
update, or maybe held it back to 10.13.1. [1]

[1] I so wish that when Apple dropped the "OS X" name in favor of
"macOS", they would have dropped the nonstandard numbering system as
well. It's been "10.x" now for 16 years; it's long past time to move to 11.

Mark D. McKean
[hidden email]





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Re: OWC SSDs and High Sierra install failures

Mark D. McKean
On 10/03/2017 10:58 pm, gastropod wrote:
> (And I refuse to pronounce 'X' as 'ten' -- it's 'ex'.)

Agreed. "OS Ten 10.whatever" always sounded stupid to me--it's redundant
and repetitive. :-) We aren't in ancient Rome. Europe moved on from
Roman numerals centuries ago for a reason. Retaining them in *some*
contexts makes things look more important or more formal, but combining
them with modern Arabic numerals in the same nomenclature just feels clunky.

Same thing with the iPhone X. I don't think I will ever comfortably call
it "iPhone Ten". But at least they didn't go with the other popularly
rumored name: the "iPhone Edition". To me, 'edition' sounds
fundamentally incomplete--it calls out for an adjective to say *what*
edition it is. First edition, special edition, platinum edition,
whatever. Steve's Black Mock Turtleneck Edition.
Edge-To-Edge-Display-Except-That-Ugly-Notch-At-The-Top Edition.
Kilodollar Edition. Just *something* beyond "edition".

(I wonder if there's any significance to the coincidental skipping of
"9" in both iPhone and MS Windows nomenclature...)

Mark D. McKean
[hidden email]





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Re: OWC SSDs and High Sierra install failures

M.Crump
Fun fact: Type the 'say' command and with "osx" vs "OS X" in Terminal and you will get what has been available since at least 2008, maybe earlier. Apple wanted you to know the difference. 

~ say OS X

On Wed, Oct 4, 2017 at 12:03 AM Mark D. McKean <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 10/03/2017 10:58 pm, gastropod wrote:
> (And I refuse to pronounce 'X' as 'ten' -- it's 'ex'.)

Agreed. "OS Ten 10.whatever" always sounded stupid to me--it's redundant
and repetitive. :-) We aren't in ancient Rome. Europe moved on from
Roman numerals centuries ago for a reason. Retaining them in *some*
contexts makes things look more important or more formal, but combining
them with modern Arabic numerals in the same nomenclature just feels clunky.

Same thing with the iPhone X. I don't think I will ever comfortably call
it "iPhone Ten". But at least they didn't go with the other popularly
rumored name: the "iPhone Edition". To me, 'edition' sounds
fundamentally incomplete--it calls out for an adjective to say *what*
edition it is. First edition, special edition, platinum edition,
whatever. Steve's Black Mock Turtleneck Edition.
Edge-To-Edge-Display-Except-That-Ugly-Notch-At-The-Top Edition.
Kilodollar Edition. Just *something* beyond "edition".

(I wonder if there's any significance to the coincidental skipping of
"9" in both iPhone and MS Windows nomenclature...)

Mark D. McKean
[hidden email]





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Re: OWC SSDs and High Sierra install failures

Jeffrey Jones-2
On Oct 4, 2017, at 12:10 AM, M.Crump <[hidden email]> wrote:

Fun fact: Type the 'say' command and with "osx" vs "OS X" in Terminal

You don't need Terminal for that. Just select the text you want to "say" in any application that uses Apple's text editing infrastructure -- TextEdit or Mail are two obvious examples -- and choose Edit > Speech > Start Speaking. Or use the contextual menu. Or easiest, use the keyboard shortcut, Option-Escape.
It's an excellent tool for proofreading.



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Re: OWC SSDs and High Sierra install failures

M.Crump
I'm a Terminal user, so I used my default application for that. Plus the fact that you can manipulate with a few commands. It's fun and a time waster as well. lol

On Wed, Oct 4, 2017 at 12:30 AM Jeffrey Jones <[hidden email]> wrote:
On Oct 4, 2017, at 12:10 AM, M.Crump <[hidden email]> wrote:

Fun fact: Type the 'say' command and with "osx" vs "OS X" in Terminal

You don't need Terminal for that. Just select the text you want to "say" in any application that uses Apple's text editing infrastructure -- TextEdit or Mail are two obvious examples -- and choose Edit > Speech > Start Speaking. Or use the contextual menu. Or easiest, use the keyboard shortcut, Option-Escape.
It's an excellent tool for proofreading.


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Re: OWC SSDs and High Sierra install failures

@lbutlr
In reply to this post by Al Varnell
On Oct 3, 2017, at 17:52, Al Varnell <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Then you would lose the wager. Testers are encouraged to use it exactly as they do with their daily tasks and you would be surprised at the number who go "all in" despite Apple's advice to the contrary

I do. I have backups and my work doesn’t involve producing video or audio, so the things that can go really wrong are limited, and backups mean I don’t lose things.

I lost my boot drive early in the beta process and spent a few hours getting things restored. However, the drive failure did not have anything to do with the beta, so that’s just coincidental.

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Re: OWC SSDs and High Sierra install failures

@lbutlr
In reply to this post by Mark D. McKean
On Oct 3, 2017, at 19:18, Mark D. McKean <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> it's long past time to move to 11.

That’s not likely to ever happen.

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