Swapping Drives on the Mac Pro

Two hard drives on the floor
"No problems. But I had to replace that small drive… or something"

I was having so much trouble with my video editor, Davinci Resolve. Earlier, I was making great progress creating content for the website. The steps were falling into place, I wasn’t having to rely on notes anymore. I was in a creative groove. Then my Time Machine backups failed to back up. That’s funny…. Then Davinci started popping up some strange messages. It likewise wouldn’t back up any projects. It wouldn’t connect with the database. It was so bad I had to force close the program. Well, I guess I was off to a new creative adventure; What the hell was wrong with the Mac?

After two days of researching problems with Time Machine and Davinci Resolve I was able to understand what was happening. The problems were separate but the same for each problem. I was encountering trouble with caches. Time machine keeps local caches if it can’t immediately find the reference drive. I have an 8TB USB drive for one of the backups. When this wasn’t hooked up Time Machine stored a local backup, waiting for me to hook up the USB drive. Time Machine is supposed to copy the local cache to the backup drive and delete the local cache. But it didn’t and the local caches eventually became like a rotten apple in the Time Machine barrel and stopped the backup process in its tracks. The solution was to clear the caches from the terminal (1). It took a few restarts and a few hours of normal use for the problem to correct, but I think it’s working now.

I hadn’t used Davinci for a few months (I was busy getting creative with WordPress), and I was a bit rusty. When it started messing, up I was lost. A few online searches (2) and YouTubes led me to the solution. Davinci is a resource hog. Davinci renders your timeline pieces as you place them on your timeline (at least, that’s how I have my Davinci set up). This way, the resource-heavy action of stitching each frame together plays back smoothly on your screen. Each render is saved in a cache for each project. They have to be cleared manually. I wasn’t doing that. I was storing my projects (and cache) on a 240MB SSD. Back when I installed that drive it was a pretty fast. The Davinci cache on the drive was sitting at 165GB. There was only 7MB of free space left and that was why the program kept freezing. After clearing the caches manually from the Davinci project manager (the preferred way, apparently), the cache dropped to 33GB (3). I tried the program and voila! No problems. But I had to replace that small drive… or something.

I found a 2TB 7200 rpm hard drive I wasn’t using and decided to make a change in the Mac Pro. A long time ago I put a hard drive above the DVD drive and had a full, clean, install of Windows 7 on it. Yup, I could boot directly into Windows. But, I haven’t used Windows for ages so I replaced that windows drive with the 2TB drive. While I was doing all of that I took the time to give the insides a good vacuuming.

I erased and formatted the drive. I moved everything Davinci and blog-related to the drive. This should keep the Mac happy for a couple of years. I hope.


1 Deleting local Time Machine snapshots

2 StartPage – private search engine

3 Clear your Davinci cache

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